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SSDI settlement: Applicants get new claims hearings

There is no doubt that there are some people who have a bias against Americans who are because of injury or illness unable to work. That bias was evident to many in a class action settlement not far from us in Newark.

The lawsuit alleged that five Social Security administrative law judges in Queens were biased when they denied more than 4,000 Social Security Disability Insurance claims from "disabled Queens residents," the Urban Law Center said.

Those 4,000-plus applicants are now due to get new hearings from the Social Security Administration.

The lawsuit alleged that the five judges made their decisions on those claims between January of 2008 and the present.

The settlement also requires the quintet of judges to undergo training and monitoring over the next two and a half years.

"Thousands of disabled workers suffering from financial hardship and declining health will now receive long overdue consideration of their claims," said the director of an advocacy project for the disabled at the Urban Justice Center.

Administrative law judges are charged with listening to appeals by SSDI claimants who have had their benefits applications denied. For many applicants, the initial denial is to be expected: many experts say approximately two out of three first-time claims are denied.

Those claims can then be appealed with the help of an experienced SSDI attorney who will help to ensure that needed medical records are assembled and that the government's paperwork is properly filled out. It's a complicated process, but fortunately many applicants make use of legal counsel and get their claims approved for a lifetime of needed and deserved benefits.

Source: The Times Ledger, "Court settlement gives 4,000 Queens residents new disability claim hearings," Oct. 18, 2013

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