During an application or appeal for Social Security Disability benefits, so much hinges on a judge's final decision. Being approved can all but guarantee a family's well-being through the extra income that benefits provide in the absence of work income. However, a denial can be devastating, not just for the applicant but their entire household.
Given the severity of the situation, a judge's fair treatment and evaluation of each case is of paramount importance. Administration offices all over the nation, Houston included, represent the gateway to a better life through disability aid for those who have been injured or become sick.
One class-action lawsuit in New York state recently secured a critical settlement for SSD applicants, identifying a number of justices in a Queens, New York City office as being "intemperate, brusque and unhelpful." These judges, who had denied more than half of the applications that came across their desks, many of them immigrants, were also charged with trivializing the physical and mental disabilities of hopeful claimants, bringing many to tears. One judge was singled out for being "combative questioning, which hampered the truth seeking process."
Although the settlement does not press the Social Security Administration with any wrongdoing, it will allow thousands of previously denied Queens residents, many of them very poor, to reapply for disability benefits under the judgment of substitute justices. In addition, new policies of equity and fairness will be administered at the office.
Thanks to the successful suit, many New Yorkers will likely gain the benefits they deserved to receive months, or even years ago. Yet another example of the importance of working with an attorney experienced in social security law and disability benefits, the Queens case is an encouraging sign that justices who reject cases unfairly can, and are, themselves brought to justice.
Source: New York Times, "Rejected Disability Claims in Queens May Be Reheard," Mosi Secret, Jan 11, 2013
• Our firm can help those who have had their application for disability benefits denied in the past. For more information, contact our Texas social security law page.