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Can I complain about the ALJ when seeking SSD benefits?

Social Security Disability claimants who are denied Social Security might be aware that there are various methods in which they can appeal the denial. However, they might not know that if the Administrative Law Judge treated them unfairly or did something inappropriate, there is a way to complain about it to the Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) tries to treat all claimants equally and fairly with no discrimination or prejudice. The SSA needs to be informed if an applicant believes that an ALJ was unfair. This should be done even if the claimant does not intend to file an appeal. The complaint must be made within 180 days of the date of the action or the date that the claimant learned of the conduct. Complaints must be in writing or to the complainants can tell the SSA about it and they will make the written record of it. All information must be given including the personal identification of the claimant, the person who treated the claimant unfairly, when it happened, the words or actions that were thought to be unfair, who else heard or saw this behavior, and if the complaint is being made for someone else along with the relationship to that person.

There is a difference between filing a complaint against the ALJ and appealing a denied claim. The appeals process is something else entirely and will not have anything to do with the allegations of unfair treatment.

If a person believes that an SSA employee took a particular action based on discriminatory factors, it is also possible to file a complaint. If there were acts of harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion or retaliation, this too can be the basis for a complaint. Complaints about discrimination must also be filed within 180 days.

The SSA will inform the claimant that the complaint was received. A person who was not involved in the claim will review the case and the claimant will be told of the result. People in the Kissimmee area who believe that they were treated unfairly while trying to get SSD benefits need to know that they have recourse. Speaking to an attorney experienced in all aspects of filing for disability benefits, and issues that might arise during the process, can help with filing a complaint.

Source: SocialSecurity.gov, "How to File an Unfair Treatment Complaint Concerning an Administrative Law Judge," accessed on Jan. 26, 2016

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