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CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC

Are You “Disabled”? The Difference Between State Agencies and Administrative Law Judges

  • Published: July 12, 2011

An Ocala disability lawyer will inform you that there are two similarities between state agency decisions about your Social Security disability claim and decisions made by Administrative Law Judges (ALJs):

  1. Disability decisions cannot be inconsistent with medical evidence;
  2. Listing of Impairments is a critical factor in determining disability.

But important differences exist as to how each agency will make that determination:

  1. States typically do not consider anything other than the medical file and your Listing of Impairments. Impairments, if listed, meet federal disability guidelines. If not, the state agency has a pre-determined formula to determine your Residual Functional Capacity (the tasks you can actually perform). The vast majority of state agencies treat claimants with similar medical conditions identically, despite individual factors. Should you not fit into their formula, you will likely be determined “not disabled,” despite your age, or other factors unique to you.
  2. ALJs look to a bigger picture. The complete case is evaluated and issues such as credibility and other factors specific to your case are considered. Age, although a factor, is not determinative.

The Social Security Administration has statistics about how often state agencies approved benefits for claimants alleging back injuries and how often administrative law judges approved them. For claimants of all ages, state disability agencies approved them 11 percent of the time and administrative law judge approved them 75 percent of the time. For claimants under 50 years old, state agencies approved them just two percent of the time, and administrative law judges approved them 68 percent of the time.

To find out what options are available in your Social Security disability claim, contact Ocala disability lawyer CJ Henry today.

Claudeth Henry

Attorney Henry is a Florida disability lawyer uniquely suited to
help you with your disability-related legal needs...Read More