April 2008

What if you do not like your judge?

In Social Security Disability cases you are randomly assigned an administrative law judge from the regional hearing office. In Central Illinois at least, you are stuck with the judge you are assigned to unless there is some type of conflict. This may be previous contact with the judge in the community such as membership in the same organization or church, if you knew each other.

The only real chance you have to remedy the situation of a judge who is tough or does not get along well with you is to appeal their decision if they rule against you.

I know it is tough to hear this, after waiting years for the hearing. Especially in more rural areas where only a small number of judges are housed in the hearing center.

That is why it is important to use a local attorney who is familiar with the judges and their attitudes and methods of running a hearing.


The presidential candidates are weighing in on the long waits for Social Security Disability cases, and Congress is continuing to hold hearings. People are forced to file bankruptcy, being evicted and are dying while waiting for their hearings. It takes over 2 years to get your disability hearing in many parts of the country. It reminds you of some of the Soviet Union horror stories of people waiting and waiting in lines for limited goods and services. It seems unbelievable that in the United States it takes so long to have a hearing to determine Social Security benefits. With the state of technology we should have some way to speed up the process.  Any thoughts on ways to do streamline the process? Let me know. Let’s brain storm and send some ideas to Congress. 

Medical records are absolutely crucial for your Social Security Disability case. You must have updated medical records for your disability hearing.  From the time you request a hearing till the hearing date, you are required to provide the new records. Before the time you request a hearing the Social Security Administration gets the records for you. 

The problem in Central Illinois- Peoria, Springfield, Bloomington, Pontiac, Champaign- is that it takes over 2 years from the time you request a hearing until your hearing is scheduled. This can mean you will need to request many records from multiple doctors. This is often costly and most people seeking disability do not have much money to spend.

As your Social Security Disability attorney, I will pay for your records for you and you will only have to repay the costs at the end of the case if you win. Many lawyers will make you pay for your medical records yourself. I will help you obtain your important medical records without any upfront cost to you.

Children with autism may be eligible for disability through Social Security. The program for children is called Supplemental Security Income or SSI. 

If the child’s autism is extreme enough to limit her in one category, or is what is termed “marked” in two categories, then the child is considered disabled.  However, if the parents earn too much money the child will not be paid SSI even if disabled. 

Social Security judges look at the  limitations the disease or condition causes in determining disability. They do not make decisions based on diagnosis alone. For example, a child with autism may be considered not disabled, while another child with asthma may found disabled.

Please call Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371 with your questions about Social Security Disability for adults and children.