Having a disability can have substantial financial impacts on a person. One major financial effect that a disability can have on individuals here in Michigan is that it can greatly reduce their income by limiting or sometimes even completely eliminating their ability to work. Individuals whose ability to work has been impacted by a disability may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
Given how big of an effect a disability can have on a person financially, what decision is ultimately made in an SSD case can be very impactful on an applicant's life. Thus, one hopes that all SSD applicants are treated fairly in SSD cases. No SSD applicant should have to face being denied benefits because of bias or other unfair actions by a judge or government official.
Recently, a settlement was reached in a class action lawsuit that involved allegations of bias in SSD cases. The case was from another state, New York. As part of the settlement, 4,000 disability applicants whose claims were denied will have the opportunity to have their cases reheard and certain training requirements will be placed on five administrative law judges.
The judges in question are the judges who handled the SSD benefits cases of the above-mentioned applicants. The class action lawsuit alleged that the five judges acted in a bias manner against disability applicants. According to the lawsuit, the alleged biased conduct started in 2008 and continued on to the present.
According to the Times Ledger article which reported this story, the above-mentioned settlement was approved on Oct. 18.
Source: The Times Ledger, "Court settlement gives 4,000 Queens residents new disability claim hearings," Oct. 18, 2013