California Social Security ALJ approval rates are available online

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Through a Freedom of Information Act request, the newspaper, The Oregonian, has learned of the production and approval rates for all Social Security administrative law judges (ALJs)  in California as well in the United States.  They have made the information available in an online searchable database.

The online database is an invaluable tool because it allows one to search for the past three years by a judge’s name.  It then shows you the production rates, the approval and the denial rates for that particular judge.  You can also search by year or all years and see all ALJs in the United States.  I looked up a few judges from San Francisco, Oakland, San Rafael and San Jose.  I found that the results were consistent with what I have seen in my own practice.  I also checked the database to look up statistics for some judges who have recently transferred to the Bay area from other offices.   It will be nice to go into a hearing knowing what kind of result I can expect.

Thanks to my colleague, Gordon Gates, a Social Security disability attorney in Maine who publishes the Social Security Disability Blog for blogging about this article and bringing it to my attention.


  1. How does a person acquire the name of their Administrative Law Judge for their particular city? As it is right now, I have no idea what might be the name of a ALJ in my particular area.

    1. As far as I know, the Social Security Administration does not publish the names of the judges at the various hearing offices. Once you receive a letter notifying you of the date of your hearing, it will be signed by the judge who will be hearing your case. You may also want to talk to a lawyer in your city who practices Social Security Disability law and he or she can tell you the names of the judges at the hearing office.

  2. Well I found out the name of the ALJ that will be hearing my case. I don’t know if it is good, or not, but this ALJ has close to 80% approval rating for most years with one year being at 80%. This particular Judge is very consistent. If the national average is just above 50%, what does that say about differing demographics or ALJ’s? How can one judge have 11% while others are in the middle or much higher? I can’t believe the disabilities of people are that much different around the country as a whole. I tend to believe there are many people that meet the criteria, nevertheless, are being denied.

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