TRAC Response to July 4, 2011 SSA Statement

On July 4, 2011, TRAC posted a special report about the extent of the disparities in how the administrative law judges within the Social Security Administration's separate hearing offices decide their cases. It also described how these disparities have grown in the last few years. On the same day, the SSA released a statement sharply criticizing TRAC's study on several different grounds.

This very critical SSA press release was similar to the agency's criticism of an earlier TRAC report, posted on June 20, 2011, concerning the recent growth in the backlog of individuals awaiting a hearing on their claims for disability benefits. TRAC subsequently released a response to that earlier SSA criticism.

A point-by-point comparison of the SSA's July 4 criticism and TRAC's report of the same day indicates that the agency's objections are unjustified in light of what our report actually says. Furthermore, the agency's statement ignores the body of evidence that TRAC presented and the accompanying series of tables laying out very detailed evidence concerning every hearing office's disparity results and the underlying details on each judge's grant rate within that office.

Here is our response to the central thrust of SSA's criticisms:

Related links:

TRAC's June 20, 2011 report, SSA statement, and TRAC response to SSA's claims:

TRAC's July 4, 2011 report and SSA statement

About the research center (includes sources of funding):