Random chanceWhether you win or lose at a Social Security disability hearing depends uponmany factors. These include the nature of the disability, the details in your medical records, the creativity of your attorney, and where you stand in the complex framework of age, education, and work experience.

But the most critical factor, the factor that you cannot control, has to do with pure luck. That is, no matter how good the facts that you develop, no matter how eloquent and clever your attorney may be, it all comes down to a roll of the dice.

That "roll of the dice" can be summarized with one simple question. "Who is your judge?"  SSA does not standardize the outcome from its judges.  There is no testing of reliability of outcomes between SSA judges.  With exactly the same data, judges at SSA will determine the outcome of your life differently.  Many of the differences are "extreme."

Here is a page from the SSA website that will help many claimants figure out if they have lost the case before they walk into the hearing:

From the Social Security Administration website:

ALJ Disposition Data
FY 2013 (For Reporting Purposes: 09/29/2012 Through 05/31/2013)

A listing of hearings completion data by name of individual administrative law judges (ALJ) for all ALJs in ODAR. The data includes hearing office name, total dispositions, decisions, allowances, denials and fully favorable or partially favorable decisions.

I have placed these data into easy-to-sort spreadsheets for your use with additional columns showing the percentages of outcomes.

ODS Format

XLS Format