Dear Mr. Traver:
I wanted to disclose a current situation and litigation to the SSA Inspector General and the Ways & Means Committee in regard to VE fraud, perjury, and ALJ tampering with VE testimony in Social Security Disability adjudications.
Both SSD Attorney Max Rae and I discovered the corruption last year, and we have both formulated responses.
Whereas, Max Rae wrote letters to the aforementioned entities, I responded to Max Rae and others as follows, as prior to my current status as a social security disability representative, I was a VE.
This letter and the book I have written reveal this true story:
Dear Mr. Rae:
Regarding the important litigation you submitted concerning the Social Security Disability (SSD) hearing in which I testified that some Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) at the SSA Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) advised me to testify using the larger labor market job numbers for the Department of Labor Occupational Employment Survey (OES) Census Group rather than the significantly smaller (more accurate) job numbers for the specific Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) job listings, I apologize for my delay in formulating a response. Having been a relatively new SSA Vocational Expert (VE) at the time, I partially conceded to the ALJs under the presumption, given their high levels of attainment, that if something appeared amiss, I myself must be of some misunderstanding. In hindsight, my response was naive.
Whereas, upon my initiation as a VE, I had been trained to use the large OES group job numbers, I discovered the disparity between the large numbers versus the smaller, more accurate numbers that are indeed available for the specific DOT listings after participating in relatively few hearings. When I discovered the disparity, I began revising my testimony and ALJs began to question my “small” job numbers. One of the ALJs in particular, when I explained, responded, “Ms. Ruck, you’re opening a can of worms!”
The extent of the ALJ’s realization at that moment I cannot know; however, if my assessment was correct, the implication was that, since a majority of VEs routinely report the exaggerated sets of numbers, potentially multitudes of claimants have been defrauded due benefits. Nevertheless, some ALJs hotly, bullyishly insisted that I use the grossly inflated numbers even after they were enlightened as to the disparity. I perceive ALJ advisement and demands as to how VEs should or will testify as tampering with the witness. This and your litigation, and these ALJs should have been in very hot water. There is no telling how many remands are due, although I imagine the numbers would be staggering.
You may have heard that I discontinued serving as a VE shortly following that hearing. In part, I did so to retain my integrity given the discord I felt trying to satisfy ALJ demands that were contrary to my understanding as a VE, but also, I stopped serving as a VE because I wanted to try my hand at SSD legal representation.
I am presently representing social security disability claimants as an authorized non-attorney representative, and I am a doctoral student in process of developing my dissertation on the topic of “Amending the Medical-Vocational Guidelines to Account for Non-exertional Limitations in Social Security Disability Decisions.” The more I study SSD law, the more I realize the gravity of the implications of fraud, perjury, and ALJ tampering with the witnesses. According to Griffin (2012), some SSD claimants have died while awaiting decisions in their cases. I wonder if any of those deceased would not have died if the VEs had testified accurately and the ALJs had duly awarded favorable decisions based on accurate job numbers so that those individuals could have afforded needed medical attention.
You might find it interesting to know that, despite your very compelling letter(s), I never received a single inquiry from the SSA Inspector General’s Office. I had presumed that SSA representatives would have been especially anxious to correct any perceptions of ALJ tampering and VE fraud and perjury given the potential for widespread agency embarrassment in light of the national attention your litigation received. I am disappointed that the SSA, an agency reputed for justice, has neglected such a critical affair.
Given the imperative nature of the issue, I felt compelled to write and publish a book on the matter. I wrote my book with the intention that any interested individual would understand what has happened here. Is this corruption happening throughout the nation? It appears highly likely that it is. I feel sad that the American system has produced such a monster. Perhaps the more people aware of the problem, the greater the likelihood of resolution. My book is now available at:
Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle editions at the following link:
Paperback version through the publisher, Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/
Although I have not feared what men might do to me for doing what I perceive is right, I do thank you for your kindness in protecting my previously vulnerable position as a potential target of ALJ retribution. I hope you will not mind that I have dedicated my book to you.
Signed with Sincere Respect and Appreciation,
Amberly M. Ruck, M.S., CRC
A copy of Mr. Rae’s letter to the SSA Inspector General may be viewed at: http://ssaconnect.com/
My book cover appears as follows:
Thank you for your assistance, Mr. Traver..