Proposed ALJ bias settlement would give thousands of disabled New Yorkers new benefit hearings

The ALJs were accused of ignoring medical evidence and legal standards

Many disabled individuals may get their day in court—again—thanks to a proposed settlement that, if approved, will address accusations of hostility and bias against five federal administrative law judges (ALJ) in Queens, New York.

Eight disabled people brought these claims in 2011 against Michael Astrue, the commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), complaining that the five ALJs—David Nisnewitz, Marilyn Hoppenfeld, Seymour Fier, Michael Cofresi and Hazel Strauss—were behind a “brick wall of bias” when they rejected the individuals’ disability benefit claims. The ALJs allegedly disregarded medical evidence and legal standards alike, depriving the plaintiffs of their right to a fair hearing.

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