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Disabled workers in SC roll the dice when drawing judges to decide their benefits

  December 13, 2019 | By Mary Katherine Wildeman, The Post and Courier

Sick and injured workers face a brutal game of chance when they apply for federal disability benefits: their odds hinge as much on the judge they are assigned as on the facts of their case.

American workers give 6 percent of their paychecks to the Social Security Administration just in case they lose their jobs to injury or illness. But, in the end, it’s a government judge, not a doctor, who will decide whether a condition is serious enough to warrant benefits.

Allowed wide discretion with little oversight, judges come to wildly different decisions.

It’s a consequential game of roulette, and it can take years for the wheel to stop spinning. Draw one judge and you’re all but guaranteed access to life-saving benefits. Draw another and you may have little chance at all.

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