Answer the Call to Public Service, Become an Administrative Law Judge

March 28, 2016 • By

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Last Updated: August 19, 2021

a picture of glasses on an administrative law legal bookBecoming an Administrative Law Judge gives you the opportunity to improve the lives of others by ensuring everyone is treated fairly, impartially, and compassionately.

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) serves as an impartial judge at regulatory and benefits-granting agencies. There are approximately 1700 federal ALJs nationwide, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) employs about 1500 of them.

At SSA, we need dedicated individuals looking to make a difference in someone’s life by becoming Administrative Law Judges. It is a family friendly work environment with a flexible schedule.

Our ALJs work with a nationwide support team in over 162 Hearing Offices across the country. We need ALJs in many states, including rural locations. We also need ALJs, bilingual in Spanish, in New York and Puerto Rico.

To become an Administrative Law Judge:

  • You must be licensed and authorized to practice law;
  • You must have seven years of experience in litigation or administrative law as a licensed attorney; and
  • You must apply directly to a posting on the Office of Personnel Management’s USAJOBS website once available.

Sound interesting? If so, make sure you create your USAJOBS account and set notifications to alert you when OPM announces new Administrative Law Judge vacancies. You will also need to create a Federal Resume.

IMPORTANTthe announcement opened on March 29, 2016 and you must submit an application package by April 8, 2016. Apply directly to this posting on the Office of Personnel Management’s USAJOBS website.

Click here for ALJ Examination notification: ALJ Announcement on USA JOBS

By becoming an Administrative Law Judge, you serve the public by ruling on cases that have a profound impact on people’s lives. Join our group of dedicated and committed professionals. Visit OPM’s Qualification Standards for Administrative Law Judge Positions or our SSA ALJ Recruitment Site for more information today!

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About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. Donald M.

    I’ve heard over the years that it’s legal to have a second security number for filing purposes, and quite recently since I’m approaching 70 years of age. I’ve been informed that an American citizen by birth can have three (3) social security numbers. Now, is this true or not? Will you please inform. Please let me know the truth of the matter so I can properly advise family & friends. Thank You

  2. Higinio Z.

    I am a Psychiatrist living and working in Tucson Arizona. I would like to know if there are NY Vacancies for psychiatrists to do Social Security disability evaluations.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question Higinio. The Social Security Administration contracts with local physicians to perform disability evaluations as needed when individuals apply for benefits. For job related inquiries, we suggest visiting the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – Contact Agency Services web page. Good luck!

      • Jody

        Haha. I woke up down today. You’ve chereed me up!

  3. Beatrice

    Reading this makes my deoicisns easier than taking candy from a baby.

  4. John A.

    I am a Service Connected Veteran and I heard that I should a Clause with my Social Security Status and I am Paying Quarterly for Medicare A,B, and DE even with the Long Beach Social Security Office knowing above info. knowing I have Civil service retired Insurance etc. as they only would set up a phone interview with my Insurance agent at my house last year.

  5. tony

    These psychiatrist/psychologist just want the money and will write or do whatever the patients want.

    My next appointment might be cancel because another patient wants the psychiatrist to go to the hearing. I know that the psychiatrist is not doing this out of the kindness of her heart. She isn’t giving up her appointments, traveling all the way to the court, and wasting several hours of her time to not be compensated somehow.

    You know something is up when the claimant have their doctors coming to the hearing. They have been bought off.

  6. Mary

    if only in the SSA process, “judges” were objective and non-political, empathetic and above all, helpful and non-adversarial — with regards to the health and well-being of applicants/clients.
    My daughter who has PTSD and crippling agoraphobia (concurrent with lupus and other issues keep her from working) has been directed to appear IN PERSON (against the advice of her doctors) at the appeal or else have her case dropped.
    With 5 years invested in the SSD quest, our hopes and resources are just about exhausted.
    We need a WA State SS lawyer (who will not drop the case at the last minute).

    • Jeanne T.

      Get her in front of the ALJ so the ALJ can do the job required to pay her benefits.

  7. tony

    Stop handing out the free money to the disability attorneys. The backlog are cause by the ALJ approving all these cases. People are posting that there is an unwritten rule that people are denied initially by the DDS.

    What caused that rumor to start? The ALJ were approving too many people and overridden the DDS denial. The ALJ caused their own backlog. With rumors that it is routine to be denied by the DDS, more people were appealing their case to the hearing level causing more backlog.

  8. Pamela G.

    I received my ssid within 11 months after I filed. I guess the Good Lord knows I needed it and I could have filed for it in 2004, but I have never wanted a ” free ride” and I have a 10th grade education , my fault, I am not a poor, pitiful me type person and I have worked as a car crusher , non-ferrous metal “cleaner” , for a better way of putting it I have been a laborer in the Metal Recycling Business. And the work I have been doing , waiting until my knee just gave out , because the doctor told me in 1998 , when I was in a car wreck and injured my knee, that I need to wait for as long as I can to get a knee replacement , reason being he said is because, at that time, the technology available only had a time span of 15 to 20 years before you would have to do another one. So , I made it to 2014 before I applied for disability and Medicaid, even though in 2004 I was a passenger in a car that wrecked and I was life flighted to a trauma 1 care facility, I suffered a spinal cord injury and had to have 2 disk in my neck replaced, leaving the hospital with instructions for my mom and I for physical therapy exercises, no insurance , no help from a professional to get the feeling back in my arms back and legs, I couldn’t even feed myself, my poor mama had to do all of the care for me. But, God is Good, and I give all thanks to him for the miracles , just for me , that I have witnessed. 6 weeks after the life flight surgery and recovery, thanks to my sweet, wonderful mother, I was almost back to the condition I was in , just the bum knee and some neuropathy and omg , back pain now. I had not been to any doctor, clinic or ER until I was 48 years old and I had to get some relief from the pain. I paid , out of my pocket , approximately 250. / mo. , every month for 2 years for office visit and pain meds, and I was informed that my blood pressure was extremely high , stroke level , plus… So I had to get BP meds , one in the morning and one at bed time, the AMAZING doctor I was seeing , being the kind hearted compassionate person that had been my mother’s doctor for 30 yrs , gave me samples of the blood pressure meds , and made sure I had the samples until my SSID , was given a favorable decision, by the Social Security Doctors in Austin TX. I didn’t have to wait but 11 mos
    after I filed . I am not sure if I have a special Angel or if the proof is in the proverbial pudding, I will say this, social security and the TX Dept. Of Health & Human Services and Star Plus , have been wonderful to me. I have nothing but good things to say in the institutions help that goes above and beyond anything I ever expected.

    • Patricia N.

      you should not have had to wait 11 months though

  9. tony

    New York and Puerto Rico has the highest approval rate above the national average. They are robbing the tax payers blind there.

  10. tony

    Those disability attorney are making so much money that they don’t want to be ALJs. They are a bunch of crooks doctoring up medical records with Residual Function Capacity and Medical Source Statements.

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