ODAR: An Overview of the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
What is ODAR?
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review or ODAR is in charge of conducting hearings and giving out decisions as part of the process of the Social Security Administration (SSA) for determining if an individual is eligible to receive benefits.
ODAR manages a nationwide field organization that is staffed with ALJs or Administrative Law Judges who hold independent de novo hearings. They deliver verdicts on appealed determinations that involve retirement, survivors, disability insurance (RSDI), and supplemental security income (SSI).
It also evaluates the decisions of Administrative Law Judges concerning the appeal filed by claimants through the Appeals Council or on its own action and issues the final decision of the agency on such cases.
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is one of the biggest administrative adjudicative systems in the world, with five satellites offices, 141 hearing offices, ten regional offices, and a national hearing center in major locations nationwide. It has 1,100 Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) that enter more than 500,000 decisions at the hearing level. The Appeals Council gives the final decision of the ODAR at the last decisional level.
Here is a breakdown of the regional offices of the Office of Disability Adjudication Review (ODAR):
- Region I – Boston
- Region II – New York
- Region III – Philadelphia
- Region IV – Atlanta
- Region V – Chicago
- Region VI – Dallas
- Region VII – Kansas City
- Region VIII – Denver
- Region IX – San Francisco
- Region X – Seattle
The following is a list of the number of offices of ODAR in each region:
- Region I – has seven hearing offices
- Region II – has 14 hearing offices and one satellite office
- Region III – has 18 hearing offices
- Region IV – has 31 hearing offices
- Region V – has 19 hearing offices and one satellite office
- Region VI – has 16 hearing offices
- Region VII – has seven hearing offices
- Region VIII – has five hearing offices and three satellite offices
- Region IX – has 20 hearing offices
- Region X – has four hearing offices
ODAR: Who’s Responsible?
The official who is responsible for the management of ODAR is the Deputy Commissioner for Disability Adjudication and Review, David V. Foster.
Its headquarters is located in Falls Church, Virginia but it has various component offices.
What are the Component Offices of ODAR?
Office of the Deputy Commissioner
The Office of the Deputy Commissioner oversees the nationwide program of Disability Adjudication Review for the SSA. It includes the Program Analysis Staff which administers the conveying of policy by means of HALLEX or the Hearings, Appeals, and Litigation Law Manual. It also directs the Deputy Commissioner on the following:
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- Proposals for legislation
- Program policy matters
Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge
The Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) administers and manages the hearing organization that consists of five satellite offices, 141 hearing offices, and ten regional offices. Furthermore, he/she is the principal advisor and consultant to the Deputy Commissioner on all issues regarding the hearing process and all field operations.
Office of Appellate Operations
This consists of the Appeals Council and support staff. Its Executive Director also functions as the Appeals Council’s Deputy Chair.
Office of Management
This gives administrative support to all of ODAR’s management related activities to the Deputy Commissioner to enable the Agency to execute its nationwide program.
The appeals process of the Social Security Administration, including ODAR hearings can be complex. It may be necessary to seek legal assistance from attorneys who are experienced in dealing with such cases.