In a bizarre turn of events, a case dealing with securities law could have an impact on people who have suffered a workplace injury and who have benefitted from workers’ compensation. The problem comes from the administrative judges who hear cases dealing with Social Security Disability Insurance, and who appointed those judges.
Securities Case Could Effect Disability Law
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the federal agency that regulates and enforces certain financial crime laws. The SEC can either file criminal charges against someone for financial crimes, or can start an administrative proceeding against them. In a recent case, the SEC took the administrative route against a Colorado businessman for not properly registering as a broker. The administrative law judge hearing the case sided with the SEC, barred the businessman from the securities industry, and made him pay restitution and fines.
When the businessman appealed the case, though, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals court threw out the result. The administrative law judge had been hired by the SEC when he should have been appointed by the Executive Branch under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, which requires a different set of procedures to be met.
This ruling is a problem for two reasons: Firstly, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard a similar case and come to the exact opposite conclusion. Secondly, and more importantly for workers’ compensation law, administrative law judges like the one in this case handle the lion’s share of Social Security Disability appeals.
Social Security Disability and Administrative Law Judges
If you suffer a severely debilitating personal injury while on the job that prevents you from working for at least a year afterwards, you can get workers’ compensation and also become eligible for disability payments from Social Security.
Whether or not you are eligible for disability payments and how much they should be, however, is not a simple decision. They often require a judge to step in and issue a ruling. Most of the judges that the Social Security Administration uses for these cases, however, are administrative law judges that they hire, just like the one that the SEC had hired for the securities law case.
By deeming these hired administrative law judges to be invalid, the securities law case from the 10th Circuit throws into doubt whether the Social Security Administration’s judges are valid, as well. However, because another appellate court has had a similar case and made a conflicting ruling, this could be an issue that the Supreme Court of the United States will weigh in on.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Cases like these showcase how much goes on behind the scenes in seemingly simple legal cases. Tens of thousands of cases are suddenly in doubt simply because the SEC didn’t bring on its administrative law judges in a certain way. If this case holds up, it could spread far beyond financial crimes and into the workers’ compensation world.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Smith Law Office are watching the developments in this situation closely. Contact them online or call their St. Joseph law office at (816) 875-9373 if you’ve suffered an injury while on the job and want to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.