2010-11-18 / Local & State

Social Security Judges Facing More Violent Threats

WASHINGTON (AP) – Judges who hear Social Security disability cases are facing a growing number of violent threats from claimants angry over being denied benefits or frustrated at lengthy delays in processing claims.

There were at least 80 threats to kill or harm administrative law judges or staff over the past year. That’s an 18 percent increase over the previous reporting period, according to data collected by the agency.

The data was released to the Association of Administrative Law Judges and made available to The Associated Press.

Fifty of the incidents came between March and August. They include a Pittsburgh claimant who threatened to kill herself outside the hearing office or fly a plane into the building like a disgruntled tax protester did earlier this year at the Internal Revenue Service building in Austin, Texas.

A Senate subcommittee is expected to hear testimony Monday on the issue at a field hearing in Akron, Ohio.

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