Birmingham, Alabama ODAR Office

At the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Birmingham, Alabama, 17 different administrative law judges (ALJ) conduct Social Security Disability (SSD) hearings and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) hearings. Currently, in Birmingham, the average wait time for a SSI or SSD hearing is 14.0 months. The average case processing time in Birmingham is 450 days.The Birmingham average for winning a SSI or SSD disibility hearing is 51%. Click on the name of one of the ALJs below to see detailed information about their hearing results. This information for the Birmingham ODAR office was last updated on 3/10/2014.

SSA, Birmingham ODAR Office
1200 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd., 1st Floor
Birmingham, Alabama 35285
View Map
Phone: (866) 613-2863 -- Fax: (205) 801-2983
eFile Fax: 877-670-6787 (For sending evidence)

OfficeJudgesAvg. Hearing
Wait Time
Average
Processing Time
Dispositions
Per Day Per ALJ
Cases
Dismissed
Cases
Approved
Cases
Denied
Birmingham 17 14.0 months 450 days 1.6 17% 51% 32%
Alabama12.0 months423 days2.020%44%36%
National Average:11.7 months389 days1.919%44%37%
Hearing Wait Time: 14.00 months
Dispositions Per Day Per ALJ 1.64
Average Processing Time 450 days
Cases Pending 11173
Dispositions 2798
New Cases 3207
Hearings In Person 48%
Video Hearings 52%

Comments about Judges at the Birmingham Alabama ODAR office:

To leave your own comment, select a judge from the list above and leave a comment on that judge's page.

Judge: Denise A Copeland
Date Posted: 4/7/2014 11:15:52 AM
Submited By: Adrian



How strange there are no comments for Denise Copeland? She is my judge and while I'm very glad I didn't get some of the others according to what I've read, can anyone tell me anything about this judge?

Judge: Joseph F Dent
Date Posted: 3/28/2014 2:26:30 PM
Submited By: Chris



My wife is having her ss hearing in April with judge Dents, can anyone give any feedback on their experiences with him?

Judge: William Lawson
Date Posted: 2/18/2014 5:43:59 AM
Submited By:



I had my hearing last week after a little more than 2 years of waiting. Judge Lawson had reviewed my case notes thoroughly and asked questions about my doctors, their treatments, and medications. He asked what a typical day is like, what I do differently now than before I got hurt, how the medications affect my life, and what my previous job duties consisted of. He had also pulled my SS earning record and was aware of past earnings as well as the hours required to earn it. After getting a response from the VE that I am not able to return to the medium and heavy duty jobs I have done in the previous 15 years, he told me right then that he approved my disability case. Anyone going before him will find him fair, thorough, and straight to the point. Bless him for easing my burden.

Judge: Charles L Brower
Date Posted: 2/4/2014 6:16:48 PM
Submited By:



Judge Brower started my hearing by asking about how I was and breaking the ice with Super Bowl small talk. He asked why I thought I was disabled and I went on to explain. He sincerely viewed all the medical evidence that my lawyers turned in prior to the hearing And asked me questions about my various Dr. visits. There was some evidence and things I said, however, that did make him have some doubts about the validity of my claim. In the end he gave Me sufficient opportunity to explain myself and he took my sincerity into serious consideration in regards to making his final decision. He apologized for upsetting me emotionally and thanked me for "fighting for myself". Things look very good. He's a good and fair judge.

Judge: Edward S Zanaty
Date Posted: 1/18/2014 3:29:17 PM
Submited By:



This judge seems to be very incompetent, he cant properly handle cases and shouldn't be a judge he isn't concerned with the well being of anyone ,he states his philosophy more then the law, something needs to be done he take advantages of disabled people ,anyone who has had there case denied by him should immediately file for appeal

Judge: Kenneth Wilson
Date Posted: 1/10/2014 11:31:49 PM
Submited By:



Fair, Objective, and Thorough.

Judge: Lisa M Johnson
Date Posted: 9/16/2013 6:47:52 PM
Submited By: PW



I had my hearing today with Judge Lisa Johnson. She was tough and very straight to the point! Asked me about my medical conditions and what prevents me from working and then asked the VE if there were any jobs I could do and he said no! Judge Lisa Johnson ruled on the record that I was approved! My advice is to be honest and listen very carefully to her questions she speaks fast, but if you pay attention you will do fine! It's been 2 yrs fighting for this and it was a relief to get a decision the same day on the record! I was a Legal Assistant so this being a desk job already I couldn't stand up at any jobs! Prayer works!

Judge: Kenneth Wilson
Date Posted: 8/28/2013 9:17:30 AM
Submited By:



was great

Judge: E. R Hoover
Date Posted: 5/7/2013 9:59:14 AM
Submited By:



I had my hearing with Judge Hoover today. Judge Hoover was very fair, listened to what I had to say. He was very direct with his questions and very considerate with his responses. I feel like Judge Hoover had reviewed my case and information and he handled this hearing in a very professional and respectful way.

Judge: Michael L Brownfield
Date Posted: 4/19/2013 4:08:03 PM
Submited By: Barb



Judge Brownfield was a very fair abd very informed judge. He knew what was going on with me. He had read my long file from front to back and I feel that he was fair in his decision making either way.

Judge: Windell R Owens
Date Posted: 3/28/2013 2:32:43 PM
Submited By:



I've had one hearing with this ALJ. He was very professional, calm, and gave claimant a very fair and complete hearing. His award rate has come down a bit over the last year. He will ask some general background questions and then will give you specific direction on how he wants the medical testimony developed. He asks a full range of hypotheticals. He ended up denying this claim for lack of supportive medical but it was still a very fair hearing and a well reasoned decision.

Judge: David L Horton
Date Posted: 3/15/2013 7:13:38 PM
Submited By: big mike



Went before the judge today. he seemed fair and respectful lawyers do very little for what they maket don't think if you hire a TV lawyer that they will be the who you get they send a young flunky lawyer that you don't meet until 10 min before court

Judge: George W Merchant
Date Posted: 3/12/2013 6:09:51 PM
Submited By:



Why are you George Merchant a disability judge? Enjoy the feeling of POWER? Your Professionalism is not impressive, especially when you are destroying the lives of people more than fairly helping them!

Judge: Joseph F Dent
Date Posted: 3/10/2013 8:00:07 AM
Submited By: David



I think you hit a bullseye there flleas!

Judge: Lisa M Johnson
Date Posted: 2/21/2013 1:39:17 PM
Submited By:



Unfeeling and cold. Watch out! More worried about getting finished with hearing than making a just decision.

Judge: PETER C EDISON
Date Posted: 2/20/2013 8:14:17 AM
Submited By:



This judge is cold-hearted and has no empathy for mental illness claimants. He not only called three psychiatrist and a social security psychologist, two primary doctors liars but me as well. His problem is since he can't see the illness physically then you can work. I believe he wants me to go out in the workplace and have one of my mental breakdowns whereby I hurt someone or vice-versa for him to see that a person that suffers with bipolar I & II are very moody people who can't always control themselves. I also suffer with manic depression, PSTD, social anxiety, anxiety, claustophic, panic attacks, OCD, high blood pressure, asthma, bronchitis, heart disease,etc. I am a 50 year old black female who has worked 30 years of her life always giving and caring for others. I have attempted suicide twice because I am my wits end. It took almost 4 years for this unfair system to tell me no I don't qualify for sdi in which I paid into the system. I guess, I will have to prove to this ### and the rest of them that I refuse to let others come here and live off of me when they never worked a day in this country.

Judge: George W Merchant
Date Posted: 2/18/2013 2:32:07 PM
Submited By:



wow, This Judge will look for any excuse to dismiss or deny a case! Very Lame ones indeed! I know many disabled folk that are dependent on professional trained pets to assist them to function. This Judge dismissed my niece's case that suffers from M.E. because she and her husband has a Lab that is older very docile, this dog helps her severe depression! He mentioned in the Denial letter because she cares for this pet she should be able to work..HOW Insulting! praying for this Judge to have a more caring and empathetic heart while he practices in Alabama~

Judge: Lawrence Levey
Date Posted: 2/13/2013 8:33:57 AM
Submited By:



judge levey was informal and made me feel comfortable i hope and pray hes decision is in my favor it was by video my attorney ask most of the question and the judge was very fair and respectful to me and my wife all judges need to take a page from his book 2/12 2013

Judge: George W Merchant
Date Posted: 2/3/2013 8:32:55 PM
Submited By:



I agree whole heartedly with the comment that this judge is heartless and disconcerned for the well-being of the claiments. Percentages on this site do not lie. Obviously he only approves less than a quarter of all cases. So if you experience a unfavorable decision from this judge, despite being dishearten with the system, you are not alone! His statistics seem quite unbalanced coupled with a whim of something smelly~ Try to find out before hand who your judge may be before hand because your chances of winning is very slim. In addition if you appeal to council or start all over, its within your rights to request another judge~ God Bless

Judge: George W Merchant
Date Posted: 2/3/2013 3:05:28 PM
Submited By:



As a person has been in this business for years, I felt obligated to note that I disagree with the poster below who referred to Judge Merchant in such a disrespectful manner. Yes, he reads the whole record- to include the treatment notes. He does confront the claimants; however, he is very compassionate and respectful to all who come into his hearing room. For future claimants, be wary of what you read on sites like these. Listen to your representative and be truthful.

Judge: George W Merchant
Date Posted: 2/2/2013 6:38:32 PM
Submited By:



Twisting evidence, Minimizing the seriousness of the claiments testimony..to the extent of "Poking fun of them", humiliating a person in the determination letter by outright ignoring significant medical details rather highlighting all the non Important information.

Judge: George W Merchant
Date Posted: 1/17/2013 10:47:16 PM
Submited By:



ALJ Merchant is clearly knowledgeable of the SSA statutes and assertive in his hearings. On the conservative side for dispositions, but his decisions do not tend to be unreasonable.

Judge: Michael L Brownfield
Date Posted: 1/17/2013 4:49:14 PM
Submited By: Rick Leak



He was very much up to date on my case and made a fair judgement - There are still well informed,Good people in our country that are in charge !!!

Judge: Joseph F Dent
Date Posted: 1/5/2013 4:11:51 PM
Submited By: jb



i have 10lb lift restriction,cant sit or stand over 15min at a time,two herniated disc L4-L5 and L5 s-1,nerve damage in right shoulder,nerve damage in back,i have to use a cain and back brace,migraines,anxiety and depression im sure i missed something but with all this he denied my disability GOD only knows why i wonder want else has to be wrong with me to get help!!!!

Judge: Lawrence Levey
Date Posted: 12/27/2012 11:14:42 AM
Submited By:



This judge is very fair and kind. I don't know how my case will be decided but Judge Levey made me feel very comfortable. He showed that he had spent a lot of time reviewing my case before the hearing. I look forward to receiving my decision and hope that it is a favorable one.

Judge: Jack F Ostrander
Date Posted: 12/15/2012 6:01:21 AM
Submited By: roy frier



well i found out what the problem was with my disability my selection of ostrander as my doctor and bennett to replace her was where i went wrong. I have linear fractures and bone missing in my left shoulder and lower back but several local judges seem to be property owners at the company i worked for ostrander one of them. I simply had to leave this county and get medical treatment to come up with proof.

Judge: Lawrence Levey
Date Posted: 11/26/2012 6:58:01 PM
Submited By:



The experience that I had with Judge Lawrence Levey was that it was the first time I have ever dealt with a government employee who was humane and respectful. He asked tough questions, but I felt that he was fair.

Judge: Windell R Owens
Date Posted: 10/1/2012 6:08:57 PM
Submited By: Bambie



Very nice, took my conditions and feelings serious. Used all my Doctor's reports instead of ce exam report. Made me feel relaxed and at ease. VE at hearing was also considerate.

Judge: PETER C EDISON
Date Posted: 8/1/2012 10:13:47 AM
Submited By:



although judge edison wasnt my judge I understand your frustration my hearing was june 20th and I havent recieved a decision letter in the mail yet. My conditions is left leg ampuation, psoriatic arthritis, and post tramatic stress syndrome. now if that doesnt qualify as disabled after i worked many years in the workforce then what would? I often think the same thing you guys do. what does it take to get approved roll in there on a hospital bed or a wheelchair. however my judge was extremely nice and seemed interested in my case but the low approval rates they have speak for themselves

Judge: PETER C EDISON
Date Posted: 7/30/2012 4:53:14 PM
Submited By:



This ALJ barely even looked at me during my hearing (June 2012) and never reviewed any medical findings after July 2011, which confirm my diagnosis. Also he basically said I was a liar and therefore denied me any disability benifits at all. I am on 19 prescribed medications, I can barely function while taken them, they have impaired my thinking skills. I also have hyper somnia, means I sleep for hours at any given time of day, but somehow that evidence was not in his report. If I was pushed in to the hearing in a wheel chair with drool hanging from my mouth, maybe he would believe me. But since I am an upbeat person ( to hide all the crap on the inside)he sees me as functional. I have good days and I have bad days , some days I have no pain and other days all I have is pain. I'm a mixed bag-who in their right mind would hire a person like myself? I can't sit or stand for too long, i can only do minimal light non-thinkinh kind of work, I will fall asleep on the job, I will forget the task I've been given and wander the office. I would get fired within a week, that or get that special baseball helmet for my head. this man infuriates me

Judge: Lisa M Johnson
Date Posted: 6/30/2012 12:58:54 PM
Submited By:



i really do pray for this women.......

Judge: Jack F Ostrander
Date Posted: 6/25/2012 3:45:13 AM
Submited By: ROY FRIER



he heard my case my stepbrother died with the man sitting there saying he was not disabled my brother was refused disability with him dying of a heart condition.i can barely walk and am in sever pain all the time but i like the criteria to get even disability through judge ostrander I AINT BLACK

Judge: George W Merchant
Date Posted: 6/18/2012 7:04:23 AM
Submited By:



Thorough, precise, articulate, well-spoken, and well-prepared. Don't go into a hearing with this ALJ expecting a cake walk.

Judge: Edward S Zanaty
Date Posted: 6/17/2012 1:04:21 AM
Submited By:



this judge had one of the highest approval ratings a few months ago now one of the lowest. I think if you had a case denied by him lately you should file an appeal.HE IS NOT BEING FAIR.He is making a lot of errors on his cases and I PERSONALLY think he is in fear of his job .He denied cases in record time ,wrong statements ,times and dates.He is very slick and will lead you on in your hearing to hang yourself. I work hard all my life and payed into the ssa but alot of ssi people are approved by him. I think this judge is showing early signs of dementia and should not be handling any cases now.

Judge: Lisa M Johnson
Date Posted: 6/16/2012 5:35:05 PM
Submited By: james w bass



fauded my case....didnt even do what the appeals council told her to do about my depression that it may have worsend after the evailuation of dr. kennon ,phd and dr.frankie stanley.a pychiatist has be treating me since december of 2010 and she didnt belive what he said about my diagnoses for major depression, recurrent severe...so she sent me to a consecutive examination and dr.harod savell diagnosed me with major depressive disorder with psycotic features and both doctors said that i am very disabled..what is right with this county....i have nothing and no money and no insurence i guess they just want us to die off with our sickness....... this judge showed me no justice and wrongfully denied me.

Judge: Lisa M Johnson
Date Posted: 6/7/2012 7:23:33 PM
Submited By:



Not a good judge.

Judge: George W Merchant
Date Posted: 5/31/2012 4:46:50 AM
Submited By:



This judge is nonetheless heartless and disconcerned of the well-being of Alabama's disabled citizens.Obviously he gets his income and doesnt think of what clients he presides over need to survive on a daily basis.He did not look at the basic facts of my trial and after waiting for 18 months with no income and the inability to work my case was denied. Being someone with a life-threatening illness I could have filed for another appeal but that would have put me waiting at least another 18 months before it would proceed to the appeals court. Instead I decided to reapply hoping that the seriousness of my disablities would be re-evaluated by someone with a little more understanding of what it is to want to do better for yourself when you cant.

Judge: Kenneth Wilson
Date Posted: 5/23/2012 1:39:49 PM
Submited By:



****

Judge: David L Stephens
Date Posted: 4/30/2012 8:15:31 PM
Submited By:



Judge Stephens is very thorough, extremely knowledgeable about the facts and the law, even tempered, and fair.

Judge: Lawrence Levey
Date Posted: 4/24/2012 8:21:30 PM
Submited By:



Judge Levey's hearings are informal and designed to create a comfortable and non-threatening environment for claimants and representatives. He is very well acquainted with the case records, and views critically claimant attempts at lying and distortion. Attorneys and reps should be well prepared to present their cases, as this judge generally expects them to conduct the bulk of the questioning. Judge Levey's decisions are generally well written and fair.

Judge: Ronald Reeves
Date Posted: 4/5/2012 5:06:21 PM
Submited By:



no stars intimidating acts like your a criminal for being disabled very unprofessionL did not even give me (CLAiment) the opportunity to express my disabilities was very ugly and mean to me and my representative. did not want to here how medications affected my work ability(s). HE said should have been included in restrictions by doctors report. medicine affects people diferent and the cautions are on the bottle. However, i wa not given the opportunity to tell how they affected me. i was never asked how my pain and other conditions affected my dAILY LIVING. ( which is tremendous) no work history or what i thought I may be able to do was discussed. (other than brief assumptions) Restrictions and limittations were asked of me,even though they should all have been shown in fCE and medical records. I do not know what the Drs. said I only know whAT I can and can't do. THIS judge has some anger issues or other problems ....... maybe he should apply for disability because he is not fairly and rightiously doing his job.....There are problems concerning this judge and his job duties and dealing with people 4/05/2012