No One Knows Better Than a Judge: Impact of the Shutdown on the Disabled

No one knows that better than a judge who hears from people trying to get Social Security disability checks. It’s rare for those federal judges to talk to reporters, but on Monday one of them talked to KOB Eyewitness News 4.

Judge Randy Frye is in Santa Fe for a conference of judges who hear Social Security disability cases. He knows the wait for those folks is already long. Today he told KOB if they have to wait even longer because of a shutdown, it could be tragic.

“It could be life or death,” said Frye. “This is going to add more to that problem.”

Frye knows more than most what time can mean to someone who needs medical treatment.

“It’s not infrequent that a judge will go to the courtroom and the claimant’s not there, because death came before the hearing,” said Frye.

That’s Frye’s reality now — something he faces often even before the reality of a government shutdown sets in. But now, things get really scary.

“We have thousands of people who process the disability cases at the initial stages up to a hearing,” he explained. “That starts a year in advance, before a case gets to a judge. Those cases are not going to be processed.”

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