President Seeks Additional Funding For DOL To Clear Case Backlog


Although unlikely to be passed in its current form, President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request to Congress allocates an additional $2 million of the Department of Labor’s requested $1.8 billion budget so that the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) can hire additional personnel primarily to deal with a massive backlog of cases.

iStock_Money_Small.jpgThe proposed budget would allow OALJ to hire at least 10 employees, though the request does not specify how many of those would be administrative law judges. In an internal April 2013 memorandum, later made public through a FOIA request, OALJ Chief Judge Stephen Purcell wrote then-Acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris that “we are fast reaching a point where the productivity of this Office will sustain a significant downturn from which we will not likely recover for years to come.”

In February, six members of Congress had written the White House complaining of “untenable delays in adjudicating claims, such as claims under the Black Lung Benefits Act and alleged violations of employment law. These delays directly and severely impact the lives of workers throughout the country, placing an undue financial and emotional burden on the affected individuals and their families.”  Citing Judge Purcell’s memorandum, the lawmakers said a total of 11,325 cases were pending before 41 administrative law judges in OALJ at the end of Fiscal Year 2013, nearly double the number of cases from a decade ago.  OALJ now has just 35 administrative law judges nationwide, compared to over 50 just ten years ago.

DOL spokesman Jesse Lawder wrote that if the agency gets the requested budget increase, an uncertain prospect given GOP control of the House, it will “use the resources in the most efficient manner to process cases and will make that decision once funding is provided by Congress. The Labor Department is committed to resolving compensation claims for workers and their families, and that includes alleviating the backlog of cases before administrative law judges.”

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Franczek Radelet P.C. | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Franczek Radelet P.C. on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.