Administrative Law Judges:

Appointment of Women and Social Security Administration Staff Attorneys

GGD-89-5: Published: Oct 19, 1988. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO determined: (1) federal agencies' progress in appointing women to administrative law judge (ALJ) positions; and (2) the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) and the Social Security Administration's (SSA) progress in making SSA staff attorneys more competitive for judicial positions.

GAO found that: (1) as of July 1988, women filled 40 of the nearly 1,000 ALJ positions; (2) SSA employed 650 ALJ and used OPM registers of qualified applicants to appoint 84 of the last 94 ALJ it hired, which included 1 woman and 2 former SSA staff attorneys; (3) male veterans dominated ALJ appointments; (4) female nonveterans generally scored higher than male veterans on ALJ examinations, but received lower average final ratings after OPM added veterans' preference points; (5) male nonveterans typically scored highest on ALJ examinations before the addition of veterans' preference points; (6) OPM placed 8 of 23 SSA staff attorneys who applied for ALJ positions on its qualified registers; and (7) OPM believed that the increased numbers of women and SSA staff attorney ALJ applicants would improve their opportunities for appointment, although it also expected keen competition for the relatively few available positions.

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