What we do in the Office of General Counsel
In the Office of General Counsel (OGC), we contribute to nearly every aspect of the agency’s performance. A career with OGC offers opportunity for professional growth and personal balance. You will join a modern public service law office with a highly skilled, engaged, and diverse team. We have cultivated a collaborative environment where you can develop and refine your skills, perform meaningful work, and find an optimal work-life balance.
Positions in OGC
Responsible for forwarding notices of new bankruptcy cases to the appropriate agency contacts to stop collection actions and for pursuing the preservation of debt from discharge in cases involving overpayments. Provide advice on actions that are and are not permissible under the automatic stay; review and file proofs of claim in accordance with policy; file complaints to determine the dischargeability of Social Security’s overpayment debt resulting from fraud or misrepresentation; assist the Department of Justice in litigating cases involving Social Security as a creditor in bankruptcy court; and negotiate settlements as appropriate.
Criminal Fraud Attorneys
Investigate and prosecute federal crimes that undermine Social Security’s programs. Fraud Attorneys are sworn in as Special Assistant United States Attorneys and are assigned to, and work in, United States Attorney’s Offices around the country. Duties include providing guidance to other agency components in connection with redeterminations of benefits claims based on referrals made by Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General. Provide guidance to federal and state prosecutors when there is reason to believe fraud was involved in the applications for benefits.
Provide legal advice and service on all ethics matters for the agency and its employees, including but not limited to, interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of ethics related laws, regulations, and policies.
General Law Attorneys
Provide legal advice and litigation on a variety of matters, including employment and labor law, representative conduct, civil rights and investigations, class actions, e-Discovery, contracts, fiscal/appropriations, estates, facilities, privacy and disclosure, social media, eSignature, testimony and records in litigation, and more.
Provide administrative and substantive support to attorneys across the Office of the General Counsel on all Social Security program and non-program issues and legal matters. Paralegals assist in the review, organization, and preparation of legal documents and management reports. Paralegals maintain files and electronic databases relating to all types of reports and legal matters.
Privacy & Disclosure Attorneys
Provide privacy and disclosure policy guidance and oversight on Social Security’s extensive data management and sharing activities, and disclosure requests including law enforcement and health and safety requests. Provide guidance on privacy implementation, Freedom of Information requests and litigation, Privacy Act issues, and computer matching/information exchange and other data exchange agreements.
Program Law Attorneys
Provide a full range of legal services and advice to the Commissioner and to other agency components related to the operation and administration of the various programs Social Security administers under the Social Security Act, including the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, Disability Insurance, Special Veterans Benefits, and Supplemental Security Income programs, as well as those aspects of the Medicare program that Social Security administers. Responsible for drafting and reviewing Social Security’s regulations and Federal Register materials, for providing legal advice and opinions to Social Security’s headquarters and regional components with respect to program law matters. Provide advice to the Offices of Program Litigation and Offices of General Law in connection with Social Security’s program litigation workloads.
Program Litigation Attorneys
Represent Social Security in 94 federal district courts and 12 circuit courts nationwide when litigants challenge Social Security benefit determinations and policies. Perform appellate-style litigation, working from a closed administrative record, to write briefs that support agency decisions while developing expertise in complex statutes, regulations, and case law. Responsible for all program litigation cases that arise in one to two circuits, including developing legal strategies, advocating on behalf of the agency in court, and providing legal advice and guidance on matters related to program litigation. Possess strong aptitude for and interest in legal writing, oral advocacy, and public service.
What we do in the Office of Hearings Operations
In the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO), we are committed to the privacy and protection of personal information and value the safety of the public and our employees.
We rely on legal professionals in OHO to improve the timeliness and quality of our disability process and preserve the public's trust in our programs.
Positions in OHO
Administrative Law Judges
Hold hearings and issue decisions on appeals. Investigate the facts of each case and develop the arguments for making final decisions. Hold hearings and issue decisions based on all the evidence presented.
Provide advice and assistance to judges during pre- and post-hearing development of cases, and other post-hearing actions. Conduct formal pre-hearing conferences with claimant representatives. Analyze, research, and develop cases and prepare comprehensive decisions.
Perform substantive review, research, and analysis on matters involving operational and programmatic needs of a regional office. Participate in the hearings decision-making process.
Chief Administrative Law Judges
Hold position as the top Administrative Law Judge in the hearing office. Responsible for managing the nationwide operation of a highly complex and sensitive hearings system and formulating nationwide policies.
Review and analyze medical and non-medical evidence to ensure documents are sufficient and ready to hold a hearing.
Aid staff members in processing requests for hearing files. Assist supervisors as needed in planning, development, and implementing work plans for each hearing.
Analyze, research, and develop claims and prepare legal information needed to hold hearings.
Senior Attorney Advisors
Provide advice and assistance to judges during pre- and post-hearing development of cases, and other post-hearing actions. Conduct formal pre-hearing conferences with claimant representatives. Analyze, research, and develop cases and prepares comprehensive decisions.