The Chief Administrative Law Judge (CALJ) is in charge of developing and disseminating policy between all the levels of administrative law judges. Administrative law judges preside over hearings for disability benefit applications.
In general, administrative law judges preside over jury trials and issue rulings from bench trials that pertain to administrative government agencies. Social Security services and the Social Security Administration are subject to administrative law, though usually in less formal settings than trials.
The office of the CALJ is responsible for all 10 regional administrative law judge offices and 168 hearing offices, five national hearing centers, and two national case assistance centers – all of which issue over 700,000 decisions to claimants.
Part of the CALJ's job is to make sure all of the administrative law judges at all levels follow the required processes and disability claim frameworks when a disability benefit applicant reaches the hearing stage of his or her application.
The CALJ coordinates with the rest of the Social Security Administration's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) – of which the CALJ is a part – to make sure all parties are adhering to policies implemented by the office of the CALJ.
ODAR – which is headquartered, along with CALJ, in Falls Church, Virginia – is responsible for holding disability hearings presided over by administrative law judges, and consists of the office of the CALJ and the office of Appellate Operations. The office of Appellate Operations is the highest level of claim review and appeal within ODAR and also employs administrative law judges.
According to the SSA website, ODAR is one of the largest administrative judicial systems in the world, and the CALJ acts as an adviser to the Deputy Commissioner of ODAR. Debra L. Bice currently holds the title of Chief Administrative Law Judge.