The answer is...it depends on where you live in the country. The Social Security Administration has posted statistics about the number of cases filed with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (often called the 'ODAR'). You can view Social Security's hearing statistics through June of this year for free on their website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/appeals/congressional-booklets.html. There, you can go state by state and see:
- How many Requests for Hearing were filed in each state;
- How many hearing decisions have been issued this year;
- The average number of days to process a case to a hearing; and
- The number of pending Requests for Hearing in the particular state.
For example, in Florida (our law firm's base of operations), the average wait for a hearing is 514 days. That means that from the time a disabled person or their attorney files their Request for Hearing paperwork, that is will take over 17 months (on average) to get a hearing. This is scary, because a disability claimant has already gone through the Initial and Reconsideration phases of Social Security Disability's process which can take 6 months or so by themselves. Worse, after the hearing date, some Administrative Law Judge's may not issue a written decision for months, leaving the claimant wondering what the decision is in their case. From Initial Application to receiving a hearing decision can easily take a total of 2 to 3 years.
My hat is off to the Social Security Administration for developing a plan to combat the backlog of Disability hearings and for its willingness to disclose its statistics. Lets all hope that Social Security can reduce these horrible delays to help our those with disabilities avoid having insult added to injury by having to wait for years to get disability benefits they deserve.
Copyright (c) 2009 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. For assistance with your Social Security Disability or SSI claim, Long Term Disability claim, ERISA Disability benefit claim, or Veterans Disability compensation or pension claim, call Disability Attorney John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.