September 27, 2011

How Long is the Wait for a Social Security Disability Benefits Hearing?

In the past couple of years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) had high hopes to improve the wait time for disabled individuals to get a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  Because there was such a large number of backlogged disability appeals waiting to get a hearing date, the SSA’s proposed goal was to improve the Social Security appeals system by hiring more ALJ’s to hear cases, add more hearing centers, and implement technologies that would make it easier to process more hearings across the nation. With these intended plans, the SSA did not foresee the significant budget cuts that would later disrupt these proposed plans. Unfortunately, the backlog of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) appeals has not decreased; as a matter of fact, it appears that the number of disability appeals has grown since this initial plan.

In 2011, a study shows that a lack of resources, combined with an increased number of SSDI and SSI claims filed, may be having an impact on the wait time for a hearing. Statistically, the study showed that the number of appeals nationally still pending in the current year was 735,660.  In the 2010 fiscal year, the number of individuals waiting for a hearing was 705,367.  As you can see, there is a significant increase in applicants waiting for a hearing from last year.

Although there is an increase in the number of backlogged cases, the average wait period for an individual to get in front of an ALJ has decreased from 514 days in 2008 to 369 days in 2010. So regardless, the SSA has been able to improve the wait period from 2008 to 2010.

Unfortunately it is very difficult for a disabled individual to get a hearing scheduled faster than other disabled individuals.  Although, there may be measures that a disability claimant can take in order to increase their chances of being approved for benefits during the initial stages of the claims process, therefore avoiding the need for a lengthy disability appeal.

Some individuals may find it beneficial working with a qualified disability attorney during their initial stages of the claims process.  Statistically, individuals represented by a Social Security disability lawyer, or qualified representative, may help a disability applicant improve their chance of getting an approved Social Security disability claim. The initial application process takes an average of three to six months.  At the law office of Scott D. Lewis, Mr. Lewis and his staff assist disability claimants with filing their appeal after they have been denied.  It is important to provide the SSA with appropriate medical documentation supporting your disability claim.  Attorney Scott D. Lewis is an experienced disability lawyer who takes great pride in assisting individuals who are unable to work due to a disabling condition.  If you filed for disability benefits and you have been denied, contact Indianapolis Attorney Scott Lewis for a free consultation.  Don’t be discouraged by the appeals process, appealing your denied claim just might get you what you deserve.  Call (317) 423-8888 today for your free case evaluation.

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