The Social Security Disability Hearing Process essentially begins upon filing a “Request for a Hearing by Administrative Law Judge.” The wait time varies depending on the disability hearing office with jurisdiction for the claim, but the national average is currently approximately 15.2 months. Unfortunately, this timeframe is likely to be at least 12 months, and up to as many 20+ months.
There are a few limited circumstances that a claim can be listed as critical or dire need, thereby expediting the claim with a hearing being scheduled 5 or 6 months after initial denial. These circumstances are very limited and very strictly construed by the administration, it is best to consult with an attorney in order to determine if you may meet one of these exceptions. If you do not meet the criteria for an expedited hearing, it is imperative to best use the time waiting for the hearing.
It is not uncommon for the claim to spend a large amount of time in a pending folder assembly, as much as 5-8 months. The file is waiting to be assigned to an analyst to begin to assemble the electronic file suitable for review by a judge. After some organization, the file will then spend more time, up to 2-4 months waiting to be assigned to a judge. At this point the medical record updating process will need to begin.
Once assigned to a judge, a hearing is typically scheduled within 3 to 3 ½ months, so while waiting for a judge assignment it is important to gather information on the relevant doctors and treating facilities and the needed authorizations, so requests can be sent. A good time to send for medical record updates is just after the claim is assigned to a judge, this usually allows enough to receive the records prior to the hearing.
If you are unsure about any of the hearing process, it is best to consult an attorney. Our team of lawyers offers free consultations and can potentially assist you through your Social Security Disability Claim. If you have been injured and can no longer work, call ACA Law at 570-348-0200 today. We fight for what’s right.