Social Security Administrations annual statistical report for the 2009 fiscal year was recently released. In 2009, 970,696 people were awarded social security benefits. The most common conditions that applicants were awarded benefits for were conditions involving the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue with 31.2% of all favorable cases being awarded based upon these conditions. Examples of musculoskeletal conditions are: spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and for connective tissue disorders examples are: lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. The second most commonly awarded disorders were for mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder and depression. 22.3% of all favorable decisions were based upon mental disorders.
The annual report also ranked the average processing time for all of the hearing offices. The quickest processing time was 203 days. The Ponce, NY office has the honor of this distinction. The longest processing time was 616 days, which was for the Lansing, MI office. The national average was 415 days. That means that the average person nationally has to wait over a year from the time they request a hearing before they actually receive a decision in their case from an Administrative Law Judge. The Wilkes Barre Hearing Office has an average waiting period of 385 days.