How long does it take to get a disability hearing scheduled ?
I've answered this question quite a few times and the answer usually boils down to:
1. It can take a very long time to get a disability hearing scheduled.
2. How long it takes to get a disability hearing scheduled can depend on where you live.
Part two of the answer sometimes throws people because their first reaction is often, "Social security disability and SSI are federal programs. Why should it matter where you live?".
Well, ideally, it shouldn't matter where you live. However, the disability claim system is not set up in an ideal fashion. Disability hearings are scheduled by hearing offices (historically known as OHA, the office of hearings and appeals, but now being renamed to ODAR, the office of disability adjudication and review). And how long it takes to get a hearing date after such a hearing has been requested will depend on how backlogged a specific hearing office is. Many hearing offices literally have thousands of backlogged cases.
Because the wait for a hearing can be extremely long, it becomes even more important to attempt to win a claim earlier in the process.
Statistically, the odds are stacked against disability claimants at the initial claim level (the application level) and at the first appeal level (known as a federal review or reconsideration, depending on your state of residence). But because this is true, claimants should provide detailed information concerning medical treatment sources on application and appeal paperwork. Additionally, claimants should do the following:
1. Monitor the status of their claim -- by calling the social security office or the disability examiner assigned to their case.
2. Respond promptly to SSA (social security administration) correspondence.
3. Respond immediately to deadlines (such as for returning paperwork and filing appeal forms).
Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog
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