33 N. Dearborn Street, Suite 1130, Chicago, IL 60602

5 Convenient Locations

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Youtube


call us312-999-0999fax312-999-8999

Social Security Disability Hearing Processing Time

 Posted on October 02, 2015 in Need to Apply for Social Security Disability

By Jonathan L. Pearson

social security processing time, Chicago social security disability lawyerAs of July 2015 the average hearing office processing time has increased to 511 days. This figure is alarmingly close to the all-time high of 532 days on average that was recorded back in 2008. The average hearing office processing time has been increasing each month so far through the fiscal year 2015.

Congress has fallen short in its ability to deliver the necessary resources properly in order to process Social Security disability claims adequately. Unfortunately, Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) have been leaving or retiring, and funding has not yet been increased enough to hire enough judges. Further, Congress has capped the number of dispositions each ALJ can issue in one year, at 720. This was done in response to too many decisions being issued each year awarding benefits to disabled individuals (in the opinion of politicians).

In previous years, it was possible for a disability attorney to communicate with a senior staff attorney at a Social Security hearing office and request that a claim be considered for approval on the record, commonly referred to as an “OTR” request. This would help reduce the time a claimant had to wait in order to receive disability benefits since the claim would be approved without having to attend a hearing before a judge.

In 2010, roughly 54,000 cases were decided by senior attorneys instead of judges. Through the first ten months of the fiscal year 2015, only 508 cases had been decided by staff attorneys. It is no surprise that hearing wait times have skyrocketed due to thousands and thousands of cases bypassing senior attorney review and instead sent to the pile of cases awaiting a hearing before the judge.

Unfortunately, there is not much that claimants or their attorneys can do to reduce the amount of time it takes for Social Security to process disability claims. Do not give up! It is very important that claimants treat with their doctors as best they can during this very long and very hard wait period. When the hearing finally does get scheduled, the medical records that have been built up over time can be extremely persuasive and, ideally, enable your lawyer to quickly wrap up your case in front of the judge.

If you have Social Security questions or need help with a claim, contact our Chicago disability lawyers. Call Pearson Disability Law, LLC at 312-999-0999 to schedule an initial consultation.

Share this post:

You are not alone. Call now for a FREE consultation 312-999-0999

Unable to travel to my office? No problem! No office visit required.

dupage county bar association Chicago abr association nosscr Super Lawyer
Back to Top