Why Does It Take So Long For a Social Security Disability Hearing?
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is how long it takes to get a hearing in a Social Security disability appeal. This specifically means the time from when the request for hearing (i.e. the appeal) is filed until when the hearing is held. The answer differs from office to office, but in the Mobile, Alabama office, the average wait time is currently 17 months (as of June 2016). In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the wait time is also currently at 17 months.
The next question inevitably is why? Why does it take so long? It’s impossible to answer that question fully, but the biggest reason it takes so long is the backlog. Currently in Mobile, there are over 11,000 cases waiting to be processed. In Hattiesburg, there are over 8,000 pending cases. The hearing office has a first-in, first-out policy. That means when you file your appeal, your case goes in behind (if you’re in South Alabama or the Florida Panhandle over to Ft. Walton) over 11,000 other cases. That also means almost all of those other cases have to be processed before they even get to yours. As you can imagine, that takes a lot of time.
The bottom line is that a Social Security appeal is most likely going to take over a year to complete. It’s important to work with an experienced disability attorney who can help develop your case over that time to make sure you have everything ready to go when it’s time for your hearing. For example, my office will order your medical records and help you get an opinion from your doctor.
For more information on how to navigate Social Security disability benefits, contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. today at 251-343-1111 for a free case evaluation. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. represents Social Security disability claimants in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana at all levels of the disability process from initial application to the Appeals Council to Federal Court.