What’s Happening in the Social Security Disability Hearing Office?
The Office of Hearing Operations (that is, the office that hears Social Security disability appeals) has some things in the works:
Ø OHO continues to put into practice the Compassionate And Responsive Service (CARES) plan.
Ø The number of hearings held each month has fallen for the 15th straight month. Hearings were at an all-time high in December 2016 and have dropped by a total of almost 200,000 since then. The number of total disability hearings pending nationwide in March 2018 was 985,775.
Ø The office projects a reduction in average wait times by fiscal year 2019.
Ø OHO has hired almost 600 Administrative Law Judges in the past 3 years. They now plan to hire additional support staff to help with the increased number of decisions these ALJs have generated.
We’re most excited by OHO’s projections to cut down wait times and the decision to increase staff. One of the most difficult things for a claimant is waiting so long for a hearing. In Mobile, the average wait times are currently 16 to 18 months. Then after a hearing, claimants are often waiting up to 120 or more for a decision. Hopefully the decision to add more staff will help our deserving disability clients get their hearings and their decisions faster.