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The Frustrating Wait For A Hearing Date

Your initial disability application has been denied. In the state of New York – and most states for that matter – the next step that must be taken in order to continue your fight for benefits is to request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. A claimant has 60 days to file their appeal with the Social Security Administration and once this happens, the case is transferred to a specific hearing location. So how come it takes so long to get a hearing?

For starters, the Social Security Administration is facing a backlog of cases that hovers around 700,000. This means that there are approximately 700,000 pending disability claims in the United States. Additionally, the Social Security Administration estimates that they will receive over 3 million new disability applications in 2010. These statistics depict a bleak outlook for the amount of time a claimant will wait for a hearing in the coming years.

Every so often, the Social Security Administration releases a Hearing Office Average Processing Time Ranking Report to give the general public an idea of how efficient their hearing offices are. To view the most recent report CLICK HERE.

Notice that Brooklyn is currently ranked 6th in the country with average processing time of 293 days. While Brooklyn ranks among the most efficient offices in the country, their average processing time for a claimant to receive a hearing date is still 9 months. That said, keep in mind that this is just an average. The amount of time it takes it get a hearing varies and specific cases could be expedited depending on the circumstances.

As practitioners in the state of New York, it is encouraging to see that the Brooklyn hearing location is among the best in the country. However, here’s a look at some of the other hearing locations in the state of New York that appear to be struggling with their backlog:

WHITE PLAINS:  421 days

NEW YORK:  442 days

BRONX:  549 days

These 3 hearing locations have an average processing time of well over a year. This means that claimants shouldn’t expect a fair hearing on their disability claim for at least a year down the road. The wait time is by far the hardest part in obtaining disability benefits, but it’s important to maintain your fight for the benefits you are entitled to.