Central Pennsylvania Social Security Disability and Waiting for a Hearing

The Harrisburg Office of Adjudication for Social Security Disability appeals, which serves Central Pennsylvania, is swamped with back log.

One of the very first questions that I am asked by a potential social security client is how long the process will take.  That’s a fair question.  Most people applying for social security disability (SSD) obviously are in severe financial distress.  They are applying because they can no longer work.

57f94-social-security-disability-attorneyUnfortunately, if you have severe medical condition that does not permit you to work anymore, and you are applying for social security disability to quickly fill the financial void,  you are mistaken.  First, after you apply for SSD benefits, it is not that uncommon for six to eight weeks to pass before you even get a determination on your application.   Currently, between 65% and 70% of all SSD applications are denied at the initial level of application.

It is important to note that if your application is denied, that doe snot mean you completely lost your ability to receive SSD benefits.  Upon receipt of the denial letter, the applicant has 60 days to file an appeal.  The 60 day period begins from the date of the denial letter the applicant receive dint he mail.  Failure to file an appeal within 60 days means the applicant must start the entire process all over again.   Simple way to appeal?  Contact our offices at 717-632-4656 or 717-263-9215 or email me us at info@mooney4law.com.  We will get you set up for an Intake, evaluate your case, provide you an honest assessment, and then we may get that appeal filed on your behalf.  It’s that simple.

Back to the backlog.  Again, it is important to note and disclose, if you are seeking a quick financial fix to your inability to work, social security disability will not be that fix.  The areas that we serve, mainly Chambersburg area, Carlisle area, Harrisburg area, Gettysburg area, Hanover area, York area, and Lancaster area, are all served by the Harrisburg Office of Adjudication.   The Harrisburg SSD office currently has nine social security disability judges.   They also have 7,440 cases pending and another 3,183 new cases assigned.  These numbers result in an anticipated hearing wait time of 15 months.  To further clarify with an example, if you file your appeal of your original denial in June 2014, you should not expect to have an Appeal hearing until Fall 2015.  That is not a worst case scenario, that is a typical and common scenario.

One more question we are frequently asked —if I am awarded social security disability benefits, how long do they last?  Simple answer.  As long as your disability lasts.  Social Security will periodically review your case to determine if you continue to be eligible.   To be eligible, your disability must continue and that disability must cause you to not be able to do any substantial gainful employment.  If you are still receiving disability benefits when you reach your full retirement age, your disability benefits will automatically be converted to retirement benefits. The amount you receive will remain the same.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.