Harrisburg Social Security Disability Office has long hearing wait, adds new Judges

I hear from every client their disbelief of the wait time to receive a hearing on their Social Security Disability appeal.  It is frightening for folks who have no income or limited income and can’t function normally or work. However, it is also a reality.  And, it is not just the Harrisburg Office of Adjudication and Review, which handles Social Security Disability appeals, that has the backlog wait time.  It is a national problem.

Mooney & Associates representing social security clients
Mooney & Associates representing social security clients

Here are the current numbers. (As of July 2016)

Elkins Park, PA 20.0 Months
Harrisburg 19.3 Months
Johnstown 19 Months
Philadelphia 20.5 Months
Philadelphia East 20 Months
Pittsburgh 21 Months
Seven Field, PA 18 Months
Wilkes Barre 16.5 Months
Pennsylvania State Average 19.3 Months
Baltimore, MD 21 Months
NHC Baltimore 19 Months
Maryland State Average 20 Months

As you can see, the Harrisburg ODAR office is trending right near the Pennsylvania state average, but above the National average.  There may be some relief in sight though.  Harrisburg has recently added three new Administrative Law Judges, which should help reduce the wait time to around the National average.  Bottom line is, even with new ALJ’s on the way, if you have been denied Social Security Disability and you appeal, you SHOULD NOT expect to have a hearing for at least 16 months.

Another misnomer out there is that being awarded Social Security Disability benefits is pretty easy.  That’s just not accurate.  In fact, it is more difficult to win and appeal in Harrisburg than it is in the rest of Pennsylvania or nationally.  Here are the approval rates based on the table listed above.

Elkins Park 47%
Harrisburg 39%
Johnstown 45%
Philadelphia 45%
Philadelphia East 37%
Pittsburgh 39%
Seven Fields 39%
Wilkes Barre 41%
Pennsylvania State Average 42%
National Average 44%
Baltimore, MD 43%
NHC Baltimore, MD 45%
Maryland State Average 44%

As you can see above, the Harrisburg office falls below the Pennsylvania state average and the National average.  That essentially means that it is header to win Social Security Disability benefits in front of an Administrative Law Judge in Harrisburg than it is in the rest of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and even the Nation as a whole.

Give the low rate of success, it is absolutely critical for your case to make sure you have strong representation on your side.  At Mooney & Associates, you will get that strong representation.  We have an excellent approval success rate because we take the time to thoroughly review your medical records, discuss your disabilities in depth with you, position your case for success, better strengthen your medical impairment evidence, and define the strong legal arguments we need to win your disability case.

With 13 offices along South Central Pennsylvania, we represent Social Security Disability clients throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland.  We have staffed offices in Chambersburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, York, Hanover, and Gettysburg.  Additionally, we can meet clients at our other locations in Mercersburg, Greencastle, Shippensburg, Duncannon, Halifax, Stewartstown, and Lancaster.  For our Maryland clients, you can simply call us for a FREE consultation and to schedule your FREE intake over the phone.     We would also be happy to meet our Hagerstown, Maryland clients in our new Greencastle office, coming in September.   Going to your hearing and representing yourself leads to those low approval percentages.  You get ONE shot.  So position yourself the best you can.  Call Mooney & Associates today at 717-200-HURT or 1-877-632-4656 or email me direct at mab@mooney4law.com.

Mark Buterbaugh

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