Social Security Disability Hearings Tips

Here we provide social security disability hearing tips and advice.  Many of my clients express anxiety, stress, fear, and nervousness toward their upcoming hearing for Social Security Disability benefits.  Unlike Workers Compensation, where an injured worker may testify twice, with social security disability hearings, there is one hearing.  Claimants have one shot to convince an otherwise skeptical administrative law judge that they are indeed disabled and unable to work full time. Here are some tips we provide to our clients as they prepare for their disability…

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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)

HEARING LOCATION HEARING WAIT TIME
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. (more…)

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