Waiting Time for Hearings Has Been Reduced Significantly

nullWe are often asked the question: how long does it take until I get a hearing date on my disability appeal? Well, we have good news for our clients: today it takes significantly less time to get to a hearing than it did one or two years ago.

The latest report from SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) shows that the waiting time for post-hearing decisions in the Northern California regional hearing offices has been reduced significantly in the past two years. This is a result of a concerted national effort by ODAR to shorten the average number of days between filing a request for hearing, to the final disposition of the hearing request. In the San Jose hearing office, for example, the average number of days it took to get a hearing decision shrunk from 376 days (more than one year!) in 2010 to 326 days in the fiscal year ending on August 31, 2012. The chart below shows the average waiting time for hearing offices in the Northern California region where we regularly appear on behalf of our clients:

Hearing Office 2010 2011 2012
Stockton 386 days 345 days 299 days
San Rafael 379 days 352 days 312 days
Sacramento 407 days 378 days 317 days
San Francisco 402 days 372 days 317 days
San Jose 376 days 405 days 326 days
Oakland 471 days 444 days 372 days

As illustrated by these numbers, the trend appears to be a good one. In each of the two most recent years for which ranking reports are available, the waiting time has been reduced. Note that the number of days reported above is the date to the hearing “disposition,” not the hearing date, and includes cases where claimants are unrepresented or for other reasons have greater delays in the evaluation of their cases. In contrast, as of the current time, in the San Jose region our clients can expect to receive a hearing date in approximately six months of the date we request the hearing for them. Hopefully, this is a trend that will continue. This trend also means that it is even more important to obtain and submit to SSA the important medical records and other documentation concerning your health impairments as early as possible. If you have questions or wish to discuss our representation of your disability application or appeal, please contact us at LaPorte Law Firm, www.terrylaporte.com.

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