Ask anyone who has filed for Social Security disability benefits and they’ll tell you the same thing: it’s a waiting game. Every step of the way usually involves rejections or delays.
The final step—requesting a hearing—is what takes the longest.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) tracks the length of time between the hearing request date and the date the hearing took place. Here are the wait times Hoosiers can expect by city as of September 2016:
Fort Wayne: 14 months
Indianapolis: 17 months
Evansville: 18 months
Valparaiso: 19 months
The national average is currently 17 months, and the statistics are updated monthly.
Getting to the Hearing
Why the long wait for a hearing that only takes an hour, maybe two?
The SSA is currently understaffed and overworked. Claims increased by half a million over just six years, and appeals hearings jumped by 40 percent. Budget cuts and a 2011 hiring freeze have left the SSA buried in a backlog of claims and hearing requests.
Have patience and don’t lose hope while you wait for your hearing.
Even though you’ve been rejected before, a hearing can change everything. The Administrative Law Judge will meet you in person, and your case will be updated with any additional medical treatment you’ve received since filing your application. The judge will also listen to your doctor’s opinion of your condition.
Hiring a Disability Attorney
Even if you have to wait 17 months for your hearing, an experienced attorney can help make sure you get the positive outcome you’ve been waiting for.
While you’re waiting for a hearing, your attorney will be analyzing your case, obtaining additional evidence to support your claim, and preparing a theory to present to the judge. Your attorney will also know which judges are tougher and more lenient on certain types of cases and can use that knowledge in preparing for your case.
At Hensley Legal Group, we don’t get paid unless you do. If we fail to overturn your denial, you don’t owe us a cent. If we win your case, you’ll only owe us out of the back pay the SSA owes you. The SSA limits the attorney fee to 25 percent of your past-due benefits, up to a maximum of $6,000.
If you file for disability, you’re going to spend a long time waiting. Make sure you have an attorney working hard on your case while you wait. Call Hensley Legal Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation.