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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

How Long Can Social Security Make Me Wait For My Hearing?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Sep 08, 2016 | 0 Comments

It is no longer news to say that Social Security is hopelessly behind on holding hearings in disability cases.  But just how long might you have to wait? It depends on where you live.

Social Security tracks the waiting times at all of their hearing offices. You can see the data here

The Numbers Ain't Pretty

Digging into the numbers reveals some shocking results. For example, the best that any hearing office in the country is doing as of August, 2016 is Fort Smith,

Zero Has To Be Around Here Somewhere

AR. This model of efficiency is holding hearings a mere 7.5 months after they receive a request.   As for the longest wait time? Well, it's not a good time to be trying to get benefits in Buffalo, NY, Fayetteville, NC or Ponce, in Puerto Rico. In any of those locations, you are looking at 26 months, or more than 2 years.  As with any data from the Federal government, I am little suspicious. I note that Social Security claims the current wait time in Tucson is 17 months. In fact, it is well more than that. My experience shows that Tucson is at least 20 months. If this example holds across the nation, then all the reported wait periods are probably 15% longer than the data shows. 

Disabled? Got Three (Or More) Years To Wait?

It is a scandal that the shortest waiting time in the nation, 7.5 months, should be the longest.  If every hearing office in the country was at 7.5 months, that would be terrible. 26 months is simply inexcusable. Save for the VA, I cannot think of another example of government benefits where applicants have to wait so long just to get their cases heard.  Keep in mind that waiting for a hearing is only one part of the process of getting Social Security benefits. Most claimants will have already sunk a year or more into their applications before even requesting a hearing.   The total time involved in the worst regions of the country are easily in excess of three years. If you lose in front of the judge and want to appeal? Tack on another 18 months of waiting. 

Did Orwell Design The SSA System?

I Might Need TripleSpeak To Explain This One.

As I have noted before, Social Security's response to falling behind is to go slower. This is Orwellian. Try to imagine any other enterprise that would respond to a crisis by intentionally making it worse.

Sadly, there is nothing anyone can do to make Social Security go faster.  If you are seeking disability benefits, prepare for a very long wait.

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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