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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Why Is It Taking So Long To Get My Decision?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Nov 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

The wait just to see a  Social Security disability judge can take up to two years.  Most people who make it that far think that the worst of the delays are over. In the past, this would have been true. The typical wait for a decision after a hearing was around thirty days.  Now decisions arrive in ninety or more days.  This only adds to the frustration of claimants. This is especially true for those claimants who know they won their case at the hearing.

Freeze Here, Don't Freeze There And Pretty Soon You Have Mess On Your Hands

Where's The Decision At?

So, why the delay? Don't blame a shortage of Administrative Law Judges (ALJ's) Despite all the budget cutting, Social Security has continued to hire new ALJ's. In fact, they are preparing to hire more.  The issue is what happens after an ALJ hears a case.   At present, Social Security does not have enough support staff to keep up with ALJ decisions.  In May 2016, Social Security stopped hiring support staff. This hiring freeze has continued into the Trump administration.  As a  result, there are simply not enough writers and others to get the ALJ's decision produced in a timely fashion.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

Social Security has tried to address the imbalance between ALJ's and support staff. One thing they are doing is shipping decisions to outside offices to have them written there.  This has not proven effective.  If anything, this has slowed things down further. My theory is that if the decision writer does not have to worry about running into the ALJ who made the

Break Time?

decision, that writer is going to be even less motivated to get the decision done.  It also tempts the decision writers to be sloppy and prepare poorer decisions.  Why be careful when the ALJ who has to sign the decision could be ten states away?

Whack-A-Mole Logistics

When you hear that Social Security is hiring more ALJ's, keep in mind that is just one piece of the process. More ALJ's are not going to help anything else they have sufficient support staff. At present, Social Security does not seem interested in hiring more of those people.

How long have you waited for a decision? Let me know. 

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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Feel free to call with any questions or concerns you have about Social Security disability. I never charge for a consultation. In fact, there is no charge at all until we win your case. Unlike most lawyers, I never charge extra for things like telephone calls or making copies.