Your Average Wait Time is…

January 27th, 2013 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

In July 2012, the Social Security Administration released data about current processing time for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims pending at the administrative law judge hearing level. These cases are handled by the Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODARs)—there are 165 Social Security ODARs that handle cases in the United States. In and around Chicago,  for example, this step takes nearly a year…or more.

Average ODAR Processing Times

  • Valparaiso —338 days
  • Chicago —347 days
  • Orland Park —358 days
  • Peoria —365 days
  • Evanston —373 days
  • Oak Brook —404 days

“Processing time” only covers the third step in the SSDI and SSI appeal process, that is time for a request for hearing. When a person first applies for SSDI and SSI, the case is decided at the initial level.  Eighty five percent of claims are rejected outright. If the claim is denied, the individual can seek reconsideration.  If the claim is denied at the reconsideration level, then a hearing may be requested and the case will be handled by a Social Security Administrative Law Judge.

So, anyone found disabled at the ODAR level will, on average, wait well over a year to receive a favorable decision, because having a hearing presupposes that the claims were denied at the initial and reconsideration stages.

In comparison, the Mayaguez, Puerto Rico ODAR has the fastest processing time at 174 days.  The St. Louis ODAR has the slowest processing time at 475 days.

The report which includes data for all ODARs in the United States is available at http://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/05_Average_Processing_Time_Report.pdf.

Tom Yates, General Counsel, Health & Disability Advocates




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