What is the average time for an answer after a disability hearing?

"It has been over a year since my SSDI hearing. How long does it take usually?"

Here are recent statistics provided by SSA on this issue: "As of March of this year, about 1.1 million claimants were awaiting a hearing decision, and the average processing time for a claim was about 518 days...with the average age of 318 days, measured as the time from the date of the hearing request."

This does not mean, however, that all cases take only approximately one and a half years (518 days) from beginning to end. Very often, they take 2-3 years. It does mean, however, that it can take a long time to get a hearing date.

Unfortunately, as to the answer to anyone's specific case and situation, that is nearly impossible to know. Sometimes judges will indicate at a hearing that a decision will be forthcoming in a number of weeks. Even then, that doesn't guarantee that a claimant will get notification in that time span.

Part of the problem is that judges make decisions but they don't actually write the decision documents. That is done by decision writers who are often backed up. This is by no means the first time I have heard of a year-long wait for a hearing decision. If you have representation, get them to follow up with the hearing office.

If a person has had a hearing and it has been quite a few while (more than a few months), they can call the hearing office where their hearing was held. In most cases, of course, the only answer will be that the case is pending. If a person has representation, then that person should make the status call. It may even be possible that the hearing office has held the case open for additional records that have not yet been received and the status call could bring this fact to light.

Here are some related pages on the site:

1. How Long Does It Take To Get The Results Of A Disability Hearing?

2. How long does the administrative law judge take to make a decision on an SSD or SSI disability case?

3. The time frame for a judge to make a decision for a disability hearing

4. Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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