How long will my case be at a Florida Social Security Hearing office before it is scheduled?

Someone wrote and stated that, in their particular case, a request for a hearing had been filed nearly a year ago and that they had received a letter from social security stating that hearing requests take approximately fifteen and a half months.

This is not surprising, of course. For many years, the time to receive a scheduled hearing date after a hearing has been requested has constituted the single largest portion of the total time a case may take.

At the current time, the national average waiting time for a hearing is 17 months.

How long will it take to get your social security hearing scheduled in Florida after the request has been submitted? It depends on backlogs. And backlogs are subject to where you live. It's been a fairly well-known fact for quite a few years that hearings can take well over a year regardless of where you live. However, for some states and localities, hearings can easily take over two years. It makes sense. Areas with higher population densities (big cities) and certain industry-demographic characteristics (such as detroit) are likely to have more per capita cases in the pipeline.

Contrast this to earlier years when you might be able to receive a denial on a request for reconsideration, file a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge, and then actually get a social security hearing scheduled in 3-5 months. Those times are certainly over for now.

One thing is clear, however. Because the wait for a hearing can be so long, and so financially injurious (going long periods without income has that effect), individuals filing for disability should:

1. Realize in advance that the process, from beginning to end, may take a long time.

2. Never give up on their claim, meaning, in most cases, they should pursue their claim at least as far as the hearing level.

3. Avoid time-consuming mistakes such as:

A) Missing the deadline to file an appeal (which can mean starting over from the beginning);

B) Mistakenly applying for disability all over again instead of filing an appeal after a claim has been turned down;

C) Missing important scheduled events such as appointments for consultative medical exams and...hearings. Believe it or not, quite a few people wait practically forever for a hearing and then, on the day of the hearing, do not show up.

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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