It takes a very long time to get a Social Security Disability hearing. It may take many months, possibly even a year to get a Social Security Disability hearing date. Some hearing offices may take longer to schedule your hearing than others. It’s bad enough that you have to wait until you are 62 years old to collect checks, now you have wait even longer if you are disabled and need help.
Why does it take so long?
In recent years, the Social Security Disability hearing offices have been experiencing a massive backlog. The Social Security Disability hearing offices are extremely overwhelmed and understaffed, which is causing significant delays for claimants. There are far more people applying for disability and requesting hearing than the hearing office can process in a timely manner.
Can I do anything to speed up the process?
Social Security has implemented a few programs that allow certain cases to skip the line. If your case does not fit into one of these categories, then you will probably have to wait.
1. Compassionate Allowance. Social Securitys Compassionate Allowance initiative allows critically ill and/or terminal claimants to expedite their claims. However, only certain conditions qualify. Check Social Securitys website for the list for qualifying conditions.
2. Dire Needs. Social Securitys Dire Needs initiative allows certain claimants to expedite their claims if they are in dire financial need. However, the claimant must be in immediate danger of losing his or her basic needs, such as food or shelter. Typically, proof is required, such as a foreclosure notice or food stamp eligibility notice.
3. Wounded Warriors. Social Securitys Wounded Warriors initiative allows veterans and active duty service members to expedite their claims if they became disabled while on active duty after September 2001. The disability does not need to be service-related.
Is there anything I can do to prepare while I wait?
There are several things you can do to prepare while you wait for your hearing date to be scheduled.
1. Gather evidence and outline your claim. You should gather your medical records and outline a timeline of your disability. This will help you give more coherent testimony at the hearing.
2. Get representation early. You should hire a licensed representative or attorney as soon as possible. Your chances of winning are statistically much higher if you attend with representation. The more time your representative or attorney has to prepare for your case, the stronger it will be.