Saturday, May 16, 2009

Efforts to Reduce Social Security Disability Hearing Wait Times

Anyone with a Social Security disability claim and the lawyers that help them all know that it takes way too long to get a hearing. The good news, is that as part of the stimulus package the Social Security Administration will be receiving additional funds to open new hearing offices and hire additional employees including administrative law judges. The increase funding should also help with SSDI and SSI claims at the lower levels as well. SSA also plans to hire a substantial amount of new employees to handle the application reconsideration levels as well. Social Security is expected to hire at least 7000 new employees by September of 2009. The most significant backlog is still at the hearing level and this appears to be where the emphasis is being placed. There is plans to open 13 new hearing offices. The Social Security Administration has already opened two new National Hearing Centers, one in Falls Church, Virginia and the other in Albuquerque, New Mexico. These NHC will handle cases by video hearing for the most backlogged ODAR offices. There is also plans to open two new NHC's one in Chicago, Illinois and one in Baltimore, Maryland. The 13 new hearing offices are to be opened in Phoenix Arizona, St. Petersburg Florida, Tallahassee Florida, Atlanta South Georgia, Danville or Portage Indiana, Topeka Kansas, Livonia Michigan, Mount Pleasant Michigan, Fayetteville North Carolina, Akron Ohio, Toledo Ohio, Auburn Washington, and Madison Wisconsin. Although this is good news, because on paper it looks like this should certainly help those waiting for Social Security disability hearings, but it is still difficult to tell how big an impact it will have given the sharp increase in disability hearing requests, as a result of the baby boom generation and the failing economy. Hopefully, the opening of these new offices and the other initiatives taken by the Social Security Administration will have a significant impact on reducing the wait times for disabled claimants waiting for a hearing. If you want to see how long it takes to get a hearing and then a decision in your particular state visit my website. For more information on Social Security disability hearings and what happens at that those hearings you can find this information on my website as well.