In my 15 years of practicing disability work, I have seen massive increases in wait times for Social Security disability related hearings. This year, the average wait time for a hearing was 596 days. The Social Security Administration predicts that the average will increase to an all-time high of 605 days by the end of the fiscal year. What is the SSA doing about this problem, you ask? Well, they have budgeted $90 million for additional staffing which should help, at least a little, but not for many years. So, my philosophy is to expedite your appeals as much as possible and use any wait times to my advantage.
During these sometimes arduous wait times, I am diligently working to obtain and catalogue your medical records, develop the medical records in the areas they are lacking and present a winning case to Judge. If you follow my lead, we will be organized, prepared and ready to present the best case possible at your hearing.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for me to receive a phone call from someone who represented himself/herself at a disability hearing. These folks usually are calling with a similar story. They were told that there are medical records out there that were not part of the hearing file and that an additional hearing or medical examination will be needed to further develop the record. They are faced with delays upon delays because the file was not prepared properly the first time. Do not let this be you! Roughly 60-70% of initial applications are denied and 80% of appeals are denied. That means that many folks will be off to a hearing in order for a determination to be made. Be prepared and know what is required to present your particular case. If you need help, my advice is to seek it out long before your hearing.