If your initial and reconsideration disability claims have been denied, you have the right to appeal the decision in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). However, many claimants do not realize that once you reach a disability hearing at the appeals level, there are several steps that must be taken before and after the date of your hearing.
Each of these steps will have a status. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will keep you informed of what status your case is in but cannot inform you of exactly how long each status will take. Generally, the length to resolve a case will vary, based on the amount of claims being handled by the Office of Disability and Review (ODAR), the office your hearing is being held at, and the complexity of your claim.
A Phoenix-based Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm is here to help. We know what it takes to get a claim approved at the appeals level and are prepared to guide you through every step of the disability hearing process. Our consultations are free of charge without any obligation to move forward.
Common Status Updates With Disability Hearings
There are various status updates the SSA uses when a case is getting ready for a disability hearing and once a hearing has been held. These include:
- Pending folder assembly – Your case file, including your medical evidence and/or work history, is being organized and exhibited into a folder for the ALJ and your lawyer to review before the hearing. Once a case file has been exhibited, a hearing typically gets scheduled soon after.
- Pending ALJ assignment – The completed case file is waiting to be assigned to an ALJ. This process can take several months as the SSA is facing a considerable increase in initial and reconsideration disability claims, resulting in a significant backlog.
- Ready to schedule – Your case file has been assigned to an ALJ and is waiting for a hearing date. Some ODAR locations will automatically place you in this status.
- Post-hearing development – Your disability hearing has been held before an ALJ, however, there were additional forms of evidence that were not received or submitted. The ALJ will keep your case in this status for a certain time period until this evidence has been submitted.
- Post-hearing review – Additional evidence can no longer be submitted. The evidence in your case file is being reviewed by the ALJ to make a disability determination.
- Pending decision writing – The hearing has been held and your case file is in line to get the decision write-up. It is not uncommon to wait a couple of months to get a written decision.
- Decision writing process – The ALJ has made a decision in the case after considering your medical evidence and testimony provided at the hearing. A formal written decision will be mailed to you and your lawyer typically within 60 days.
Although some claims may not go through the post-hearing development or review, all claims do go through each of these other steps.
One of the benefits of having an experienced lawyer by your side is that he or she can regularly check the status of your case to make sure that everything is progressing through the system as quickly as possible. Your lawyer will keep you informed about any updates you receive and what they mean. However, it is important to note that he or she has no control over what category the SSA places a case file in.
Waiting Period for a Disability Hearing
Generally, it can take up to 18 months for a disability claim to be heard, from the hearing request date to the actual date of the hearing. This is why it is important to stay informed on the status of your case to keep the process going. There are a few ways to help speed up the disability hearing process, but this will depend on your unique circumstances. You will likely have to show dire need or critical case status.
Contact Our Firm for More Information
If you need help appealing a disability claim, reach out to Dayes Law Firm today. Claimants may not realize that having lawyer during the disability hearing process can greatly improve their chances of being approved for benefits. We are well-versed in the SSA’s eligibility requirements and are prepared to review your situation and answer any questions you may have in a free, no-obligation consultation.
Get the legal help you need. Call 1-800-503-2000.