If you applied for Social Security Disability benefits and were denied, you likely chose to appeal the decision. If so, two things you’ll need are patience and perseverance. Why? Because the average wait time between applying for a hearing and receiving it is 19.5 months. This time may vary depending on your location.
You may wonder how the wait time rose from 353 days in 2012 to 545 in September, 2016 and to now 596 days. You might also wonder how pending hearings went from 700,000 in 2010 to 1,100,000 today. Although there are a number of reasons for this, the Social Security Administration is also blaming the Baby Boomers moving into their 50s and 60s.
The good news is in 2015 the SSA developed a plan to reduce the heavy backlog. They hired an additional 264 judges in fiscal year 2016. However, due to hiring freezes, only 30 were added in fiscal 2017.
When your hearing date arrives your chances of a favorable decision may have improved: 1) the process usually uncovers detailed and complete medical evidence and 2) sometimes an individual’s condition worsens during the wait period.
Remain patient and continue to persevere.