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Average Wait Times for Social Security Hearings

August 2, 2021

[Many of you have requested a reprint and update of the time involved before SSA hearings are scheduled.] A large problem with Social Security disability claims is the delay in getting SSA to decide cases. After the initial application and reconsideration, these delays have historically led to undermining some of the program's purposes. Some delays had previously averaged 1.5 to 2 years or more.

Waiting for your SSA hearing causes hardship, financial insecurity, reduced access to healthcare, and emotional turmoil. MMA has always pushed to reduce this delay by urging the hiring of more ALJ's and staff, and avoiding undue legal burdens in obtaining benefits. Current hearing wait times in some of the cities where we represent claimants are as follows:

  • Akron: 6 months
  • Cincinnati: 7 months
  • Cleveland: 8.5
  • Columbus: 9 months
  • Dayton: 8 months
  • Toledo: 7 months
  • Pittsburgh: 6 months
  • Chicago: 10 months
  • Charleston W.Va.: 10 months
  • Indianapolis: 9 months
  • Seattle: 14 months
  • Atlanta: 9 months
  • Tampa: 7.5 months
  • Lexington KY: 9 months
(Statistics as of June 2021)

The wait time from a reconsideration denial to a hearing is bad enough, but note that further delays often occur before the issuance of a decision. Most ALJ's do act reasonably and timely, but some have taken more than a year to write a decision following a hearing. One of our mottoes is "justice delayed is justice denied" and as a result, MMA continues to push for expedited hearings and timelines, telephonic hearings (at this time), and greater SSA staffing.

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