The average waiting period for a social security disability hearing in the DFW area is around 500 days. Every year, the Social Security Administration receives well over two million disability applications. Less than 30% of those disability claims filed are awarded.
Your application for disability benefits can become a long and complicated process that may require a hearing. Here’s what you need to know about a disability hearing.
Requesting a Hearing
Applying for disability benefits doesn’t automatically necessitate a hearing. You will want to speak with an experienced SSD attorney about your specific disability case.
First, you submit an initial disability benefits application. If your initial application is denied, you submit a request for reconsideration. If your reconsideration request is denied, you will have 60 days to submit a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge. If you miss the deadline to submit your hearing request, you have to restart the whole process.
Now, if your case does progress to a hearing, the administrative law judge is required to issue a hearing within 90 days of your hearing request filing date. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and one of them is when the hearing is for a disability matter.
You’ll typically always be notified around 20 days before your hearing date.
Prepare for Your Hearing
Before your hearing, you’ll prepare all the evidence you will use to support your case at the hearing—like medical records and witnesses. You’ll also need to prepare yourself to give your testimony. Prep your witnesses for their testimony too. Working with an attorney that is experienced in social security disability lawyer can be a huge benefit at this stage and will save you a great deal of work and stress. You could be waiting more than a year before your hearing.
Once you request a hearing, the average wait time until a hearing is held is 14 months in Fort Worth and 16 months in downtown Dallas. The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) functions as a part of the Social Security Administration’s process: they hold hearings, issue decisions, and review appeals should you have them.
The ODAR’s average processing time until your hearing request receives a final decision is 479 days in Fort Worth and 540 days in downtown Dallas.
Usually, the administrative law judge will make a written or oral decision based on their findings of fact, but sometimes they make a recommendation and send the case to Appeals Council—Further dragging out the process.
Get the Help You Deserve
Receiving a disability hearing a long process, and the last thing you want after incessant waiting is to embark on an appeals process (if the administrative law judge didn’t render the decision you were hoping for). Your level of preparedness is critical to improving your chance of being awarded disability benefits and lessening the lengthy process. As a social security claimant, you are entitled to representation. A social security disability attorney may be the best solution for you.
A social security disability lawyer can help you avoid potential speed bumps and ensure that you meet the many deadlines and requirements throughout the disability hearing process. A social security disability attorney can help you present the best possible evidence in the way that most supports your case.
An attorney can help you gather information from your personal file with the Social Security Administration, submit requests for reconsiderations, hearings, or appeals council reviews, obtain information to support your claim—like medical records, help you and your witnesses prepare for a hearing, and accompany you to interviews, conferences, and hearings.
A social security disability lawyer can help you be most prepared to present the strongest case in your effort to receive disability benefits. If you are disabled, you do not want a lengthy process slowing you down from receiving the benefits you deserve.
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