It can be a frustrating experience applying for Social Security disability benefits. The amount of information that is required along with the scrutiny that comes with determining whether a claimant is actually disabled can wear at a person and make them believe that they will never be granted benefits.
For those who are initially denied benefits and decide to appeal, the wait time can be excruciatingly long. According to a recent Social Security Administration report, the average wait time for appellate hearings in Oklahoma City is 14 months. Indeed, a year and two months is a long time to wait, but compared to one office in Buffalo, New York, 14 months is a virtual picnic.
A woman who asked to have her initial denial reviewed waited more than two years to have a hearing. This was after a news station reported on the long wait time, and several legislators launched inquiries into why the appeal took so long to be heard. It is well known that administrative law judges are under pressure to move through a long and tough docket of cases, and they don't always get a chance to review the case thoroughly (even though that is not what they want you to believe).
Because of this, it is helpful to have an experienced disability attorney who knows the landscape and how to navigate cases through the system so that wait times can potentially be reduced. If you have questions about why your appeal is taking so long, or whether a different office is more efficient than another, contact an attorney.