Social Security Disability


    Talk to an advocate or attorney

    What is The Wait Time For a Disability Hearing?

    What is The Wait Time For a Disability Hearing?

    Once you have been through a Social Security Disability hearing with an Administrative Law Judge, you need to wait for your decision to come in the mail. Six weeks to 3 months is the usual time that should be expected. But the length of time that this may take varies based on several factors.

    If you have a disability attorney, he/she may have a good idea how long a particular judge takes to come to a decision. Some of the time factor is due to the judge, but it also depends on if the office is under-staffed and how heavy the case load currently is at your specific office. The Administrative Law Judge makes the final decision on each case that comes before them. The actual decision that will be mailed to your home is written by a decision writer (using the information the judge provides) who is a part of the staff at your local ODAR office. The decision is sent to the judge to look over and sign before it is mailed out. So it could be the ALJ who is back-logged or it could be the staff writer.

    Sometimes a judge is waiting for further medical evidence that was not present at the time of your hearing. Occasionally, a judge will request a new Consultative Exam and will wait for the report before making a decision. This is good because more evidence may help your case even if it does slow down your decision.

    There is no set rule that says the ALJ must respond with your decision within a certain amount of time. However, the average decision is received within 90 days of the hearing date. If you have passed 90 days and have not received a decision or any other communication about your case, you can contact the hearing office. If you have a disability attorney or representative, you should check with them before making the call yourself. It is their job to handle your case but you also need to communicate with each other regarding the status of your case. Most often if you call the hearing office you will be told that your case is pending. But from time to time the call serves as a reminder that the case needs attention.