Today we're going to talk about the time it takes for your Social Security case to get a hearing before an administrative law judge. My name is Paul Badame and I am a Social Security Disability attorney with the law firm of Rubin & Badame, Attorneys at Law, P.C.. And we're going to explain how long it takes to get a hearing before a judge.
The three-step process
In a previous post, I explained the basic three-step process that your Social Security case might have to go through. The first step is the initial step. The initial application takes about four to six months until the adjudicator makes a decision.
If you're denied, we file an appeal. That appeal is called reconsideration, and your case gets sent back to the adjudicator, where they take another look at your case, get more records, and so on. That takes anywhere from two to four months.
If you are denied again at that point, we file a second appeal. That's called a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge. At that point, your case is electronically sent to your local hearing office that covers your area so that the case can get scheduled for a hearing.
How long does it take to get a hearing?
The time to get a hearing varies throughout the United States. Our office covers Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Northern New Jersey, as well as the New York area. As of the end of 2020, it takes anywhere from four and a half to eight months to get a hearing. Two years ago, even a year and a half ago, it used to take anywhere from two years to two and a half years to get a hearing from the appeal date.
The waiting time has gone down
Meanwhile, the waiting time has gone down drastically throughout the area. Even throughout the United States, the time to get a hearing has declined substantially. And why has that happened? For two reasons: Number one, fewer people are applying for Disability. That means that fewer applications have to be adjudicated.
The Social Security Administration has also hired a number of new judges over the past two years. There used to be a huge backlog of cases. And now at least in this region where we are located, they are almost caught up. In fact, for a case to only take four to six months to get a hearing is unprecedented.