If you have applied for SSDI or SSI benefits, been denied two times and you are now awaiting a hearing you may be unsure where your application is in the SSA disability process. Below we will describe the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), their responsibility in the SSDI disability process and how you can check your SSI or SSDI application status if you are waiting for a hearing.
Who are the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR)?
According to the SSA, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is the organization who is responsible for holding SSDI and SSI disability hearings and issuing decisions at the administrative hearing level. The ODAR is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia.
The ODAR is responsible for “directing a nationwide field of administrative law judges (ALJ) who conduct disability hearings and make decisions on appealed determinations involving retirement, survivors, disability, and supplemental security income benefits.”
The ODAR is also manages appeals at the Appeals Council level if an applicant appeals a denial at the administrative hearing level. The Appeals council can either review final disability decision on their own volition or they can review ALJ decisions which are appealed by the claimant.
How do I know where my SSI or SSDI case will be heard?
Understanding what court your case will be assigned to and who will hear your case can be confusing. Hopefully, if you have a hearing scheduled you have also talked to a disability lawyer who understands the process and can prepare your case for you. If not, you may want to review the administrative hearing process and make sure you understand how to prepare for the hearing on your own.
According to the SSA, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) has 10 regional offices, 169 hearing offices (including 7 satellite offices), 5 national hearing centers, and 1 national case assistance center. Within these hearing offices there are 1,300 administrative law judges (ALJs) and 7,000 support staff. Each year, more than 1,300 ALJs render over 700,000 decisions at the hearing level.
If you have requested a hearing your case will be sent to the appropriate hearing region:
- Region I (Boston)
- Region II (New York)
- Region III (Philadelphia)
- Region IV (Atlanta)
- Region V (Chicago)
- Region VI (Dallas)
- Region VII (Kansas City)
- Region VIII (Denver)
- Region IX (San Francisco)
- Region X (Seattle)
More information can be found by visiting the SSA site: Hearing Office Locator Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.
How do I contact someone at the Hearing Office?
The first step in contacting someone at the hearing office is to determine your region. Go to the appropriate regional website for the address and phone number of the regional office. If you are unable to contact someone at this office you can always call the SSA at their main number 1-800-772-1213, but getting specific information about your proposed hearing date may be easier if you talk to someone at the hearing office.
Keep in mind, getting a hearing can takes months or years. As mentioned above, there are a set number of judges who are reviewing thousands of disability cases each month. Be patient. If you need more information about expediting your case talk to a disability lawyer.
- SSA Disability Benefits – Steps to request an Administrative Hearing (disabilitybenefitshome.com)