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Appealed two years ago why have we not had a response?

By far the most frequently asked question on our disability forum is, “How long does it take to get my Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income application?” If you were denied SSDI or SSI benefits at the application level and appealed the denial decision you may also have questions about how long it will take to process your disability appeal.

A recent disability applicant had not heard a response from the SSA in two years. My first question to this applicant is have you ever received any type of notification from the SSA? Disability applicants who file a reconsideration, which is the first appeal in the SSA disability appeal’s process, should hear back from the SSA within 30 to 90 days. If you are approved you will receive a letter stating your estimated date of SSDI or SSI payment and payment amount. If you are denied, you will receive a SSI or SSDI disability denial letter.

If you filed the reconsideration more than two years ago and you have not received a response it is likely the Social Security Administration either did not receive your reconsideration appeal paperwork or they sent you a denial letter and you did not receive the denial letter. Either way, it is time to call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 and find out the status of your SSI or SSDI case.

I filed my hearing request but have not heard from the SSA in two years

If you are at the hearing level the wait could be two years. TheOffice of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is the group who is responsible for holding disability hearings and issuing decisions at the administrative hearing level. The ODAR manages all of the administrative law judges and helps assign cases to the appropriate hearing offices nationwide. It is estimated that there are upwards of close to 1500 Administrative Law Judges throughout the United States who are hearing thousands of cases each year.

There are dozens of judges assigned to each ODAR office, but there are also hundreds of cases that are waiting to be heard, and your case is simply put in “the line.” Due to the back log in certain regions it is not unusual for SSI or SSDI disability applicants to have to wait months or years for a disability hearing.

So, to answer the question posed above, if you submitted your request for a hearing you should receive notification via letter. This letter will tell you that your hearing should be scheduled soon, generally 12 to 18 months. This is only a general guideline. As noted above offices have different hearing loads.

Efforts have been ongoing for years to reduce the SSI and SSI hearing backlogs in several offices. The SSA has opened additional national hearing centers which can hold their hearings by video and try to help out the most backlogged ODAR offices. Several years ago efforts were focused specifically on the Atlanta hearing offices because they had the longest wait time in the country.

If you have received a letter that your SSI or SSDI hearing is waiting to be scheduled and it is two years than most likely your case is “still in the cue.” But you can always contact your regional ODAR office and find out the status of your case or call the SSA general number at 1-800-772-1213.
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