How long does it take to get a decision from a Disability Judge?
An article in the Dallas News cited a statistic that caught my eye. Nationally, the average wait time for an ALJ (administrative law judge) to issue a disability hearing decision is 502 days.
I'm not even sure I can believe that number because it is simply incredible. I have made status calls to hearing offices myself (which are called ODAR, office of disability adjudication and review) for post hearing cases in which a decision had not been received for a year following a hearing, but 502 days?
Here's another statistic from the same article. In 2000, the wait time was 258 days. Again, this is astounding. However, it does serve to illustrate the horrible downhill slide in the efficiency of the social security disability system (and SSI disability, of course).
Several years ago (prior to the current administration), it was fairly normal, at least in the part of the country where I live, to receive a decision from a disability judge roughly three months following a hearing. How things have changed.
Now, of course, the situation is different in every area. And a lot of that has to do with staffing at a hearing office, and perhaps population density for the area that hearing office serves.
Also, I should state that when I say "efficiency", I am not attempting to deride either social security claims reps or disability examiners. In my opinion, they accomplish a tremendous amount of work for relatively little pay (especially disability examiners who get often get paid less than school teachers, and we all know how poorly paid teachers are). The problem with regard to the declining efficiency of SSA can be laid squarely at the feet of the executive and legislative branches.
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