A recent Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report shows the Social Security Administration transfers many Social Security disability appeal requests between offices. According to the OIG’s analysis, this trend began when the last major economic recession started in 2008. As more Social Security disability appeal cases moved from offices with backlogs to less-busy ones, wait times for claimants grew longer. Learn how this might impact your own Social Security disability appeal and see average wait times for all 50 states below.
Social Security Disability Appeal Wait Times Increase With Every Case Transfer
In 2008, the SSA transferred just 14% of SSD appeal cases to reduce office workloads. That’s about 100,000 cases in 2008 alone. In 2017, that number grew to 450,000 cases transferred with an average wait time of 605 days. In other words, 43% of SSD appeal cases pending that year got transferred to a different office. And some offices reported wait times of 750 days or more for transferred cases. That’s more than two years!
Luckily, the SSA has another directive in place to bring average SSD appeal wait times down. The agency hopes that by the end of fiscal year 2022, the average appeal processing time will be no more than 270 days. According to the FY 2021 report, the agency’s average hearing wait time was around 340 days. The latest SSA chart shows 326 days is the average hearing processing time as of December 2021.
Disability Appeal Hearing Wait Times In All 50 States
Curious how long you’ll have to wait before hearing a decision on your own Social Security disability appeal case? As of December 2021, at the national level, most people wait 8.6 months total for their hearing date. According to the latest SSA data, here’s what to expect:
- 49% of claimants get approved for benefits after pleading their case before a judge
- 80% of claimants at the hearing stage have legal representation
- 41% get denied disability during their appeals hearing
- Judges dismiss 9.4% of cases at this stage (typically, because the claimant passed away or fails to appear for their hearing)
- Hawaii has the highest approval rates for those at the Social Security disability appeal hearing stage (72%) and the longest wait for court dates (13.5 months)
- Kansas has the lowest approval rates for Social Security disability appeals (31%)
- Minnesota has the fastest wait times for appeals hearings in 2021 at just 6 months
Our interactive infographic below shows the average wait times in all 50 states as of December 2021.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Want your Social Security disability appeal heard faster? We can connect you with an experienced lawyer who can potentially speed up your case review. Getting an attorney to file your disability claim makes you nearly 3x more likely to get benefits. Those who file using legal assistance through our website typically qualify for $10,000 in lump-sum backpay as well as monthly benefits.
All lawyers in our network provide contingency-based help. In other words, if the SSA won’t award you benefits, you pay the lawyer $0 for helping you. A lawyer can also handle your appeal in court on your behalf so you don’t have to appear before a judge or testify. And if a lawyer does help you win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free benefits evaluation now!
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.