Once your disability claim is denied by the Social Security Administration, you can hire an attorney to file your appeal and represent you at a hearing. The attorney has 60 days to file your appeal, but it is good to hire an attorney quickly, because there is a long wait between when you file an appeal and when the claim is assigned for hearing. I prefer to start the appeal process as soon as possible, so that my client is assigned a hearing date as soon as possible.
In Louisiana the wait for a hearing can be as long as seven months or even longer. The average wait time in New Orleans is 12 months, compared to 7.5 months with the Shreveport ODAR. The Social Security Administration’s wait time stats for your jurisdiction can be found here.
Once your hearing is done, the Administrative Law Judge who heard the case writes an opinion, either granting or denying your benefits. It takes about two months to receive an opinion from most ALJ’s, but sometimes it takes longer. When a favorable opinion is rendered, the opinion is sent to the benefits facility for processing and it generally takes a couple of months for SSA to issue your first check. As you can see, the whole process, from application to benefits, can take a year or longer.
Sally Greer’s story, recently published in the Orange County Register, is similar to the story of most of my clients. And the wait times in her jurisdiction are similar to the wait times experienced in most of Louisiana. Sally’s story is a real world example of what to expect when waiting on your claim to be approved.