Waiting for your Hearing
How long will I wait?
What should I be doing?
Can I work?
My income is running out or ending!
How long is my wait for a hearing?
SSA tracks the average wait for a hearing from the day you request the hearing until an ALJ holds your hearing. The wait time varies widely depending on which hearing office has your case.
Which hearing office has my case? you can ask your representative or you can look at the last letter from an OHO (Office of Hearing Operations). The letter should identify the hearing office address.
Finding the estimate for your wait.
Use this link to get an estimate for your wait. Your case may take a few months more or your case may come up quicker. This link will take you to SSA's website. Type in the city for the hearing office assigned to you. The average wait is in months.
What Should I Be Doing?
You should be taking care of yourself, getting the medical care you need and if possible, trying to find a way to return to work. You need to keep seeing your doctors, especially your specialists. Your medical treatment is your evidence, so when you stop treating it makes your case harder. Sadly, SSA is fairly indifferent to whether keeping your insurance or getting care is possible.
You also need to take care of your life. Make smart financial decisions - if medical bills are piling up, talk to a lawyer who can give you an answer you can trust. Disability is hard on families and relationships - you should get the counseling or care that you and your family need. Talk to our office and we can help you find guidance.
Can I work?
Working or even looking for work can have difficult effects on your Social Security disability claim...since, you are alleging you cannot work full time. However, that does not mean that working is not an option.
Social Security has incentives for you to try to work and you should talk to your attorney about that. You can be disabled and still work if you are earning under SSA's definition of "substantial gainful activity." This can get complicated in a hurry, but the simplest thing to remember is that if you are not blind, and you will make over $1100/month before taxes, you should talk to your attorney.
What If I am feeling better?
Sometimes claimants get better and can attempt to work. This is an excellent outcome. If you recover, you may still be able to get benefits for the period of time you were out of work. Importantly, if you do return to work, it must be because you improved. If you didn't get better, and just returned to work because you needed money, then Social Security will conclude that you were not disabled. Social Security will think you just were not sufficiently motivated!
I'm losing my income...what do I do?
Social Security rarely expedites hearings based on need, but they do it sometimes. If you are facing foreclosure, eviction, or a similar situation, you may write a letter asking the ALJ to hear your case sooner. Contact your attorney to discuss these steps further.
If your income is from insurance or workers compensation, our team may not be able to advise you on what to do. We are not necessarily as knowledgeable about other areas of the law as we are on Social Security. However, if you need a referral to a certain type of attorney, we are happy to help you so you can get the answers you need.