In Maine, the average wait for a hearing decision is now 412 days. Processing time runs from the date of the hearing request to the day a decision is issued. The 412 days is an average. Some disability claims are resolved more quickly, but a disability or SSI claim that requires a hearing and a written decision may take longer.
Things have moved quickly in the wrong direction. Just two months ago the average processing time was 365 days. A 47 day increase in waiting time during a 60 day period is remarkable. I wrote last month that disability claim processing in Maine is definitely slowing, and the latest statistics confirm it.
These stats for processing times for Social Security hearing offices around the country were released by the SSA, and reprinted in the September 2011 NOSSCR Social Security Forum newsletter.
There is a slight lag with the numbers. The 411 day wait is for the period ending 8/26/2011. The previous 365 day number was for the period ending 6/24/2011. So the increase in wait time happened between those dates. This corresponds exactly with the two month where my office had very few hearings scheduled in Portland.
One must hope that the slide will not continue. There is new staff being trained at the Portland hearing office. And of course, on the record decisions help to lower average processing times.