Well you just knew it was coming.
The Portland, Maine ODAR is now ranked #1 in the country in the latest national ranking report, with an average processing time of just 261 days.
Processing time runs from the day the hearing office receives a hearing request to the day a decision is issued. Since the hearing office gives 75 days notice when scheduling a disability hearing, that means less than 6 months elapses from when the hearing office receives a hearing request until a hearing date is scheduled. These times are consistent with my recent experience with Social Security disability claims at the Portland hearing office.
While this excellent performance reflects well on the U.S. administrative law judges that hear and decide the disability claims, the real story is behind the scenes. It requires a tremendous staff effort at the hearing office to get so many claims ready for hearing in such a short time (and then to get the decisions written afterwards).
Congratulations to Philip Smith, the Portland Maine Hearing Office Director, to the Portland administrative law judges (including our visiting judge from the Hartford, CT ODAR), and to the entire staff at the Portland ODAR for this best in the country performance. You just can't argue with being #1! It is a remarkable achievement.