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The latest statistics have been released regarding average processing times in the hearing offices around the country. The Portland, Maine ODAR remains #1 in the country with an average processing time of 274 days. This is a remarkable performance, and the hearing office director, judges and staff at the Portland ODAR deserve kudos for this country-leading performance.

As a practical matter, I must point out that 274 days is the average processing time. 274 days is about 9 months. I have claims at the hearing office that were appealed in December and January that have not yet been set for hearing. The Portland office is currently scheduling hearings for November  (because it gives 75 days notice prior to a hearing). So the 9 month time frame is an average. You may have to wait a bit longer. For example, my most recent case set for hearing was appealed on December 18, 2008 and has been set for hearing on November 4th.

In the Manchester, New Hampshire hearing office, the average processing time is 385 days, which ranks #21 in the country. While that seems a lot longer than in Maine, New Hampshire does not have the Reconsideration step, which often takes 4-5 months. As a result, a claim that receives an initial denial in New Hampshire is likely to get to a hearing ahead of a similar claim in the state of Maine.