A Social Security disability or SSI claim has a timeline that can vary from state to state.
The initial consideration of your claim usually takes 4-5 months. If your claim is denied and you appeal, the next step depends upon where you live. 40 states, including Maine, use an intermediate Reconsideration step in the claim process. The 10 "prototype" states, which include the state of New Hampshire, send claims that are appealed after an initial denial directly to a hearing by an administrative law judge.
For states with Reconsideration, that process usually takes another 4-5 months. Claims that are denied at Reconsideration and are appealed will go to a hearing with a U.S. administrative law judge.
The wait time for a hearing varies dramatically in different regions of the country. In Maine, the average processing time is just about 11 months. In New Hampshire, the wait for a hearing is about 14 months. In other parts of the country, average claim processing times may be longer, and can be as long as 21 months. You can check the average processing time for each of the Social Security hearing offices.
To speed up the disability claim process, complete and return all necessary forms to Social Security quickly, so that your claim is not delayed while the SSA is waiting for your paperwork. Also, be sure to appeal your denied claim right away.