The latest statistics for processing times for Social Security hearing offices around the country have been released by the SSA, and reprinted in the May 2011 NOSSCR newsletter. In Maine, the average wait for a hearing decision is now 381 days. This is a month longer than it was last year, and the hearing office has farmed out a small number of claims to other hearing offices to help manage its backlog.
Processing time runs from the date of the hearing request to the day a decision is issued. The 381 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.
In New Hampshire, the Manchester hearing office has an average processing time of 343 days. This is an improvement of over two months since last year for that hearing office, which has been aggressive about reducing its wait time. Further, there is no Reconsideration level of review in New Hampshire; denied disability claims that are appealed go directly to the hearing level. So a claim from start to finish in New Hampshire is much quicker than in Maine.