The latest statistics for processing times for Social Security hearing offices around the country have been released by the SSA, and reprinted in the July 2011 NOSSCR Social Security Forum newsletter.
In Maine, the average wait for a hearing decision is now 365 days – exactly one year. Processing time runs from the date of the hearing request to the day a decision is issued. The 365 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.
The bottleneck with claims seems to be staffing and budget concerns. I am seeing this in other ODARs as well. There seem to be enough judges to handle the claim volume, but many hours of staff time are required to get a claim ready for hearing, and staff hours are definitely down. The Portland, Maine hearing office has farmed out a small number of claims to other hearing offices to help manage its backlog.
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