How long does it take to decide a Social Security disability claim in Maine?
The initial consideration of your claim usually takes 4-5 months.
If your claim is denied, Maine uses an intermediate Reconsideration step in the disability claim process. The Reconsideration process currently takes another 4-5 months in Maine. Most Social Security disability claims are denied again at Reconsideration. Those claims that are appealed from a Reconsideration denial will go to a hearing by an administrative law judge.
In 10 "prototype" states (including New Hampshire), the denied claims that are appealed skip the Reconsideration step of the process and proceed directly to a hearing by an administrative law judge.
The wait time for a hearing varies throughout the country. In Maine, the average processing time at the hearing level is almost 14 months. However, since the Portland hearing office gives 75-day notice of hearings, you should have the date of your hearing within a year of filing your ALJ hearing request.
In summary, that's an everage of 4-5 months for the initial consideration of your claim for disability benefits, 4-5 months for reconsideration, and then 14 months until a decision is written and sent at the hearing level. So two years is now the average time in Maine for a Social Security disability or SSI claim to get from an initial claim to an ALJ decision.
Tip #1: To shorten your wait, appeal a denied claim right away.
Tip #2: Use the time waiting for a hearing to make your disability claim stronger.