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The latest statistics for processing times for Social Security hearing offices around the country have been released by the SSA, and reprinted in the January 2012 NOSSCR Social Security Forum newsletter.

In Maine, the average wait for a hearing decision is now 392 days – just about 13 months. This is a slight improvement over the waiting time of 412 days that I reported four months ago. The Portland, Maine hearing office continues to farm out some of its claims to nearby hearing offices to help manage its backlog. The claims that are being transferred to other hearing offices seem to be claims that will be scheduled for video hearings in Bangor or Augusta. If you live nearer to Bangor or Augusta than Portland, there is a distinct possibility that your video hearing will be with a judge outside of Maine.

Processing time runs from the date of the hearing request (which is the appeal of a Reconsideration denial) to the day a decision is issued. The 392 days is an average. Some disability claims are resolved more quickly, but a Social Security disability claim that requires a hearing and a lengthy written decision may take longer.