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The new chief administrative law judge of the Portland, Maine Social Security hearing office is Judge Linda J. Helm. Judge Helm transferred to Portland from her previous post at the hearing office in Mobile, Alabama. We welcome her.

Judge Helm was conducting hearings today, and I already have a hearing scheduled with this new judge.

Many clients make first contact with me after receiving a denial letter for an initial application for Social Security disability benefits. It is crucial to appeal the denial of your benefits right away.

After an appeal, the next step in most states (including Maine) is Reconsideration (in New Hampshire, however, disability claims go directly from an

The latest average processing time statistics for Social Security hearing offices around the country were published in the October 2013 Social Security Forum, a newsletter for NOSSCR members. 

The average processing time for the Portland, Maine hearing office is now 377 days, or just over a year. Remember, processing time runs from the date of

The staff at the Maine DDS office has been furloughed due to the federal government shutdown. The Portland Press Herald has the story.

DDS is the state agency that makes Social Security disability determinations at the initial and reconsideration levels of administrative review. Although DDS workers are technically state workers, the federal government reimburses

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

Waiting times continue to shorten in Portland, Maine. The average wait for a hearing decision is now 377 days –

The hearing monitor at a Social Security disability hearing is akin to a court reporter in court. The hearing monitor is present at the hearing, sitting in front of a computer, and manages the digital recording of each Social Security disability hearing. Along with an administrative law judge, hearing monitors are a constant presence in the hearing room.

For as long as I can remember, hearing monitors have been contract employees, coming and going from the hearing office as needed. However, that has changed in the Portland, Maine ODAR, and according to reports, in many hearing offices around the country.

The new hearing monitors are the senior case technicians and case technicians from the hearing office staff. To save money, rather than contract out the hearing monitor assignments, the SSA is using its existing staff to perform the task. 


Continue Reading Hearing Monitors at the Portland Maine Hearing Office

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

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

In Maine, the average wait for a hearing decision is now 412 days. Processing time runs from the date of the hearing request to the day a decision is issued. The 412 days is an average. Some disability claims are resolved more quickly, but a disability or SSI claim that requires a hearing and a