Your Social Security Disability Claim in Orlando – Why is It Taking Forever to get a Hearing?
The “average” time for a Social Security claim to get through the initial application stage, the Request for Reconsideration stage and the Request for Hearing Stage is allegedly 425 days in Florida. The reality is that the wait is more than 547 days and as long as 730 days.
Regardless of the number it is too long!
The Orlando ODAR Office in Social Security Disability Claims
Did you know that the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) Has eight different offices in Florida where Social Security disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income hearings(SSI) are held?
One of the locations is in Orlando at the Glenridge Building located at 3505 Lake Lynda Drive, Suite 300. The phone number is 407-380-2345.
There are 20 judges, known as Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) in that office, with an average hearing wait time of 10 months. Each judge issues an average of 2.1 cases per day.
This ODAR office service claims from Kissimmee, Leesburg, Ocala, Orlando, and Lake Mary.
The Orlando ALJ’s has a reputation for conducting fair and impartial decisions. They are not bound by the earlier claim denials issued by Disability Determination Services (a state agency). The ALJ’s can apply the 5-Step Sequential Evaluation used by the Social Security Administration and come to an independent decision on your claim.
The Delay in Getting A Hearing In Orlando On Your Social Security Case
The reason for the delay starts at DDS where your initial application and request for reconsideration are reviewed. Unfortunately, because of COVID the caseload backlog got even worse. This was complicated by staff leaving for higher wages which resulted in fewer staff at the Orlando DDS office to make a decision on claim.
If your claim is denied at both the initial application and Request for Reconsideration stages, you must file a Request for a Hearing before an ALJ. This Request for Hearing moves your file from DDS to ODAR, where the ALJ’s and their staff is housed.
The ALJ’s staff is responsible for preparing your claim for the hearing and scheduling the hearing. Once again staffing issues impact how long it takes to get a hearing. The lack of staff, the lack of funding to hire and train new staff and the time it takes to train staff all contribute to the delay in getting a hearing.
What You Should Do While Waiting for a Hearing
If you haven’t hired an attorney at this stage of your Social Security claim, you should do so because having an attorney will statistically increase the likelihood that you will get your Social Security disability benefits. Our ING/Reliastar Disability Claims lawyer is also available to assist you.
An experienced Social Security disability attorney will interview you, review your medical records and work history, and develop a strategy to win your case. They may request additional updated medical records, suggest you get additional treatment, and suggest that you obtain medical questionnaire forms known as residual functional capacity forms that can make all the difference in your case.
As your hearing date approaches, your attorney will prepare a memorandum of law for the ALJ explaining why you meet the five-step sequential evaluation and are entitled to your disability benefits.
Of course, they should prepare you for the hearing and be present with you during the course of the hearing. It takes a team to get your Social Security disability benefits at every stage of your Social Security claim. Call Cavey Law at 727-894-3188 for a complimentary consultation.