The current average wait time for an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing at the Sacramento Office of Disability Adjudication and Review is 16 months. When you receive the denial on your Request for Reconsideration and request a hearing expect a wait. Although its extremely frustrating to have to wait know that statistically your best chance for approval is at the ALJ level. Use this time to prepare your case.
- Continue to visit your doctor(s) on a regular basis and take your medication(s) if any as directed. If your doctor has ordered diagnostic testing, be sure to follow through. Diagnostic testing like CT scans, MRIs, blood work, may provide medical evidence of your disability.
- Talk to your doctor(s) about writing a statement or completing a Residual Functional Capacity form describing your limitations (i.e. standing/walking/sitting/lifting and more).
- Collect and submit all relevant medical records from one year prior to your disability to the present to Social Security.
- If you don’t already have an attorney starting interviewing local attorneys who have
experience representing claimants in Social Security Disability claims. A good Social Security attorney will collect the medical evidence and prepare your case for hearing which may include a legal brief. An attorney will also prepare you to testify at the hearing and try to help you feel less anxious going in.
Clients often ask if there is something I can do to speed up their hearing. There are very limited circumstances when Social Security will expedite a hearing. These are called Critical Cases and are outlined in the Hallex. https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/hallex/I-02/I-2-1-40.html