Social Security Inspector General Report: Overall Disability Claim Times for 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jonathan Lasher
Phone: (410) 965-2671
 
The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued a report this week that found the average overall claim times during 2009 decreased for Disability Determination Services (DDS)-level cases, remained about the same for hearing-level cases, and increased for Appeals Council- and Federal Court-level cases.
 
If a person files for disability benefits and then disagrees with the initial decision, he or she may request up to three levels of appeal: (1) reconsideration by the DDS, (2) hearing by an administrative law judge, and (3) review by the Appeals Council. If the claimant is still dissatisfied, he or she may appeal to the Federal Courts.
 
The table below shows the average overall times for disability claims completed during 2006 and 2009. This is the time it takes from the date of application to the date of denial or the date SSA paid the benefits due (including any back payments).
 
Office of the Inspector General's Measure of Average Overall Claim Time 
Calendar Year DDS Initial DDS Reconsideration Hearing Office Appeals Council Federal Courts
2006 131 days 279 days 811 days 1,053 days 1,720 days
2009 119 days 263 days 812 days 1,164 days 1,895 days
 
For example, a claimant filed an application in July 2006, which the DDS denied. The claimant then requested a reconsideration, which the DDS also denied. In September 2007, the claimant requested a hearing by an administrative law judge (ALJ), who allowed the claim in February 2009. In March 2009, SSA initiated payment and issued the back payments due. It took about 2.5 years to process this claim completely, and over 1 year to process the claim from the hearing request date to the ALJ decision date.
 
To view the full report, click here, or for additional information, contact Jonathan Lasher, Assistant Inspector General for External Relations, at (410) 965-2671. Refer to Common Identification Number A-01-10-10168.