One of the most frequent questions asked by clients is “Why is this taking so long?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is very complicated. When the initial application is filed, typically we receive an answer within 30-90 days. Unfortunately, most cases are denied at the initial level. An appeal must be filed within 60 days after receiving the denial notice. This first appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration (RFR). We usually receive an answer within 90-120 days after filing the RFR. Again, the vast majority of RFRs are denied. We must file an appeal within 60 days after receiving this denial. This second appeal is called a Request for Hearing (RFH). Here is where the “wait” begins. In Florida, the average wait time for a hearing is 17.7 months. The National average is 14.9 months. The Orlando ODAR office is reporting an average of 16 months, Jacksonville 17.5 months, Ft. Lauderdale 18 months, and Tampa 16.5 months (see: http://www.disabilityjudges.com/state/florida). We try everything possible to get cases heard as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this is something that is out of our control. SSA will expedite cases where there is a “dire need” in cases involving a life-threatening illness, receipt of a foreclosure/eviction notice, or proof of homelessness (all must be documented). We take our client’s concerns about the “wait” very seriously and do everything possible to get cases heard as soon as possible. If you have any questions about the hearing process or disability from the SSA, please send us a message or give us a call.

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