Average Hearing Office Processing Time: 2019 vs. 2020

Submitted by kdm on Fri, 02/05/2021 - 12:28

2020 was a difficult year for everyone and there is no doubt that as a Social Security Disability attorney you are facing the effects of the pandemic on your business. However, there is a glimmer of hope to come out of all of the chaos -- the average processing time for a Social Security disability claim decreased 25% (502 days to 390 days) from 2019 to 2020. While there were less dispositions overall, it seems that the switch from in-person to completely virtual hearings helped to speed up the process for many hearing offices across the country.*

In September of 2020, the SSA posted a press release addressing this switch and the resulting convenience to those seeking disability benefits. The press release states, "'The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of finding new ways to serve the public,' said Commissioner of Social Security Andrew Saul. 'For over a decade, the agency has used video hearings to get applicants their hearing decisions sooner. This advancement builds on that effort, making it easier and more convenient to attend a hearing remotely, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue to ensure all participants' safety, we expect online video hearings and telephone hearings will be the only two hearing options for the foreseeable future.'"* Clearly the SSA has realized the increased efficiency that has resulted from a fully virtual hearing process and will likely continue offering this moving forward.

With that said, we have compiled a list of the top 20 Hearing Offices that had the quickest processing times in 2020:

Rank Hearing Office 2018 - 2019 Average Processing Time 2019-2020 Average Processing Time % Change
1 HOUSTON NORTH 294 257 -12.59%
2 FRANKLIN TN 418 264 -36.84%
3 EVANSVILLE 449 272 -39.42%
4 OMAHA 417 277 -33.57%
5 COLUMBIA SC 409 283 -30.81%
6 HATTIESBURG 441 284 -35.60%
6 SAN ANTONIO 335 284 -15.22%
7 CHARLOTTESVILLE 473 291 -38.48%
7 PHILADELPHIA 425 291 -31.53%
8 LOUISVILLE 528 296 -43.94%
9 FLINT 447 298 -33.33%
9 PORTLAND ME 370 298 -19.46%
10 GRAND RAPIDS 460 303 -34.13%
11 LITTLE ROCK 439 306 -30.30%
12 MADISON 496 308 -37.90%
13 TOLEDO OH 410 312 -23.90%
14 RALEIGH 512 314 -38.67%
15 CHARLESTON SC 495 315 -36.36%
16 MILWAUKEE 475 316 -33.47%
17 SEVEN FIELDS 462 317 -31.39%

Given the speed of the average processing time and the dip in overall claims filed, there has never been a better time to increase your caseload. Give us a call at 617.800.0089 to learn more about our Social Security disability leads and set your firm up for success in 2021!

*https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/archive/05_FY2020/05_September_Average_Processing_Time_Report.html

*https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/archive/05_FY2019/05_September_Average_Processing_Time_Report.html

*https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/2020/#9-2020-1