Question: How long does it take to get a decision after a Social Security disability hearing?
Answer: At the moment, in North Carolina, about one to two months in most cases.
Notice that I said “in North Carolina”, that I said “at the moment” and that I said that this applies to “most cases.”
There are significant variations within North Carolina. There are huge variations around the country.
These things change over time. If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I might have said something different. Ask me in another couple of years from now and there’s no telling what I”ll say since conditions are likely to be different then.
I say “most cases” because there’s at least a couple of things that could make it take a lot longer. First, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) could have trouble making up his or her mind. That happens only rarely but it does happen. I’ve seen an ALJ sit on a case for more than six months. In fact, I’ve seen that recently. Second, the ALJ or your attorney could decide to do some “post-hearing development.” Maybe all the medical evidence hasn’t arrived at my office by the day of the hearing. We don’t put it off. We just ask for time after the hearing to submit the new medical evidence. That new medical evidence could arrive almost immediately or it could take many weeks. We keep prodding the medical sources to get on the ball but some of them delay terribly. Second, the ALJ could decide to request a medical exam at Social Security’s expense. That can take two or three months.
It’s important to have an attorney who has his or her finger on the pulse of your local Social Security hearing offices. That’s what we try to do.