Why is SSA Taking So Long?

It can be extraordinarily frustrating waiting on the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make a Determination on your Claim.  Even more so as the Claim progresses from the Initial Application stage, to Reconsideration, and to the Hearing Level.

That said, we often hear the question, “why is my case taking so long?” To be frank, there are a LOT of cases waiting to be adjudicated and heard at the Social Security Administration.

Generally speaking, a case is reviewed on a first in, first out basis.  This is why we always encourage folks to apply for benefits as soon as possible. But, the purpose of this Blog is to share a bit of the statistics and metrics available on the SSA site. We hope it will help provide some context as to why, even after submitting strong medical and opinion evidence, you may still have a wait ahead of you.


Wait Times For SSA

Average time (in months) from the hearing request date until a hearing was held for cases closed in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review’s hearing offices or national hearing centers.

Spokane = 19.0 months (as of December 2015)

Seattle = 12.0 months

Hearing Office Workload – from 9/26/15-12/25/15)


  • Received 507 Requests for Hearings
  • Handled 825 Dispositions
  • 4,473 Cases are Pending at the Hearing Office
  • Average Processing Time is 609 Days

Seattle (More than Spokane win all aspects, except Average Processing Time)

  • Received 1,736 Requests for Hearings
  • Handled 1110 Dispositions
  • 8,981 Cases are Pending at the Hearing Office
  • Average Processing Time is 456 Days

Here’s What You Can Do When Stuck In Appeal Waitlist Limbo

Simply put, there are just a lot of Claims to process right now.  Consequently, hiring an experienced Attorney will help relieve your stress and anxiety about what kind of evidence is necessary and to answer your questions about what to expect at each stage of the process. An Attorney will know the kind of medical evidence you need to support your Claim and to offer you the best possible outcome by setting forth the strongest legal theories available given the facts.

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