Social Security Disability Process in NEPA Can Take Up to Two Years
Northeast Pennsylvania residents applying for Social Security Disability Benefits often have to wait up to two years until they receive any benefits. This is if they even win their case. The most recent statistics indicate that the average individual who is appealing the denial of their initial claim by the State Office of Disability Determination (ODD) must wait 16 months until they can have their case heard by an Administrative Law Judge at the Wilkes-Barre Social Security Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). So if you include the time it takes your local Social Security Office to open and initiate your case and the time it takes the State ODD to get your medical records and review them and make a decision, you could be close to to two years. Again, this is assuming you even win your case.
We don't have it so bad though, relatively speaking. We could live in places like Philadelphia, Tallahassee, Fayettville, Chatanooga, Milwaukee, and the Bronx. If you live there and need to appeal your claim you almost assuredly are reaching the two year mark and maybe even going beyond it. The Wilkes-Barre ODAR Office is just six tenths of a month behind the national average for all ODAR Offices, which is now 15.4 months. Also in some dire cases where an individual applying is homeless or has some presumptive disease or condition, there is a process whereby the hearing can be moved up somewhat.
As I've written before depending on your individual case it may be to your benefit that there is such a long waiting time. It gives your Attorney more time to build up your medical records and to get to know you better. This is especially the case if you have had inconsistent and/or not complete treatement due to lack of insurance or other reasons. The better your Attorney knows you the better they can represent you.