Having one’s Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) case denied can be stressful, to say the least. You may already be in physical pain, and now you have to deal with the red tape and delay of a reconsideration request and then an appeal. While it won’t help your physical condition, knowing what to expect going into the appeals process may help ease your mind, even if that information may not be what you had hoped for in terms of speed. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the statistics on hearings in front of Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) in the city of Columbus, Ohio.
DisabilityJudges.com collects and publishes data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), which are the entities that administer the SSDI hearing process. According to this source, as of May 2015, the Columbus ALJ office had 9,214 cases pending. Each of the 14 ALJs in the city disposes of about 2 cases per day, which makes the average processing time for cases before the Columbus office about 467 days. While this is longer than the national average processing time of 445 days, it is a bit shorter than Ohio’s average of 486 days. The average wait time for a hearing in front of an ALJ in Columbus is 15 and-a-half months, or about half a month longer than the state average. The ALJs in Columbus approve about 44% of the cases that come before them, deny 36%, and dismiss about 20%. This approval rate is a little higher than the state average and equal to the average approval rate nationally. The rate of approval can vary greatly from ALJ to ALJ, however. Among the fourteen ALJs who make up the Columbus office, the approval rate varies from 24% at the low end to 68% at the high end. The office conducts about 88% of its hearings in person, and about 12% by video.
So, what can you expect when you file an appeal in Columbus? Well, you will probably have to wait a bit over a year for your hearing. Further, you will probably be able to appear in person, and you will want to hope your case is assigned to a judge that is on the higher end of the approval rate spectrum. It is important to remember, however, that regardless of the ALJ you appear before, a strong case can enhance your chances of receiving benefits due to your inability to work. To help with presenting such a case, you may want to consider contacting an experienced Columbus disability attorney.