The news for people applying for Social Security Disability and SSI and waiting for a hearing continues to worsen in terms of wait times for hearings and percentage of people awarded disability. Just a few months ago, in May of 2014, I posted the latest information on wait times and approval rates. Things have worsened since then!
The national average processing time for claims before the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review is up to 397 days, which is up seven days since May of 2014, and up from 372 in December of 2013. Nationally, the average approval rate has remained at 44% though this is down from 46% in December of 2013).
In Tennessee, the average processing time has increased to 427 days from 419 in May, 407 days in February, and 388 days in December of 2013 with 49% of cases being approved. The approval rate has dropped from 50% in February of 2014 and 53% in December of 2013.
In terms of averages for local offices, Middlesboro is holding steady at 377 days (up from 366 days in February) with 43% of cases being approved (down from 45% approved). The Kingsport ODAR is still the fastest in terms of processing time with an average of 344 days (down from 346 days in May, but up from 326 days in December of 2013) with 59% of cases being approved. Chattanooga has increased to 458 days, which is up from 443 in May, 429 in February, and 390 days in December. The Chattanooga ODAR is at 56% of cases approved. The Knoxville ODAR is up to 487 days average processing time (up from 474 in May, 457 days in February, and 406 days in December) with 45% of cases being approved. The Knoxville approval rates continue their rapid and steady decline. In May of 2014, 48% of claims were approved and that was down from 53% in December. Unfortunately, these numbers confirm that on a whole the average processing times are going up everywhere while the percentage of case approved by Administrative Law Judges continues to decline.
The hearing office staff work hard and understand the frustrations of the claimants and representatives, but they are hamstrung by the workload and budgetary restraints.
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI matter, personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), EEOICPA claim, long or short-term disability, VA disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611, through Facebook, or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.