My periodic summary and review of hearing office wait times and approval rates for Social Security Disability and SSI shows the bad news continues. Just since October of 2014, the national average processing time for claims before the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review is up 16 days to 421 days, which is up from 397 days in July, 390 days in May of 2014, and up from 372 in December of 2013. Nationally, the average approval rate has remained at 44% since July though this is down from 46% in December of 2013.
In Tennessee, the average processing time has increased to 455 day from 433 days in October, 427 days in July, 419 in May of 2014, 407 days in February, and 388 days in December of 2013. The statewide average of cases approved is back down to 49%, which is down from 53% in December of 2013.
In terms of averages for local offices, Middlesboro is up to 388 days, which is up 10 days from July and up two days from July with 44% of cases being approved (down from 45% approved in May of 2014).
The Kingsport ODAR is still the best performing Tennessee hearing office. The average time is down to 335 days from 341 days October, which is a decrease from 344 days in July and 346 days in May. However, these numbers are still above the historic average for this top performing hearing office. The Kingsport hearing office has an average of 57% cases approved, which is down from 58% in October and 59% in July of 2014.
Chattanooga has increased to 503 days! This is up from 472 days in October, 458 days in July of 2014, 429 in February, and 390 days in December of 2013. The Chattanooga ODAR is up to 58% cases approve, which is an increase from 55% in October and 56% in July of 2014.
The Knoxville ODAR average processing time continues to increase. The latest numbers show an average of 537 days up 40 days from just October, which was an increase from 487 days in July, 474 in May, 457 days in February, and 406 days in December. The Knoxville average approval rate dropped to 44% down from 46% in October. These numbers are historically low for Knoxville. In December of 2013, the Knoxville ODAR was at 53%. 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.