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How long might one wait for SSDI hearing in New Jersey?

On this blog, we have previously discussed various parts of the application process for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. We have talked about various kinds of evidence that may be required, what some of the key terms and concepts are in how the Social Security Administration evaluates applications, and the definitions for certain conditions that are considered disabling. But what happens when an application is denied by the SSA case worker, and a request for reconsideration is also unsuccessful?

In these cases, which happen with enough frequency to be a decent possibility for many applicants, an appeal may be lodged. This appeal will be heard by a person known as an "Administrative Law Judge" (ALJ). These judges work in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), and in northern New Jersey are coordinated out of Newark. While the rate of approval before ALJs is, on the whole, higher than that before SSA case workers in the first stage of the process, there are some variables that should be taken into account.

First, the rate of approval of appeals can vary greatly depending on the judge assigned to hear the case. According to a website that tracks ODAR statistics, there are 12 ALJs whose approval rates range from a high of 63 percent to a low of 20 percent. As can be seen, one's chances of being approved can depend greatly upon who hears the case.

Second, the amount of time it takes for ODAR to complete its work can be lengthy. In Newark, the average wait time to get a hearing in a disability appeal is 17 months. This is about two months longer than the national average. So, a denied applicant may be waiting almost a year-and-a-half to find out if he or she will receive benefits after being denied by SSA.

Considering the lengthy wait, it may be in an applicant's best interest to consider contacting an experienced New Jersey disability attorney. There are many rules that must be adhered to, and a certain way to present evidence to maximize chances of SSDI approval.

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