What Does it Mean? When Can I Expect to Hear from the SSA?
During the long wait between the initial denial and hearing, the SSA will periodically send out letters requesting updated medical and work information. The information requested is duplicative and providing this information multiple times can be frustrating. Moreover, the SSA will not do anything with the information you submit – in fact, no one reviews the information.
Below, we have detailed the purpose of the letters and expected timeframe. Viner Disability Law carefully tracks all data points of the disability process and therefore can estimate the expected times between the letters, and ultimately the hearing. Thankfully, there is a strong trend of decreasing SSDI / SSI wait times!
- Acknowledgment of Request for Hearing
The acknowledgment of your hearing request will arrive about thirty (30) days after the filing of the request for hearing. The letter will acknowledge that an appeal has been filed and will request certain information. Specially, the letter will request where you have received medical care, current medications, and any work activity recently performed. I refer to the three letters as the ‘trifecta’ because they almost always are sent together. Frustratingly, you have literally just provided this information to the SSA when you filed the request for hearing.
The acknowledgment of request for hearing will also explain how the SSA occasionally uses video telecommunications technology (VTC) to conduct hearings. The letter will explain how this might speed up your hearing if you do not object to having your judge appear via video. This is misleading. There is no appreciable difference in the wait time between an in-person hearing and a hearing conducted via VTC. Moreover, the SSA only utilizes video conference hearings when the claimant lives in a remote location.
I recommend objecting to the video hearing by checking the box, signing, and mailing to the address specified in the acknowledgement letter. There are advantages of an in-person hearing where the judge can clearly see you and gain a better understanding of your daily life.
- Proposed Exhibits Are Ready to Review
Almost a year later, the SSA will mail out a letter stating that proposed exhibits are ready to review and requesting the trifecta of personal information again (recent medical care, medications, work activity). The letter is primarily to let the attorney know that the case documents have been exhibited and the hearing will be scheduled soon. Below is the average time between a request for hearing application and the ‘proposed exhibits’ letter in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
- For request for hearings (appeals) filed in 2016, the average time for the ‘proposed exhibits’ letter to arrive was 306.2 days from the date of the appeal.
- For request for hearings filed in 2017, the average time for the ‘proposed exhibits’ letter to arrive was 248.9 days.
- For request for hearings filed in 2018, the average time for the ‘proposed exhibits’ letter to arrive was 183.75 days.
Thankfully, the hearing will be scheduled soon after the proposed exhibit letter arrives.
- Hearing Scheduled
Finally, after more than a year, the SSA will schedule the hearing and mail the ‘hearing scheduled’ letter detailing the hearing date, time and location. Once again, SSA will request the trifecta of personal information. SSA will request you acknowledge the hearing by checking the box, signing and mailing to the address specified in the letter.
The time between the proposed exhibits letter and the hearing scheduled letter is decreasing.
- In 2017, the average time between the proposed exhibits letter and hearing scheduled was 123.11 days.
- In 2018, the average time between the proposed exhibits letter and hearing scheduled was 49.06 days.
As you can see, there has been an almost 2.5 month decrease in the wait times in 2018. Hopefully this trend will continue.
If you have questions about the SSA disability process please call the attorneys at Viner Disability Law. Call now – (720) 515-9012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org