Why does it take so long to get a hearing on my Social Security disability/ssi case?

After you apply for Social Security disability benefits or Social Security SSI benefits it is justified to ask “Why does it take so long to get a disability/ssi hearing?” Short answer: there are a lot of cases. Between 09/29/2018 and 01/25/2019 the Tulsa Oklahoma hearing office received 1,101 new cases. The office was able to dispose of 1,481 cases. That means 1,481 people found out whether they were awarded or denied benefits at the ALJ level. This is positive news in that the office processed more claims by people than it received which in theory should reduce the overall wait time. As of January 25, 2019 there are 4,422 cases (people waiting for their hearings) pending. The average case from the time an ALJ hearing was requested and the hearing date was 433 days. How does the wait time for an ALJ hearing compare to other hearing offices?

There are about 9 Administrative Law Judges hearing cases in the Tulsa office. Some of those additionally hear cases in other offices. Considering the ALJ’s or the office were able to give an answer to 1,481 cases in four months is a high caseload.

So when you file your request and ask “Why can’t they get to my case faster?” the short answer is that there may be about 4,422 people in line ahead of you.