Practice Concentrated

in Social Security Disability Law

Update on Chicago Social Security Hearings and How to Encourage a Review of your Case

Published on January 28th, 2011

The Social Security Administration has recently released updated information as to the time it takes to receive a decision at the hearing level. These statistics are current as of January 28, 2011.

The North Suburban Evanston office now ranks 23rd nationally out of 157 offices, with an average processing time of 298 days. The West Suburban Oak Brook office takes 404 days and ranks 110th. The Chicago office is close behind at 411 days and ranks 114th. The Orland Park hearing office is 118th with a processing time of 413 days. All of these statistics demonstrate an improvement over the statistics of six months earlier.

The main reason why it is taking less time for a hearing and decision is the usage of Attorney Advisors at the hearing level. Hearing office Senior Attorneys have the authority to screen cases to see if the case can be paid. This avoids the need for a hearing which frees up the docket for more difficult cases to be heard.

This is evident in our internal statistics. In the month of February 2011, we received 29 final decisions. Twenty-six of these decisions were approvals and only three were denials. Of the 26 approvals, two were issued at the initial level. No cases were allowed at Reconsideration and eight claims were allowed by Attorney Advisors. The rest were allowed by Administrative Law Judges.

What makes a case more attractive for an on the Record approval by an Attorney Advisor: Documentation of the impairment’s severity and ongoing treatment. An Attorney Advisor will rarely approve a case is the Claimant is not receiving treatment on a regular basis. As explained elsewhere on this site, the Social Security Administration reviews treatment records very carefully to ensure that the disabling conditions continue to be severe. Of course, the mere subjective complaints of a Claimant will not be enough to persuade an Attorney Advisor to allow a case. There must be objective evidence to support the reported symptoms. This is why we urge our clients to get updated testing to help demonstrate the severity of their impairments.

I am so happy! Thank you for helping me with my case. You made everything go so smoothly. No I know why you are 'number one' in Chicago. I will surely send qualified friends and family your way when they need your help. Thanks again.

Suzanne K.