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What Happens When You Make a Social Security Claim?

July 22, 2021

Social Security wait times can be painful. We understand that and we try hard to make the process move faster for our clients.

One of the things my clients are most frustrated by is the sheer amount of time SSA takes to make disability decisions in cases. I want to explain what we see happening and what we try to do to make our client’s case move faster. Waiting for help from Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income is never fun and we do our best to try to get the process to move faster.

When Social Security first gets a claim they have documentation requirements of their own. We try to anticipate what they may need for a certain case and provide it up front or as fast as we can once we learn that they are waiting for something. For example, when we have a client who gets sick and then tries to work again but does not succeed, we know SSA will want an explanation of that after disability work activity. We talk our client through filling out a work activity report form and get it into SSA as fast as possible.

We also tell all our clients that they need to review the print out of their application and sign it and return it to SSA in the locally addressed reply envelope. We have had clients who for whatever reason do not appreciate that this is required and they do not send the application back quickly. All that does is delay the start of their claim being evaluated. We have even had client sit on the application so long SSA denies the claim for not co-operating. Don’t be that person! It just takes a few minutes to review the application, sign it and send it back.

Other forms that our clients get from SSA have an out of State return envelope and those are best returned to our office because we can upload the form directly to our client’s file saving them time in the processing of their SSA disability application.

Initial Consideration denials of disability claims happen for many applicants in Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama and North Carolina. When a denial comes to us; our office races to file the appeal. Social Security gives you 65 days to file the appeal from the date it is dated, but our staff really try to get the appeal filed within a day or two of our getting it. If you get a denial call into the office immediately so we can get going on your appeal. Our number is 423-757-9500. The second step of the Social Security disability process is called Reconsideration. The chances of approval at Reconsideration are actually lower than your chances at Initial consideration. Only about 10% of claims get approved at Reconsideration. Again, if you get a denial at Reconsideration Social Security gives 65 days from the date of the denial to file the appeal and we don’t want to use many of those days at all.

By working with our firm and getting the appeals filed fast after initial and reconsideration denials we can save you about four months of delay in the time your Social Security Disability claim takes to get to the hearing where the chances for approval get much better!

Delay at the hearing offices is another problem for our clients. Social Security shows the following delay to get hearings by month for some of the following hearing offices where we most often represent clients. If you don’t see your hearing office listed don’t assume we can’t help you with your Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income claim, because the process is a Federal system we can represent clients in any part of the country. The cities listed below are the ones we can most easily travel to for court but we have certainly taken cases for clients in other places like, Colorado, California, New York, New Jersey and other places. The full list of hearing office wait times can be found on Social Security’s web site here: Average Wait Time Until Hearing Held Report | Public Data Files (

Hearing offices with a 10 month delay to get a hearing include: Birmingham, Alabama, Buffalo, New York, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Dallas, Texas, Greensboro, North Carolina, Greenville, South Carolina, Knoxville, Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky, Mobile, Alabama, Nashville, Tennessee, Paducah, Kentucky, and Savanna, Georgia.

Hearing offices with a 9 month delay to get a hearing include: Atlanta, Georgia (downtown), Florence, Alabama, Raleigh, North Carolina, and St. Petersburg, Florida.

Atlanta, Georgia (Northern office) faces a 8.5 month delay.

The following cities come in at an 8 month delay: Charleston, South Carolina, Dallas, Texas (North office), Franklin, Tennessee, Lexington, Kentucky, Memphis, Tennessee, Rochester, New York, and Tampa, Florida.

Clients with cases in Charlotte, North Carolina are looking at a 7 month wait while those in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Orlando, Florida wait about 6 months to get their Social Security Disability hearings.

While I am most often in Tennessee hearing offices, I enjoy going to hearings around the Nation as often the judges who don’t know me as well are complementary of my presentations of cases. There are some lawyers who do this work who don’t spend much time preparing their client for what to expect at the hearing and some of them don’t even bother to file a brief with the court asking the judge to rule in favor of the client. I always spend time preparing my client for the hearing and file a brief explaining the way I would like the Social Security Hearing Judge to rule. Judges don’t always agree with everything I ask of them, but they do appreciate the effort. Use the contact us form on this web site or call my office toll free to set a time to talk about your situation and if a Social Security Disability claim or appeal is the right thing for your situation. 1-877-966-1212 toll free.