The current national wait time from disability application until hearing before an administrative law judge is still around a year and a half.
As long as the wait is for a hearing, sometimes claimants get even worse news just before they finally go in front of a judge: their hearing has been cancelled and they’ll have to wait even longer to go in front a judge.
Probably the most common reason hearings are cancelled, especially this time of year in the Midwest, is the weather. There’s just too much snow on the ground or it’s too cold for everyone who needs to get there to make it to a hearing.
Sometimes there are technical issues with the recording equipment, or a pipe bursts in the hearing office, or the electricity goes out.
Occasionally, a judge or attorney will take ill at the last minute. One time, I had a judge tell me she was very sorry, but she had simply run out of time to review the file the day before and she felt it would be in my client’s best interest to continue the hearing.
The good news is that if your hearing is cancelled for reasons outside of your control, it’s not held against you, and the wait for the rescheduled hearing is going to be significantly shorter.
Often, a judge will ask that you sign a waiver so that Social Security isn’t required to give you a 75 day notice period before your next hearing.
In some cases, that means that a hearing can be rescheduled in just one or two weeks if a judge is available and finds an opening on their docket.
Other times, the wait might be an additional month or two. Sometimes it’s a little bit longer than that.
Regardless, whether the hearing cancellation is caused by weather, illness, or some other unforeseen circumstance, it’s almost always in your interest to accept the delay so that Social Security is prepared to fully hear your case.