Indiana is home to nearly four million residents. Of these four million residents, approximately 4.6 percent receive Social Security Disability benefits. Each year, thousands more will apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the State of Indiana. Unfortunately, nearly 70 percent of initial disability applications are denied. The Indiana Social Security Disability applicants who are not approved for disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process must then go on to file a Request for Reconsideration, which is the first stage of the disability appeal process. Fewer than 20 percent of these requests are granted by the SSA, resulting in the need for a disability hearing before an administrative law judge.
Fortunately, nearly two-thirds of Indiana Social Security Disability applicants are awarded benefits at the hearing stage of the disability appeal process. The bad news is that it can take some Indiana Social Security Disability applicants more than a year and a half to obtain a hearing before an administrative law judge. In the State of Indiana, it can take anywhere from 490 to 545 days to be scheduled for a disability hearing. It then takes another two to three months to receive notice regarding the outcome of the hearing and to find out whether or not the administration law judge presiding over your case decided in your favor.
The area of Indiana that you live in is what determines how long you must wait to obtain a disability hearing. This is due to the fact that the SSA's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is in charge of scheduling hearings and each ODAR office has a backlog of Social Security Disability appeals. Each state has multiple ODAR offices handling the disability claims for specific Social Security field offices. The ODAR offices in the State of Indiana and the field offices that each ODAR office serves are as follows:
The ODAR office located in Cincinnati, Ohio is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field office in Madison, Indiana. It takes this office an average of fifteen months to schedule a disability hearing for Indiana Social Security Disability applicants.
The Evansville ODAR office is responsible for managing the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Evansville and Vincennes. It takes this office an average of 541 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The Fort Wayne ODAR office services the Social Security field offices in Auburn, Elkhart, Fort Wayne and Marion. It takes this office an average of 490 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The Indianapolis ODAR office serves the Social Security field offices in Anderson, Bloomington, Columbus, Indianapolis Downtown, Indianapolis Northeast, Indianapolis West, Kokomo, Muncie and Richmond. It takes this office an average of 545 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The Valparaiso ODAR office manages the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Crawfordsville, Gary, Hammond, Lafayette, Merrillville, Michigan City, South Bend, Terre Haute and Valparaiso. It takes this office an average of nine-and-a-half months to schedule a disability hearing.
Hiring an Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney
No one likes the idea of waiting for more than a year to receive the disability benefits they need. Because of this, many Indiana Social Security Disability applicants hope to find ways to avoid the lengthy and complicated disability appeal process. They wonder if there is any way to increase their chances of obtaining an approval at the initial stage of the disability claim process. The fact of the matter is, working with a qualified Indiana Social Security Disability attorney may increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits during the initial application stage, thereby avoiding the need to undergo a stressful disability appeal.
When you hire an Indiana disability attorney to represent you in your disability case, he or she will work with you to prepare your disability application. Your attorney will review your disability case with you and will help you gather the medical evidence that will be needed to support your disability claim. Your Indiana Social Security Disability lawyer will also work with you to ensure that your application is prepared properly so that it can be submitted in the best possible light to the SSA. If, for some reason, your initial disability application is denied by the SSA, your Indiana Social Security Disability attorney can represent you through your disability appeal and can help you prepare for your hearing before an administrative law judge.
If your initial application for disability benefits has been denied and you are not yet working with an Indiana Social Security Disability lawyer, you should consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible. You only have 60 days from the date you receive the SSA's decision to deny your benefits to file an appeal. While you are allowed to represent yourself during the appeal process, your chances of being awarded benefits are statistically higher with qualified legal representation.
If you would like to learn more about hiring an Indiana Social Security Disability attorney, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.