Skip to main content


Claimants must now wait 20 months to get a disability hearing in North Alabama!  

Last month I was telling my clients it would take about 18 months to get a hearing.  Now, it's taking 20 months.

One year ago, I was telling clients it would take about 15 months to get a hearing.  They are further behind now than then.

Back in 2012, I was telling clients it would take 12 months to get a hearing - and I thought that was bad.

The average processing time in the Florence, AL hearing office (responsible for most hearings in north Alabama) - is 574 days.

 As time goes along, it is taking longer and longer and longer to get a hearing.  

There are about 4,930 appeals pending in the north Alabama (Florence) Office of Hearing Operations.  That office has 7 administrative law judges.  The average judge disposes of 2 cases per day.  This office is not particularly slower than most.  The average waiting time in Alabama is 18.5 months.

Assuming that it takes about 4 months to get a decision on the initial application, then 20 or more months for the appeal-- this makes it at least 24 months for most claimants to get a claim resolved.  Add another 1 to 3 months for payment processing, assuming there is a favorable decision at the hearing.

Can your representative do anything to get you a hearing sooner?  Unfortunately, no.  Hearings are assigned based on the date the appeal was filed.  Claimants, whether represented or not, are not allowed to "cut line" and move ahead of other claimants.  Everyone has to wait in line. 

Any relief insight?  No.  Everyone I talk to seems to believe the problem will get worse, not better.  Problems include lack of funding, availability of staff, hiring freezes and the usual government inability to problem solve.  "A dinosaur with a fire under its tail..."



Popular posts from this blog


I win many Social Security disability cases by showing how my client has trouble with concentration, persistence and pace (CPP).
These issues are not obvious to the casual observer but certainly may qualify for a disability benefit. Under SSR 96-9(p), Social Security considers "work" as the ability to work 8 hours per day, 5 days per week or an equivalent schedule.  CPP issues prevent this and qualify for disability.
CONCENTRATION is the ability to remain focused and on task for at at least 2 hours at a time and to complete an 8-hour workday.  Most workers will be off task about 5 to 9 percent of the workday and this is tolerated.  However, concentration can be hindered by pain, fatigue, depression or other mental health issues.  When a worker is off task more than about 10 percent of the workday on a consistent basis due to one of these medical issues,  they become unemployable.
PERSISTENCE is the ability to report to work and do a job  8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks o…



Why does this poignant motto hang on my office wall?

Because it represents the only way to win your disability claims once it's been denied.  And 7 out of 10 will be denied on the first scrabble.

A disability denial is nothing more than a way to get to a hearing.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Use the denial to move your case up the ladder--onward and upward.

If you need help, call me at the Forsythe Firm (256) 799-0297.

I will never ask for a fee until you win your case AND collect the back pay you are due.  (256) 799-0297.


Bad backs and other musculoskeletal disorders are the most awarded impairments for Social Security disability. 

If you have a spinal or back impairment that is severe, it may qualify for a disability benefit.  You will need objective medical evidence, such as an MRI, to support the claim.

Social Security must also determine in what ways your symptoms limit your ability to perform work activities like sitting, standing, walking, stooping, kneeling, lifting, etc.  This is best determined by getting your doctor to complete a form called a "Medical Source Statement."  This form is available from my office free of charge.

If you would like for us to evaluate your Social Security disability claim (for a back impairment or any other impairment) - please call us at (256) 799-0297.  Consultations are free.