Social Security Disability Hearings in Arizona
The online service for the Arizona Daily Star had some interesting statistics regarding disability claims in Arizona. Apparently, the Tuscon, Arizona hearing office (ODAR, office of disability adjudication and review) ranks among the top ten hearing offices in the country.
I would assume that that ranking is based, to some extent, on how quickly disability hearings with administrative law judges are scheduled after they are requested. That doesn't sound bad until you realize that hearings in Arizona are still taking about a year to get to, meaning that, even in one of the most favorable hearing environments, a claimant is likely to endure some fairly severe financial circumstances in the process of getting disability benefits established.
According to the Star, the disability backlog in Arizona now numbers 4,500 cases. Nationally, however, the backlog may reach one million cases by 2010. According to a memo sent out by the current Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Michael Astrue, the agency is at its lowest staffing offices in three decades.
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