September 2009


The recession is causing a big jump in Social Security Disability filings.

Many states are seeing the already long waits for a case to be decided to be increased even more.

The Commissioner of Social Security is predicting the problem will get worse, and is blaming some of the judges for not deciding enough cases.

So far in Central Illinois, this has been a good year for case backlogs. The Peoria Hearing Office has really moved hearings through the pipeline. Some cases are getting to hearing in less than 18 months.

This is probably due to stable filing levels, as I blogged in an earlier post, Illinois has not seen a dramatic jump in disability filings.

It also the result of increased hiring, and an efficient office.

Someone famous once said “90 percent of life is showing up”. This applies to Social Security Disability too.

If you do not apply, you cannot get Social Security Disability.

It does not cost anything to file.

No attorney fees unless you win, and then it applies to back benefits only.

You never know what the Judge will do. I have seen cases that I did not think would have much of a chance, be approved at the hearing.

You never know the vocational expert will say. I have seen vocational experts testify in amazing ways. If you know what questions to ask you can take advantage of it.

The bottom line is show up and be prepared; life is always surprising.

I have done a number of things as a lawyer over the last 25 years, but I really enjoy helping people who are no longer able to work get their Social Security Disability.

Here are some of the reasons I enjoy it so much:

I like helping people solve problems;

People need the money when they can no longer work;

The medical care that comes when you get Social Security Disability is very important;

You have your Social Security Disability for the rest of your life;

The puzzle of fitting the law, medical and job information together is challenging and often fascinating.

Do you need help with your Social Security Disability claim? Call me, Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May, at 309-827-4371.

It is still taking 18 to 24 months to get a Social Security Disability hearing in Central Illinois.

Nothing is going to speed this up short of more judges and support staff.

Social Security schedules the hearings and tells your lawyer the date to show up.

This is unlike many other court proceedings where the parties tell the judge when they are ready for trial.

Your attorney cannot get you an earlier date.

Sometimes your congressperson or United States Senator can ask for an expedited hearing. This may or may not speed up your hearing. It just depends on what the judge wants to do. I have also seen this back fire. In other words, the judge gets mad and you get an early hearing. However, he punishes you for butting in line.