There are more than 8 million residents in the State of Illinois. Of these residents, approximately 3.5 percent receive Social Security Disability benefits. There will be thousands of new Illinois Social Security Disability applications this year alone. Of these applications, approximately 70 percent will be denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Unfortunately, the majority of first appeals will be denied as well. In order to obtain the disability benefits that many Illinois Social Security Disability applicants are entitled to, the majority of these disability applicants will need to obtain a disability hearing before an administrative law judge.
While some Illinois Social Security Disability applicants are able to obtain disability benefits in just three or four months, the majority of Illinois Social Security Disability applicants must wait more than a year before seeing their first benefit payment from the SSA. Some applicants will not be approved for disability benefits at all. Depending on where you live in Illinois, it can take anywhere from 423 to 758 days for the SSA to schedule a disability hearing before an administrative law judge. Once you have had your day in court, you will need to wait another 45 to 90 days before receiving notice of the outcome of your disability hearing.
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is the agency that is in charge of scheduling the disability hearings for Social Security Disability applicants. The area of Illinois that you live in will determine which Illinois ODAR office handles your Social Security Disability case and how long you will have to wait for your disability case to be heard by an administrative law judge. The cities and towns in which the ODAR offices for Illinois residents are located and the areas that each ODAR office serves are as follows:
- Chicago, Illinois
- Evanston, Illinois
- Evansville, Indiana
- Oak Brook, Illinois
- Orland Park, Illinois
- Peoria, Illinois
- Valparaiso, Indiana
The ODAR office located in Chicago schedules the Social Security Disability hearings for the Chicago-South, Chicago-West, Chicago-East, Chicago near Southwest, Chicago-Southeast, Chicago-Near Northwest, Chicago-Lawndale, Chicago-Loop, Chicago-Back of the Yards and Chicago-West Town Social Security field offices. The average time it takes for this office to schedule a disability hearing is 488 days.
The Evanston ODAR office serves the Chicago-North, Chicago-Northwest, Evanston, Freeport, Prospect Heights, Rockford, Sterling, Waukegan and Woodstock Social Security field offices. It takes this office an average of 423 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The Evansville ODAR office located in Indiana serves the Carbondale, Effingham, Harrisburg, Mount Vernon and West Frankfort Social Security field offices in Illinois. It takes this office approximately eleven months to schedule a Social Security Disability hearing.
The Oak Brook ODAR office services the Aurora, Bloomingdale, Elgin, Hillside, North Riverside, and Woodridge Social Security field offices. It takes this office an average of 758 days to schedule a disability hearing for Illinois Social Security Disability applicants.
The Orland Park ODAR offices serve the Chicago Heights, Joliet, Kankakee, Palos Hills and Peru Social Security field offices. It takes this office an average of 634 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The Peoria ODAR office services the Bloomington, Champaign, Decatur, Galesburg, Pekin, Peoria, Rock Island and Springfield Social Security field offices. The average processing time for this office is 688 days.
The Valparaiso ODAR office in Indiana serves the Danville Social Security field office in Illinois. It takes the Valparaiso ODAR office an average of nine and a half months to schedule a disability hearing.
Hiring an Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney
Illinois Social Security Disability applicants must wait one to two years before obtaining a hearing before an administrative law judge. Because of this, many applicants wonder if there is any way to avoid the lengthy disability appeal process. While it is not always possible to avoid a denial of an initial Social Security Disability claim, working with a qualified Illinois Social Security Disability attorney may increase your chances of obtaining a favorable decision at the initial stage of the disability application process.
When you retain the services of a qualified Illinois Social Security disability lawyer, your lawyer will work with you to gather the medical evidence that will be needed to prove your disability claim to the SSA. He or she will also ensure that your claim is presented properly to the SSA, increasing your chances of obtaining an approval at the initial stage of the application process. If, for some reason, your application for disability benefits is denied by the SSA, your Illinois Social Security Disability attorney will be able to represent you through the disability appeal process.
Statistics show that applicants who have legal representation through the lengthy and complicated disability appeal process are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who choose to represent themselves. Nearly two-thirds of applicants are awarded benefits during the hearing stage of the disability appeal process. This may be due to the fact that the majority of disability applicants choose to retain qualified legal representation for their hearing before the administrative law judge.
Click here if you would like to learn more about hiring a Illinois Social Security Disability lawyer and to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.