In my experience with Colorado Social Security cases, hearings are usually scheduled approximately 12-14 months after the appeal is filed. That is the most common time frame that I see for having a hearing scheduled.
However, I occasionally see cases scheduled as early as six months after the appeal (this is pretty rare), and sometimes as late as 18 months.
This is a long time! For most people there is a real question of how they are going to make ends meet while waiting for their case to go in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
However, it is important to try to make the best use of this time:
- Obtain treatment,
- Develop documentation of conditions (including symptoms, severity, and response to treatment), and
- Develop medical opinions of your abilities and limitations.
When you add the 12 to 18 months it normally takes for your case to go in front of a judge, with the 4 to 6 months it takes for Social Security to make the initial decision in your case, you are looking at anywhere from 16 to 24 months from the time you file your application to the time your case it goes in front of a judge.
Because it often takes two years to get your case in front of a judge, it is important that your case is in as good a shape as possible. Because if you are denied, and have to reapply, you may be looking at another two years before you get another chance with a judge.