Where should I file my disability claim?

Social Security DisabilitySSA is a federal program and the rules do not vary state to state, but the approval rates and even the time it takes to get your case heard, vary greatly by region, state and hearing office. There are just parts of our country where the Judges tend to be more liberal or conservative or blue collar or white collar and this carries over to their decisions because they are human beings who are influenced by their personal beliefs.

The hearing offices are divided into 10 Regions with Regions 1 (North East Coast) and 6 (Dallas/Arkansas/Louisiana) typically having some of the fastest case processing times, while Regions 2 (New York) and 4 (Miami) typically have the slowest. The variance is an average difference of over a year difference.

However, New York and Miami also have high award rates, while Dallas and the North East have much lower award rates. So you get more denials, but more quickly, or you wait longer and have a better chance of winning your case.

The good news is, if your case is denied in the New York or Miami areas, your chances of winning on appeal is better than average, because the reviewing body, the Appeals Council, finds more legal errors in decisions made by these regions than most others. So, you may win on appeal down the road, having it remanded and wind up taking as long as it would have taken in the other regions to get a favorable decision the first go round.

Given the whole picture, it does appear to be closer to even way down the line, the question is, would you rather fight or sit and wait to get your benefits.

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