The majority of my cases are in the Columbia, SC Social Security office, though I also have many in the Charleston office. The Pee Dee Region is predominantly handled by one of those two offices.
According to disabilityjudges.com, the average hearing wait time for the Columbia office is now 14 months from the date you request a hearing (not the date you initially apply)>. That is actually faster than it has been for the past few years. Greenville and Charleston are a little faster at 12 months.
The website also has the approval ratings of specific judges. Each judge has a different approval rating. That means that some judges approve more or less cases than others. There is no way to control the judge you are assigned. One of the things that is important to me is preparing your case for the specific judge assigned to hear the case. Each judge has a different way they want information prepared, and we work hard to make sure that you are properly prepared before you step foot in the hearing room.
Currently, the Columbia office has 5339 cases pending and EIGHT judges. You can see why it is such a long process when you see how many cases one office is processing!
US Representative Jim Clyburn highlighted this issue at the opening of a new clinic near Hilton Head according to an article by SC Now.
I think this is a huge problem facing citizens and residents of the Pee Dee. In Florence County, we are TRULY blessed to have Hope Health. So many of my clients are now able to receive routine, basic health care that they were not receiving before. They are able to establish themselves as a patient, get medication refills, and they receive quality health care. As an attorney, I can actually see the difference in a client’s health once they are receiving regular health care.
Unfortunately, my clients in the outlying rural counties still struggle. Their only real options are paying cash (Which is difficult when unemployed and out of work) or the emergency room.
Your Social Security case depends on medical evidence. We have a list of free and reduced clinics around the state and encourage you to utilize every bit of health care you can. We are continually researching options available for clients. There are also prescription drug programs through the drug manufacturers that you can apply for if you can not afford the medication.
There are also some steps that we can take as your attorney to request a consultative evaluation through the Social Security Administration. Those exams are not guaranteed, but when the judge will agree to order one, it at least helps us establish the medical problems and diagnosis.
I encourage clients that are NOT getting the health care they need to call me immediately so we can discuss the options available. It will benefit your health now, and also helpt the ALJ to determine if you are disabled and unable to work.