This is an excerpt from an article by the National Organization for Social Security Claimants Representatives.
In July 2015, the average hearing office processing time had increased to 511 days. The record high occurred in August 2008 – 532 days. At the end of fiscal year (FY) 2014, the average processing time was 422 days and in every month of this fiscal year (FY 2015), the time has increased. With the end of the fiscal year (September 2015) closely approaching, it is entirely possible that a new record will be set by the beginning of FY 2016 in October. The ODAR National Caseload Analysis Report with statistics for FY 2015 through July is reprinted on page 12.
What happened to the efforts to decrease the average processing time, which reached a low in October 2011 (the beginning of FY 2012) of 340 days, but has been steadily climbing for nearly four years. Former Commissioner Astrue had set a goal of 270 days by the end of FY 2013, and at one time, it seemed like a possibility that the average processing time could approach such a goal.
However, our concerns about the fragility of progress in eliminating the hearings level backlog and reducing the average processing time have unfortunately been realized.