Don’t apply for Social Security Disability benefits without fully understanding what you are in for. The application process is quite complex and can be very frustrating for those who are unprepared. The truth is that the majority of claims are denied during the initial stage of the application process. In fact, in the State of New Mexico, approximately 64.1 percent of the applicants who apply for disability benefits are denied by the SSA during the initial stage of the application process. These applicants must then pursue a long and drawn-out disability appeal in order to obtain the benefits they may be rightfully entitled to.
If your initial claim for disability benefits is denied, your best chance of overturning the SSA’s decision to deny your benefits will be at your disability hearing. At this hearing your case will be presented to an administrative law judge. This judge will then decide whether or not to overturn the denial of your Social Security Disability benefits.
Disability hearings are conducted at SSA offices known as ODAR offices (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review). The Administrative Law Judge will hear your case at your local ODAR office. In the State of New Mexico there is only one ODAR office that handles the disability hearings for the entire state. This office is located in the City of Albuquerque. Because only one office handles the entire state’s disability hearings the wait time for a hearing is rather significant. The average processing time for a hearing in New Mexico is 411 days.
The table below outlines the approval rates and processing times for the ODAR office in the State of New Mexico versus the national averages.
|Hearing Office||Approval Rate||Processing Time in Days|
There are currently 13 Administrative Law Judges who hear cases for the Albuquerque ODAR office. These judges have differing award ratios ranging from 92 percent to 22.2 percent. Each judge, while following the same laws and guidelines, has a different approach to how they handle a disability hearing and what they need to see in order to approve an applicant for disability benefits. New Mexico Social Security Disability lawyers are familiar with the New Mexico Administrative Law Judges and how to best present your case before the judge that is assigned to your case.
If you would like a free consultation with a disability attorney in New Mexico, please fill out the free evaluation form provided for you on this site. The initial consultation with a disability attorney is always free and your attorney will not collect a fee unless you win your Social Security Disability case.