The Atlanta region (Region 4) is one of Social Security’s busiest locations. Hundreds of people file for disability each month in the metro Atlanta area and the Social Security offices here are having a difficult time keeping up with the caseload.
Several years ago, the Atlanta district office got some unwanted publicity when one of the major television networks ran a series about the delays in the processing of cases here. At that time, the average case could be delayed up to 2 years from the date a hearing was requested – and I can attest to this fact as I represented numerous clients who might wait up to 3 years start to finish.
As a result of this bad publicity, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration decided to address the outrageous delays in the Atlanta and North Georgia regions. About two years ago, SSA opened a video hearing office behind the Marietta, Georgia Social Security office, and in 2010, SSA opened a 4th hearing center (Office of Disability and Review) in Covington, Georgia.
This means if you live in the metro Atlanta area, your case could be assigned to:
- Downtown Atlanta ODAR – located in the Peachtree Center office building
- North Atlanta ODAR – located on Clairmont Road
- Marietta Video ODAR – located in Marietta (now closed)
- Covington ODAR – located in Covington, Georgia
Claimants living outside of Atlanta will have their hearings scheduled in one of the many hearing offices located throughout the state. Here is a link to the page on the SSA web site that identifies each of the various hearing offices in Region 4.
SSA has recently closed the Marietta video hearing office, so, at least for the time being, Atlanta area claimants will not be evaluated by out of state judges appearing by video. I am seeing a lot more Covington ODAR hearings and I note that several new judges have been assigned to this location.
I am also noticing that scheduling delays are again on the rise in the metro Atlanta area. This may be the result of increased applications typical of tough economic times or even because of the Sequester. Whatever the cause, you can expect to wait at least 18 months for your hearing to be scheduled.