What is OHO? (Formerly ODAR)
The Social Security hearings office is now known as the Office of Hearings Operations, or OHO, where it was once known as the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). The majority of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) claims are approved at the OHO after claimants file an appeal (it’s a fact that more than half of all Disability cases that reach the Social Security Administration office of hearings and appeals are approved for benefits).
What Will I Learn From OHO?
Once your claim is transferred to your local hearings office, you’ll receive minimal correspondence. This includes:
- A confirmation or acknowledgment letter that the office got your hearing request
- An appointment letter stating that you have a hearing date (within 75 days of the hearing)
- A decision notice after the hearing letting you know if the result was fully favorable, partially favorable, or unfavorable
Something else you may receive from the OHO is an exhibit list. This is a checklist of everything in your file, including medical records put together by Disability Determination Services, copies of your application, and any questionnaires you may have filled out.
The point of the list is to summarize what records and information were used to make your previous negative decision. If you don’t automatically receive an exhibit list, you should ask for one in order to build a better case for your appeal.
What Will Happen at the OHO?
Review judges, known as administrative law judges (ALJs), hold appeals hearings at OHO offices, which are the second level of appeal. They not only preside over Disability claims but also cases regarding survivors’ benefits and retirement. Sadly, there aren’t enough judges to process the number of assigned appeals quickly, so scheduling a hearing can take a long time. Once your SSI or SSDI case is sent to your local OHO from the Social Security Office, it may take a year or longer before you’re scheduled with a hearing date to see an ALJ.
Where Are OHO Offices?
San Francisco, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston all have regional hearings offices which control 8 to 38 hearing offices each. You’ll find multiple hearings offices in most states, though some, like Rhode Island, only have one.
We know that your medical condition is debilitating and the process of applying for Disability is stressful. Let us help you fight to receive fair compensation and get the benefits you deserve. Call the advocates at the Disability Help Center today at 1-888-418-8860 to set up a free initial consultation. We can assist you with the appeals process from start to finish.