The Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) oversees hearings and making decisions on social security disability claims. There are currently three offices that serve residents of New Jersey and eight offices that serve residents of Pennsylvania.
Each office holds hearings in front of administrative law judges (ALJs) that conduct hearings and impart decisions on social security disability appeals. These types of appeals involve survivors, retirement, and insurance benefits.
If you are a resident of New Jersey or Pennsylvania, review the list below to contact the office that serves your area. These offices are only able to provide information related to general administrative knowledge. You should direct your questions to a social security/disability appeals lawyer licensed to practice in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.
New Jersey Social Security Disability Hearings and Appeals Offices
Jersey City, NJ
325 West Side Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07305
Telephone: (877) 773-7451
Serving Clifton, Hackensack, Hoboken, Jersey City, Paterson
1100 Raymond Boulevard
Newark, NJ 07102
Telephone: (877) 405-9798
Serving East Orange, Neptune, New Brunswick, Newark, Newton, Parsippany, Somerville, Springfield Ave, Trenton, Union Township, Woodbridge
2475 McClellan Avenue
Pennsauken, NJ 08109
Telephone: (866) 964-5769
Serving Brick, Bridgeton, Cherry Hill, Egg Harbor Township, Glassboro, Mount Holly, Rio Grande, Toms River
Pennsylvania Social Security Disability Hearings and Appeals Offices
Elkins Park, PA
8380 Old York Road
Elkins Park, PA 19027
Telephone: (866) 964-7369
Serving Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Fairless Hills, Limerick, Philadelphia (NE), Reading
2 North 2nd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Telephone: (888) 352-3691
Serving Carlisle, Chambersburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lewistown, York
334 Washington Street
Johnstown, PA 15901-9954
Telephone: (866) 331-7134
Serving Altoona, DuBois, Indiana, Johnstown, State College
1601 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Telephone: (866) 964-6288
Serving Norristown, Philadelphia (Aramingo), Philadelphia (Downtown), Philadelphia (South), Philadelphia (West), West Chester
Philadelphia East, PA
833 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: (866) 572-9721
Serving Chester, Philadelphia (Germantown), Philadelphia (Nicetown), Upper Darby
1000 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Telephone: (866) 331-2291
Serving Greensburg, McKeesport, Monroeville, Pittsburgh (Downtown), Pittsburgh (East), Pittsburgh (Mt. Lebanon), Rostraver, Washington
One Adams Place, Suite 200
300 Seven Fields Boulevard
Mars, PA 16046
Telephone: (855) 278-4199
Serving Ambridge, Butler, Cranberry (formerly Oil City), Erie, Kittanning, Meadville, New Castle, New Kensington, Sharon
Stegmaier Building, Suite 201
7 North Wilkes-Barre Boulevard
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-5242
Telephone: (866) 895-1594
Serving Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, Hazleton, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Towanda, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport
Frequently Asked Questions About the Claims Process
If you are like most people, you have many unanswered questions about appealing a decision related to your social security benefits denial. The information provided below is meant to give you an idea regarding appealing to the OHO (hearing level) and may not apply to your case. Check with your attorney if you have specific legal questions.
What Is the Appeals Process Like?
The goal of an appeals hearing is to have an administrative law judge review your case along with the initial decision compared against your claim. The appeals process carries four distinct steps if you are denied:
- Reconsideration: The State Agency, with different staff re-reviews your case and any new evidence to offer a second opinion;
- Hearing: If the claim is again denied on Reconsideration, a judge reviews your case in a hearing setting. This is where the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) comes into play;
- Appeals Council Review: If the judge denies your claim, then you may request that the Appeals Council review the judge’s decision;
- Federal Court Review: If the Appeals Council upholds the judge’s denial, then your final option is to file a lawsuit against the government in federal court.
Throughout the process, it is helpful to have a social security/disability appeals lawyer in your corner. He or she can direct all court communications to his or her office by completing a notice of representation to ensure you are compliant with the administrative courts.
Is There a Time Limit on How Long I Can Make an Appeal?
At each step of the process, you have 60 days after receiving an unfavorable determination to file an appeal and request the next level of review. This includes filing in federal court. Social Security assumes that a letter takes five days to reach you, and so, unless you show otherwise, Social Security assumes that your deadline runs 65 days after the date of a letter.
If you miss the appeal deadline, you may lose your opportunity to receive benefits. However, if you missed this deadline for a valid reason, either you or your representative might be able to convince the judge to extend it and allow you to file an appeal.
Where Will OHO Hold My Appeal Hearings?
Requested appeals are scheduled for hearing by the assigned judge’s office. The length of time that it takes to schedule a hearing will depend on the specific office, with delays occurring due to the volume of cases in process. For example, the current average wait time for a hearing in the Philadelphia office is 9.5 months and 13.0 months in the Philadelphia East office.
A notice of the hearing will be sent at least seventy-five days before the hearing itself. This notice will contain information about the specific issues to be decided in your case, your rights and obligations related to the hearing (including how and when to submit evidence), and other information about the scheduling and conduct of your hearing. If you have an attorney representing you in this matter, both you and your lawyer will receive a notice of the hearing.
What Do I Do If I Can’t Travel to the Hearing?
You or your representative should inform OHO if travel is physically impossible for you. Be prepared to provide a doctor’s examination report and a letter that details why you should not be required to travel to the hearing.
If you can supplement this information, then OHO may make other arrangements such as a video or telephone conference. Your lawyer may even be able to appear on your behalf if you’ve hired one. However, there are substantial drawbacks to not appearing in person. This is your one chance to sit in the same room as the person making the decision. Some of the reasons it is difficult for you to travel maybe your most compelling evidence, without saying a word. You should not miss your hearing absent extraordinary circumstances.
Am I Required to Have a Lawyer Represent Me?
No. You aren’t required to have a lawyer present during an OHO appeal. There are no laws that forbid you to represent yourself. However, hiring an attorney means that you can present a better case in front of judges and appeal boards.
Social security appeals lawyers have a lot of training, experience, and knowledge in fighting for their clients’ protected rights to benefits. Lawyers in this area of practice are aware that their clients struggle to afford necessary living expenses. Significantly, the federal government strictly limits attorneys’ fees in Social Security claims, which are generally paid out of back pay awards.
Consider Working with a Social Security/Disability Appeals Lawyer in New Jersey or Pennsylvania
At Bross & Frankel, P.A., we provide aggressive representation to our nation’s most vulnerable people. Schedule a consultation with one of our social security/disability appeal lawyers today to find out how we can help you. Call our office at (856) 795-8880 or by sending us a quick note through our request form.
Rich Frankel is the managing partner of Bross & Frankel. He is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bars. He has focused exclusively on disability and social security benefits since 2005.
Mr. Frankel joined what is now Bross & Frankel after having watched his father struggle with disability, fighting a lengthy illness. Mr. Frankel founded the firm’s veteran’s law practice and substantially grew the social security disability practice, focusing Bross & Frankel’s ability to fight for all of the disability benefits available to his clients.
Mr. Frankel additionally fights for clients in court, obtaining frequent victories in Social Security appeals and against insurance companies in Federal court.