It is frustrating. We ended up moving in with my parents (my mom is disabled too) before I received my payment. It took me 2 years - I’m in Wash DC.
Different areas of the country have different case loads, so sometimes it does take longer than others.
One thing that you can do - is to write or email your congressman and see if they can help. Give him the specifics - your symptoms, the day you stopped working, the date you applied and your lawyer’s name. It’s possible that the congressman may be able to make some suggestions or at least intervene. The least that will happen is that the congressman will be aware of the delay.
Several congressmen were working with Senator Kennedy from Rhode Island regarding health inititives and Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month - you can do a search on that term or go to the AARDA (Autoimmune Association Related Diseases Association) for more info on the Rally in DC. It was small - I attended.
Hang in there - the hearing shouldn’t be bad at all - I had one and the same thing happened to me - walked in, some lite discussion regarding whether or not the information I provided was accurate, then the vocational expert confirmed that I could not work and the judge agreed that I was disabled. I walked in abled, walked out disabled.
The check was deposited in my account a couple months later and the notes I received from SSA were clear and easy to understand.
Recently, the SSA sent me a form asking if I was still disabled - I was approved in 2003 - and I just filled in the form indicating that I was even more so! They sent a letter back that said ‘okie dokie’ and that was done with.
I filed all my docs alone and didn’t get the lawyer until I had to appeal to the judge. At that point, I couldn’t do it anymore. My lawyer provided me with a clear and consice form regarding my physical abilities (how long I could sit, stand, concentrate etc).
This helped the judge and the vocational expert view my case in a very specifc manner. An online friend runs a website called www.disabilitykey.com. She calls these forms matrices and has used them to help individuals get SSA on the first try. Her name is Carolyn and tell her Linda from BYDLS (www.butyoudontlooksick.com)referred you.
Hope some of this helps.