Before you spend the money to go to court (even a small amount for Small Claims Court) make sure that your former landlord INTENDS to give you back your deposit. Was the place left the same as when you moved in? Can you prove that? Will he say differently?
A landlord has to give back the security deposit within 45 days of the moving out of tenant. If all the documentations are in place, you can still sue your landlord. But you would have to show that you have been reminding the landlord about the security deposit and he had been keeping it for nothing.
Contact your local Legal aide society, they will help you get answers to your questions. You can also contact the small claims courts.
I'm pretty sure it's a year or two, some of those things they give you a ton of time for, like 3 or 5 years. Just go down to the courthouse and ask.