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How long does it take to get a hearing decision and to start collecting Social Security Disability benefits?

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Find out how long you’ll wait for a decision after your hearing and, if approved, when you will start collecting Social Security Disability benefits.

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Timeframe for Getting a Social Security Hearing Decision

Before you can begin collecting Social Security Disability benefits, you must receive a favorable or partially favorable decision on your claim. Once you and your lawyer have presented your case to the Administrative Law Judge at your Social Security Disability hearing, the judge has to consider what he or she has heard, perhaps review your claim file again, make a decision, and draft a decision letter. The Social Security’s guideline is for the judge to render a decision is within sixty days of the hearing, but frequently judges take longer.

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If sixty days have passed and you have not received a decision, you can follow up on your disability claim status by calling the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The phone number can be found on the letter notifying you of your hearing date.

When Benefits Start After a Favorable Hearing Decision

If you receive a favorable decision, your local Social Security office will then complete the work necessary for you to start collecting Social Security Disability benefits. Sometimes, they will ask you for additional documentation, such as your birth certificate, if you have not already submitted it. Typically, you will receive payment within three to eight weeks after receiving your approval letter. If you have eligible dependents and your family maximum benefit is high enough, Social Security will also take an application for your dependents to receive benefits. For information about whether your family qualifies for Social Security dependent benefits, visit our article “Can My Spouse and Children Get Benefits If I Am Approved for Social Security Disability?”

What to Do If Your Claim is Denied at the Disability Hearing

If the administrative law judge denies your claim and you still aren’t approved for collecting Social Security disability benefits, see our article “What Is a Social Security Appeals Council Review and What Can I Do If the Appeals Council Denies My Claim?”

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448 Comments

  1. Katie says:

    Hi Kay –

    I have a few questions / problems that I need help with and can’t find anyone to give me ONE CORRECT answer from my attorney’s office to the direct SSA, to my LOCAL BRANCH ssa, so my next best bet is you as I have read through many posts here and you seem to have the most ON POINT ANSWERS …. I will number my questions giving as much information as I can so you can best answer my questions.

    1) At my Appeals Hearing on November 4th, 2013, the Judge then and there stated that she was granting my DISABILITY and dating it back to August 1st, 2011. On November 29th, 2013 – we received the NOTICE OF DECISION that basically stating the same thing and why, that we are backdated to August 1st, 2011 and that my decision was FAVORABLE, so on and so forth. The next day, I went and set up a CHASE BANK ACCOUNT and they forwarded information to the US TREASURY that THIS WAS THE INFORMATION (routing # / Account #, Name – also stating that it was for my FIRST CHECK and that I hadn’t HAD an account number with Disability yet because this IS for my first check, etc.) and called my Attorney who also received the NOTICE OF DECISION and ….

    * I was told by my attorney that I shouldn’t be surprised if the money just “SHOWS UP” in my account before I even RECEIVE MY NOTICE OF AWARD LETTER, that “the letters usually are sent out together, can be sent out one first then the latter or I might receive my NOTICE OF AWARD soon in the mail, but that the NOTICE OF AWARD letter has NOTHING TO DO WITH WHEN I WILL RECEIVE MY FIRST PAYMENT / BACK PAYMENT and that I need to just make sure I have my Direct Deposit set up and that the Treasury Department has that information.

    * My BANK called me and stated that they got the documentation sent back to them stating that the information DID NOT go through for some reason, so I then called the 800# directly and set it up with THEM to make sure all was ok.

    * Today’s Date is December 27th, 2013 – as of today, we have neither received the MONEY IN THE BANK, nor the NOTICE OF AWARD INFORMATION telling us what TO receive, although we were already told by our Attorney what our payments would be as an estimate (Monthly – around $1,500 / BACKPAY – around $36,000) and being that we’ve already WAITED our 5 month wait time being that I am being found LEGALLY DISABLED as of August 1, 2011)

    So, as far as SSA says, waiting for our money can take anywhere up to 3-4 MONTHS … but our ATTORNEY (MY ATTORNEY, I keep saying “our” as I commonly refer to myself as *me and my husband* as he has been there through all of this – but it’s MY disability) stated that once we received that “Notice of DECISION” — “to not be surprised if that backpay (backpay FIRST, then from there – the MONTHLY PAYMENTS is what they said ..) within less than one month with or without that money, and to call them when that happens because then they have to get ahold of SSA to track down that NOTICE OF AWARD letter and such – and not even to THINK about that AWARD LETTER because it has no bearing on when we will receive that money”.

    Yet SSA says we will receive the NOTICE OF AWARD FIRST then maybe 30-60 days after, we’ll receive the money …. that was from ONE person at SSA, another person at SSA said more of the same as MY ATTORNEY???

    I guess my MAJOR CONCERNS are —

    1) What is the correct answer on WHEN we should look for our money

    2) What will come first, our BACKPAY (which is what we NEED first because of our medical bills debt and other debt we owe BECAUSE of waiting for our Disability) or my MONTHLY PAYMENTS and just as an FYI, I owe the government nothing, have had no arrests or anything, have never been incarcerated, have no outstanding debt with the government, etc. just incase that might be something you would ask ….

    3) Just in the event that my “DIRECT DEPOSIT” was NOT set up properly because my local branch (who my attorney said was very behind and they didn’t even have me in their system when the BIG / MAIN SSA showed me just fine), would they MAIL ME A CHECK or MAIL ME A CARD WITH THE MONEY ON IT or SOMETHING and not just hold back my payment / money and sit on it / put it aside because they didn’t SHOW information because someone or some branch IS BEHIND??

    We are just concerned as I check every day in my account to see if it has been deposited, afraid to call anyone for the fact that I might be put to the back of the line somewhere for making someone upset.

    It’s been OVER A MONTH now since we received our NOTICE OF DECISION from the judge and according to my attorney, they are even wondering at this point because they have had so many clients that end up calling them stating that they got their money but have no notice of award so they don’t know what to expect monthly or if it’s the correct amount, etc. and said that it actually happens about 75% of the time??

    Granted the LOCAL BRANCH is behind as they don’t even show me in their system yet, but GAVE ME THE NAME OF MY REPRESENTATIVE who I then gave to my attorney because of course I don’t get a return call back — but since I have up until a few days ago dealt with the 800# SSA people, that’s the more important thing, right?

    We’re just not getting anywhere with answers, not getting our notice of award, don’t know whether we WAIT EVEN AFTER the award letter for a period of time before I even see the money or is my attorney correct in what THEY are telling me — that the award letter really has nothing to do with WHEN we will see the money and that ALSO, we will get our LUMP BACKPAY FIRST before the monthly payments, etc.

    Can you help us with any of this and help clarify these answers we’ve gotten and what honestly USUALLY DOES happen / what we can expect as far as this goes? We are in dire straits as far as money and collections and everyone says they need that NOTICE OF AWARD letter that of course we don’t have.

    Thank you SO MUCH for your time and understanding.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Katie,

      Apologies for the delayed response. Our site has had a software problem, which is now resolved.

      First, it can take sixty days or more from the date of the judge’s letter to get payment started. One month would be quite fast. Second, when benefits are already due, direct deposit of payment usually happens before the letter reaches you. The letter usually comes one to two weeks later. Third, it is my observation that almost all the time, monthly payments begin before retroactive benefits are paid and that there can be a substantial lag (a month or more) in time between start of the monthly payments and release of back payment.

      At this point, besides waiting, there only thing you need to do is to be sure that Social Security has your correct bank account information set up on your Social Security computer record. Be assured that Social Security is not intentially “sitting on your money.” They are understaffed for the volume of work they handle. If you have not received payment by the end of January , you might contact the local office for a status, asking if they need anything from you.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • crystal says:

        Hello,
        I called ss yesterday and found out a decision has been made on my case, I am curious how lonng from when the judge makes a decision do you recieve a notice in the mail? And if you have children whom reside with the other parent and you pay child support, does ss pay the custodial parent directly towards child support? And if you recieve backpay how much is the maximum amount they pay in backpay?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Crystal,

          From your questions, I assume that you are inquiring about Social Security Disability not Supplemental Security Income. My response is based on that assumption.

          It can take from a couple weeks to more than a month to get a letter after the judge’s decision has been made. The custodial parent will receive the child’s Social Security benefit after the custodial parent applies to be payee. If you are paying child support, the Social Security benefit will not take the place of the child support unless you go to court and the judge rules that it does. If you owe back child support, it will be withheld from the benefits due to you.

          The amount of Social Security back pay you receive depends on how long ago you became disabled and how long ago your initially applied. Benefits will begin to accrue the later of the sixth full calendar month after you became disabled or twelve months before the month of your application.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

        • shirelle says:

          hey how long does it usually take for some go to court for ssd for my son he is 8 im in south Carolina

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Shirelle,

            After you file the request for a hearing, you may wait a year or more for a hearing date.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

  2. tracy says:

    My atty told me “flat out, hands down that she could win my case even without me being in the courtroom” the judge assigned to my cas has over an 80% denial rate. My concer is at the hearing on dec 10th that she asked only a few questions abt my medical and nothing abt my emotional problems for which I have an rfc form stating that I cannot work and due to my physical issues I must use a walker. The judge only seemed interested in my wrk history and my education (dropped out during my third year due to having a baby) the hearing was nothing like what I was told which concerns me. Also since I filed 2 years ago, physically and emotionally my condition has changed which seemed to irritate the judge as my answers were now different. Also the bank info they have is incorrect but I did not want to change it prior to receicing a reward notice on the chance I will be denied. My atty said I answered questions correctly but I know when I go back over things my answes were not always complete and could have been better. I think I would not be as worried if my atty had told me she could win my case hands down without me in a courtroom. Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tracy,

      It sounds as if the judge did not feel he or she needed more information about your health and your limitations. This could mean that they were being accepted as presented. My guess is that the judge was asking questions about your work history to determine whether, given your limitations, you could work at jobs you have had in the past.

      If you think that you truly forgot to provide important information at the hearing, then I suggest writing that up and giving it to your attorney for your attorney to decide whether it would be good idea to submit it after the hearing. If you are approved, when you get the judge’s approval letter, promptly notify Social Security of the correct bank acount routing and account number.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  3. shelli says:

    i just had my alj hearing last week, my lawyer says he thinks ill be approved. then yesterday my daughter inlaw got a message on her cell phone saying that someone from this phone number has a phone conference with someone from the ssa office at 1 p.m. now i knew nothing about this, and now im really worried that something is wrong. can you please help me here. could this just be them now wanting me to go see there doctor? since my neurologist appointment isnt till next month and the judge didnt want to leave my case open to wait to see what my doctor says. or do you think something is probably wrong? i would greatly apprieciate your advise on this. thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shelli,

      By now you will have had the interview so any response from me will not be meaningful; but from what you wrote, it did sound as if some follow-up information was wanted for the hearing decision.

      Regards,

      Kay

  4. Mona says:

    Hi Kay,

    My husband filed for SSI and SSDI..which he was denied on his own and now he has a lawyer. His court date was set for 11/15/13 at the ODAR ALJ..I know it take some time to get a decision, but do you think it will take this long if the case was denied or to get a denial letter..Now that it is 01/27/14 he has not heard yea or nay. I try to give him a little hope that I’m pretty sure if they was going to deny him they would have already done that or not…The wait is killing him. What do you think?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mona,

      The length of time to get a decision does not determine the outcome. The guideline is sixty days from the hearing for a decision but it frequently takes longer. You might try calling the hearing office every couple weeks to see if his appeal has moved to the letter-writing unit. If it has, the decision has been made and the lengthy determination letter is being prepared.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

    • Darin says:

      My hearing was 12/04/13 and still nothing as of 03/21/14 next week is 16 weeks 4 months not good

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Darin,

        The wait is difficult, but the length of time your appeal pends is not a determinant or a sign of whether your claim will be approved or denied.

        Sincerely,

        Kay

  5. Kenny says:

    I recieved my review in mail today to fill out. Do you know how long it takes to know if my nenifits will cut off and if they do and I appeal. How long do u think that will take and how long will I be able to keep my benefits?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kenny,

      It can take a couple of months or more for the medical review of your continuing eligibility to be completed. If you are still disabled, your benefits will continue, so at this point I would not worry about benefits stopping or having to appeal.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  6. Terri says:

    Hi, I had my hearing with the Administrative Law Judge on October 12, 2013. It’s already the 6th of February and I haven’t received any response letting me know if I was approved or denied. This judge has an 8% approval rate but I know that every case is different. I was denied the first time for disability them I got a lawyer. I called the DARS office and the judges clerk said that a decision has already been rendered but she couldn’t tell me yes or no. She said a letter would be sent out to me and my lawyer simultaneously. I’m riveting how long it will take to receive this letter letting me know the decision. I talked to this clerk five days ago but I still haven’t received anything. I’m hoping it’s not a letter denying me. But I don’t know anything yet. How long does it usually take after the judge makes his decision to finally send me a notice in the mail regarding his decision?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Terri,

      Once the hearing judge makes a decision on your claim, the decision goes to a writing unit for a long, detailed letter to be written up. This is true whether the claim has been approved or denied. It can take a few weeks for the letter to be prepared, reviewed, and mailed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  7. Terri says:

    Wondering not riveting sorry

  8. Ellen says:

    I have a question I haven’t seen posted. initial:denied. reconsideration:denied. have attorney now, was waiting for hearing, however I’ve been told that file was with decision writer. most recently was told by a reliable source that file is back in the judges hands. I haven’t appeared at a hearing. case was coded critical/dire need. any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ellen,

      My best guess is that the judge has made a decision “on the record,” based in part on how your attorney presented the case in writing. If this is the case, your claim is being approved and you will not have to go to a hearing. The appeal being in writing and then back with the judge, would indicate that the judge has made the decision, the decision letter has been written up, and the judge is now reviewing it for accuracy before it is sent out.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Blessedandhighlyfavored says:

        Once a decision has been made and written up and back with the judge for review does that mean a person is approve or it could mean either its denied or approved? I Was told I have to wait on letter.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Blessed,

          The decision letter awaiting the judge’s decision could be either an approval or denial letter.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  9. Maggie says:

    I had my court appearance for my appeal February of 2013 and still have not received the decision. Is it true some people are waiting two years to receive a decision? My diseases are deteriorating with every passing month due to not being able to afford all of my medications so time is of the essence for me. Are you at the mercy of the judge because there are no set time limits?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Maggie,

      The guideline is for the judge to render a hearing within sixty days of the date of the hearing. Many pend longer but most seem to be rendered within six months after the date of the hearing. I don’t know of a way to speed things up. You do not say whether you have an attorney. If you do, you might call your attorney to be sure he or she has not received a decision letter. If not, I suggest that you call the hearing office to be sure that the decision is still pending. That way you will know that a letter has not gone astray. If they say the decision is in writing, you should get a decision in a month or less. If a decision has not been made, you might ask whether the judge has requested any outside information that has not been received–such as more information from your doctors–so that you can follow up if necessary.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Maggie says:

        thank you for your suggestions. i do have an attorney. during the hearing the judge said she did not need any further medical information. she did not question the employment specialist. my attorney said she basically gave us the wink wink that i was going to have a favorable decision. this judge is notorious for taking a long time to make a decision.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Maggie,

          Hopefully, your attorney is right about the wink.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • tina says:

            My husband had a hearing on dec11 2013 as of today a desicion has been made and its in editing the hearing went well my husband has a excellent work history age of now 56 will be 57 filed
            In 09 doctor wrote good letter our attorney said ve said their were jobs but my husband cant sit stand walk stoop lift more than 10 pounds on a hourly basis in constant night and day pain worked 35 years retired at 52 at one point in court judge got upset with ve stated can this man do this go up ladders take breaks will a employer put up with that she goes well no so husband also told him drugs cause bad side effects so cant take but has to when needs to and deal with effects but all medicals and therapies are short term relief no one can help him so now a waiting game lawyer said he has great shot told his case worker if gets denied appeal immediately case worker said for lawyer to say that feels strong about case she said doctor wrote excellent paper for medical what you think just asking this drving us nuts the waiting game.sucks hope he gets approved he deserves it.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Tina,

            I really can’t say whether your husband will be approved or denied, although the information you provided seems favorable. Given that the hearing decision is in writing now, he should have a decision letter fairly soon.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

  10. worried says:

    hello,i had my hearing date dec 20 -2014 tomorrow will be 60 days,i called yesterday and the ODAR office said a decision had been made an i should have it within 30 to -60 days….The VE stated there was no jobs i could do past or present,my lawyer said that both the medical an mental examiner for the ssi office wrote good in my favor on my file..is this a good sign or bad sign?i been waiting 60 days already and she said another 30-to 60 before i will get letter of approval or denial..worried sick

    • worried says:

      let me re phrase the end there she said it was being processed i should have letter 30 to 60 days she never said approval or denial letter..if that helps

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Worried,

      Please see the response that I wrote to your previous comment of a couple days ago.

      Thanks,

      Kay

  11. matt shemanski says:

    Hi I had my hearing on feb 7 2014, I was told by my lawyer that a decision was made feb 13 2014. I had called the 800# about setting up direct deposit and she put me on hold for a couple minutes and told me that I had to wait for direct deposit because my file is in 2 different locations. What does that mean? And is it good the judge made a decision so fast? And would I recieve a paper check before the decision letter?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Matt,

      A favorable, formal written hearing decision has to be sent to you and the Social Security local office before payment can be initiated. When Social Security said that your file was in two locations, I am guessing they mean that the decision has not been received from the hearing office and that they have only a partial record until they get the decision. A quick decision is not indicative of either an approval or a denial.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  12. matt shemanski says:

    Oh and I was denied 2010 never appealed, so my lawyer asked to reopen case and attach to my 2011 file that I just appeared at by video hearing in feb 14

  13. worried says:

    hello,i had my disability hearing december 20,2013,its been 60 days today.i called the ODAR office and they said a decision had been made,i call yesterday and they said its being processed and could take up to 30-to 60 days.is this a good or bad sign?also at my court hearing the VE said there was no past or present jobs i was able to do and my lawyer said the medical and mental examiner for the ssi was on my side/in my favor…and ideal why process would be 30-60 more days since i already been waiting 60 days?crossing fingers it approval

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Worried,

      As you describe the hearing, it sounds favorable. It routinely takes sixty days or longer to get a decision letter. The fact that the decision has been made and the extensive written determination is in progress indicates that you will likely have the decision letter within the period of time the hearing office estimated.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  14. worried says:

    thanks for response Kay..this is nerve wrecking

  15. Confused *I* says:

    Hello there,
    I had my ALJ hearing a month ago, everything went well and I had a very thorough judge. Where I am confused at is, the Judge and the Employment Specialist both rendered me DISABLED! But because Im not 50 yet, wants one more medical doctor to review my case? All went well in court I cant understand why I did not receive a bench decision?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear “Confused,”

      The vocational expert’s opinion about your ability to work was based on the limitations that you are claiming. Apparently, the judge has requested another medical examination because he or she wants more information to see whether the limitations that you are claiming are as severe as you state they are, that is, whether the limitations are supported by medical or psychiatric findings.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  16. Christy says:

    My appeal hearing was November 1, 2013. I still have not received any letters. It has been almost 4 months. I called my attorney and they state the last letter they got stated a decision was being written. That was almost a month ago. I’m starting to get really frustrated. It this normal?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christy,

      Yes, the extended time for a hearing decision does seem fairly common. The fact that the decision is in writing and has been in writing for a month would indicate you should receive the decision within a few weeks.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  17. ms.Goodman says:

    hay Kay I went and saw a alj judge on Dec20 and I didn’t have a attorney the judge told ME I should hear from him in 3weeks its been over 60days wat do u think I call the office yesterday and they saying its still pending is this good or bad

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ms. Goodman,

      Well, it seems as if the judge was engaging in some wishful thinking about how fast he or she could get the decision completed. About all you can do is check in every couple weeks to be sure that the appeal is still pending. At some point, they will tell you it is writing, which means the decision has been made and the very detailed letter is being written up. That in turn means you are moving closer to getting a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  18. Janice says:

    Had my hearing today via video conference. ALJ stated, at the hearing, that I was approved. My attorney stated it is very rare for the decision to be made at the time of the hearing. I was so excited I did not get any information on what I should do. Should I wait until I get the award letter and then contact my local Social Security Office to set up direct deposit.
    Thank you,
    Jan

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Janice,

      Your local Social Security office will not take any action to move you toward payment until they have received their copy of the judge’s approval letter, which can take sixty days or more. The local office will be notified at the same time as you and your attorney receive the approval letters. Once you get your letter is soon enough to give Social Security your current bank information.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Janice says:

        Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge.
        Janice

      • Sondra Owens says:

        Why do they tske so long to make a decision on my case and I have to wait so long it dont seam fair

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Sondra,

          I think everyone wishes that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income and Veteran’s Administration claims and appeals would take less time to process. It does take time to gather all the information necessary to assess the claims, but a large piece of the delay is related to under-staffing, which is, in turn, is related to the amount of money the government has allocated to fund salaries for these agencies’ employees. More employees would translate into quicker processing times.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  19. so worried says:

    Hi, I had my hearing in front of a judge on February 20, 2014… My lawyer and I went in with pictures as well as my file, but a decision wasnt made yet… the judge told me to give him some time to reach a decision…. what had me puzzled is during my hearing a book was brought out with list of jobs in my area and codes were given… im worried because I have bipolar, fibromylagia, chronic ibs, etc and im so embarrassed if im denied and have to be placed somewhere to work…. this along with other issues personally has taken a toll on me physically as well as emotionally…. I asked my lawyer what he thought the outcome would be and his response was “you ll hear something before I will but contact me as soon as you do”… Something I failed to mention was a pre trail took place a week before my hearing that I had no knowledge of… why was that, and is this a bad or good thing?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear So Worried,

      The judge apparently asked for pre-hearing information to see whether it was possible to arrive at a favorable decision without holding a hearing and getting additional information. It is neither good or bad. With regard to the judge not making a decision on the spot, that is common.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  20. darren says:

    Hi, i had a hearing jan 16 2014 i had a lawyer but at the last min he back out, so i went in alone and she ask me about my work background and what was the reason why i said i cant work, I said hypertension and arthritis in the wrist also my back has been giving me problems too, but I’m 43 years of age and I think that’s going to be a problem also, and the person that sits in there to ask if what type of jobs can I work, he told the judge that there are six hundred thousand jobs worldwide that I can do assembly line work, and the judge asked me is maybe this is something that I can do and I told her no because of my wrist is in pain constantly, so I’m worried now because I’m waiting for decision and I don’t want them to deny me because I didn’t answer the questions right can you please help me

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Darren,

      It is hard to tell whether you will be approved or denied. If you are denied and you think the judge didn’t fully consider all the evidence including what you said, you can request an Appeals Council review. If you do this, I suggest that you hire an attorney to help you file the papers.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  21. Alex says:

    Hi – hoping you can offer me some insight. I filed a claim in July 2013. Until yesterday, I hadn’t heard anything regarding its status. When checking the benefits section of the social security website, it simply said that my medical records were being reviewed at DDS. A couple of weeks ago, that status changed to “cannot process your request”. I finally got hold of my case worker and went in to see her yesterday. She made a call to someone who was able to tell her that a decision had been made on my case – on January 7th! I received no notification one way or the other and still do not know what the decision was. My case worker was supposed to get back to me today with an answer, but never did (I called and left her a voicemail just in case she forgot). I am now almost out of time to appeal. Is there some reason that I would not have received any notification when the decision was made? I’ve been sending them additional information during both January and February because I had no idea it was already done (so now I feel sort of stupid). I tried to use the automated phone system today, but it told me it was “having trouble” finding my records – I assume that means I was denied? I will call and try to speak to a real live person tomorrow, but I guess I’m pretty annoyed by all this. Is there any way to appeal, assuming I’ll have to, after the 60 days are up? Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alex,

      Your appeals period starts when you receive written notice of denial, which you have not. You have also gone on record with the Social Security Administration that you have not received a notice when you went to the office. I suggest for now that your write down the date you went to see the Social Security claims representative and were told a decision had been made and that she would get back to you about what it was. Then each time you talk with her or someone in the local office, write down the date and what transpired in the contact. (The contact log is to document that you haven’t been notified of the decision, should they say that a letter actually was sent.) I would say that there is not much benefit in calling the 800 number at this point–just work with the local office.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  22. Maria Pacheco says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you knew of or could direct me to someone who knew, what other benefits you could get once disabled.

    For example: rent payments

    My landlady keeps telling me that she has a tenant on disability and the government pays her rent. Could this be possible? If so, how do I go about obtaining it?

    Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Maria,

      The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program of the Federal government and some local housing assistance organizations have a program that pays part of a qualified individual’s rent. It sounds as if your landlady is a certified Section 8 housing provider. I suggest that you get more information from your landlady about the program under which the rent subsidy is being paid for her other tenant so you will have an idea of which program you might apply for.There may be a waiting list for assistance based on whether there are available units and funds. Even so, I would suggest applying. You might also inquire at your state or county’s department of social services about other benefits such as food stamps and energy assistance for heating bills. Also some telephone companies offer limited-service, limited-cost telephone service, and most transit companies have discounted “honored citizen” rates for bus tickets.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  23. ivy says:

    Received my decision from dds favorable on July 23, 2013 will I receive an award letter soon, its a reconsideration concurrent case

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ivy,

      Concurrent Social Security and SSI claims take longer to process. Usually monthly benefits are paid first, then SSI retroactive payment, and finally Social Security back pay. It usually takes one to two months or longer to get the first payments. If you mean that you received notification of the approval decision in July, an unusual amount of time has passed and I recommend that you make an appointment to meet with your claims representative to ask what specifically remains to be done on your claims. This will help draw attention to the length of time that has passed and hopefully prioritize your claim.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  24. Jack says:

    Hi, I just had my hearing with the ALJ. My chief complaints at first were Diabetes, Neuropathy, and Celiacs/GI Issues. Well at the time, the doctor suspected Celiacs and put me on a specific diet and ordered tests. Of course I didn’t have Celiacs, I knew this, but at the time I could have sworn I wrote “suspected Celiac Disease” on my application. Now I am being treated for Diabetic Gastroparesis with diet and medication. I am having a procedure in two days to either diagnose or rule out the disease. This GI issue, whatever it is, causes DAILY Nausea/vomiting/fatigue/depression/Constipation/vertigo/dizziness. I also take two medications that seem to help very well with the vomiting, but I still have all the other symptoms BUT the side effects are Dizziness/Fatigue and have been known to cause Tardive Dyskinesia (Tardive dyskinesia is a disorder that involves involuntary movements, especially of the lower face.) which I sometimes have. Anyways, I have had these GI problems and symptoms for years and they have progressed so much it is hard to even take a shower or take care of my Diabetes at times, I get so sick and dizzy I have to lie in bed all day. I have been hospitalized for Diabetic Ketoacidosis over 11 times since 2011. My hospital records have stated that I have been NON COMPLIANT with my diabetes because of finances and depression.
    The GI doctor did state in his records I have a “chronic underlying bowel disease, and that I have failed many treatments/meds..etc”
    My questions are:

    1- Since I was not diagnosed with Celiacs and it was listed as a chief complaint, should I be concerned about “false info”?? I did state to the judge that doctors have not been able to figure it out, but multiple doctors suspect gastroparesis.

    2- I did state to the judge that I did not have insurance for many years and was having financial difficulty seeing doctors and getting my medication, which along with the daily severe GI issues and symptoms, had been unable to properly care for my diabetes which resulted in the ketoasidosis hospitalizations. Should I be worried about “non-compliance” although I explained my situations??

    • Kay Derochie says:

      DearJack,

      I suggest that you get the report from the test that you are having this week and submit a copy of it to the judge with a letter stating that you have updated, corrected information about your gastrointestinal problem, that you do not have Celiacs disease. I assume that you already told the judge in writing or verbally about your hospitalizations and all your symptoms, but if you have not, you could include a brief statement any omitted information. (Do not repeat information already given.)

      Best regards,

      Kay

  25. MaryAnn says:

    Hello,
    I have a quick question and I’m not sure if this is the place to ask but here it goes. If I go to the disability hearing and get denied do I have to appeal or can I accept the denial and file a new claim after the denial date based on new evidence/condition. I understand that I would lose the option of back pay.
    Thank you
    MaryAnn

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear MaryAnn,

      You are not required to appeal. You can file a new claim, but you must claim a disability date after the date of the judge’s denial letter.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  26. ANGELA ANDERSON says:

    My husband had his hearing on Dec 10 ,2013 and the judge was very rude , kept saying that the money was not for people who drank or do drugs ! then asked my husband if he was a drinker or ever used drugs ? My said that yes he has had a drink before but NO that he has never done drugs ! ( THIS WAS THE FIRST THING THE JUDGE SAID ) He then asked if he had a lawyer , he said yes ,then the judge asked were is the lawyer ? He told the judge that she called on his wives cell and said that she wasn’t coming ! he them seem to be upset ! But anyway , he (the judge) approved the disability ! and that he would receive a letter and that they DO NOT WANT ANY OF THE MONEY TO GO TO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL ! HE TOLD THE JUDGE AGAIN I DON’T DO DRUGS AND I DRINK ON OCCASIONS !( MY HUSBAND RETIRED (DISABILITY) FROM THE GOVERNMENT AT 45YRS OLD , HAS PSTD, DEPRESSION AND AFFECTIVE DIS) THE JUDGE SAID THAT HE WOULD BE EVALUATED IN 2YRS, BUT this is my question it has been 90days and when we have called SS office they say they don’t have anything on him ! we have called the court and they said they have nothing to just keep calling and checking !this wait has been a long wait it has taken 2 yrs to to get to this !thank god that it was approved but we are about lose our home ! How much longer will it take ? we have called the lawyer but we haven’t gotten a return call (be calling since jan2014 ) MY HUSBAND IS BACK IN THE HOSPITAL AS I TYPE THIS ! Can you please let us know how much long the wait will be ? thank you ! sorry this letter was so long.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Angela,

      You raise a few issues. First, Social Security law does not allow payment of disability caused by drug or alcohol addiction. Second, although the guideline is to get a decision from the judge within sixty days, it often exceeds that length of time. I suggest that you call the hearing office every couple of weeks. When you are told that the appeal is in the writing department that means the judge has written the decision and the long, detailed letter is waiting to be prepared in the letter drafting department. Hopefully, the judge will make his formal decision with the verbal decision he gave your husband at the time of the hearing. Once your husband gets the decision letter, if it is an approval it can take another sixty days to get payment.

      Next, I would contact Social Security with a written statement that the attorney did not attend the hearing. The attorney may not be eligible for full compensation given that she didn’t appear at the hearing.

      Lastly, be sure that Social Security knows that your husband is getting a government pension. There is a limit to the amount of government pension and Social Security disability that can be received if the government pension is based on work that was not also covered by Social Security taxation. The government pension offset results in a reduction in Social Security, although the two benefits equal more than either one by itself.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Angela says:

        Thank you for the reply , the judge knew about the retirement for the government and the government say that since it’s a medical retirement that he had to apply for SSD . We also know that people on drugs or alcohol addiction don’t qualify ( he is nether one ) Our thing was that it was said and how the judge said it ! Also thank you so much on the information with the attorney situation . Thank You Angela

  27. Alan says:

    60 days after the hearing? I’ve been waiting 150 days! Yes, I’ve called and they keep saying it needs to be written up! And they say they can’t tell me what the decision is! I received a state of cal benefits ID card in the mail. I looked it up online and the state of cal-health and human services says I got my bic because I was approved for ssi. That’s pretty rock solid that I was approved, I’d say. But I’ve been getting bent over by similar claims about my claim from day 1. It’s likely that it was sent by mistake or as a joke. That sounds crazy, I know. But I’d bet money (if I had any) or my home (oops, don’t have one of those either) that it’s something along those lines. By the way, I need to clarify that I’m not on my sisters couch homeless, I’m the church bushes homeless. I do have a phone though.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alan,

      One important thing before I forget: do you have a reliable address to receive mail and does Social Security and the hearings office have that address?

      I would go to the office in which you applied (not the hearing office) and tell them about the discrepancy (hearings office says letter not written yet, but online says approved SSI)and ask them whether they have received a copy of the hearing decision letter. The person you are talking to at the hearing office is looking at a computer and reading what the computer says. If someone forgot to update the computer after the letter went out, it could be that you have been approved and the letter has been written and somehow the letter to you didn’t reach you. Or, as you indicated, the error may be in the information forwarded to the California HHS. (By the way, if you have been approved, let Social Security know that you are homeless and need more than the usual first installment of back pay for first and last months rent and rental and utility deposits.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  28. michelle says:

    Hi! My 6 yo had court on march 14 2014, the judge approved his SSDI do i have to wait for the letter or will SS already know i need to set up a bank account in his name and bring info to my social security office. Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michelle,

      Your six-year-old would be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), not Social Security Disability (SSDI). You do need to receive the letter from the judge before payments can begin. Once you and the Social Security office have received the written decision, you will have to provide a financial update for your family from the date you filed the application through present. If you have not been contacted by the Social Security office within ten days of your receiving the approval letter, contact the office to set up an appointment for the interview.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  29. robert bell says:

    I had my hearing on 9/23/13. I called hearing office 3/10/14. The woman said I had a fully favorable decision. I called back Wednesday and they said the judge’s decision is being printed and I should be receiving it in 2 to 3 weeks. So my question is… do I believe what they tell me on the phone at the hearing office? Please help. The wait is Nerve racking!!!!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robert,

      Usually a decision will not be revealed over the phone, but perhaps yours was because it is past writing and in printing. Of course, errors can happen, but at this point there is no reason to doubt the information you received.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  30. Loss, Confused ,and overwhelmed says:

    Yes , I’m writing to you to ask some questions that maybe , hopefully you can answer. My ex husband who i now take care ,(2 yrs now !! he was staying with our 24 yr old daughter ) has had his hearing in November 2013 and we have heard anything ! i have called the SS Office and was told that there was a hearing in Nov of 2014 and that it was beyond 60 days that he should just keep calling the office and try calling the court to check , so we called the court last Friday , and i was shocked with how horribly the woman that answered the phone spoke to him !!! She told he that he ALREADY HAD HIS DAY IN COURT WITH THE JUDGE ! THAT HE NEEDED TO JUST WAIT BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE AHEAD OF HIM! And we stated to her that the judge said at that hearing that he was approved and that he would be reevaluated every 2 yrs ? !? SHE SAID “AND ” LOOK THE JUDGE HASN’T EVEN WRITING ANYTHING YET! SO WHEN DOES IT WILL GO TO THE WRITERS THEN BACK TO THE JUDGE AND TO LOOK TO WAIT AT LEASE 90DAY OR MORE ! SHE HAD THE NASTIEST ATTITUDE EVER ! (he has been diagnosed memory loss ,schizophrenia and sever depression , he has been in and out of the hospital !) MY question is that it has been 4 months already ! why is there an other 3 month wait ! he needs his meds ! he needs therapy but it I can’t afford all of the sessions, Money is tight ! he has loss his home and car in this 3 1/2 yr wait ! (2 )does the judge think that in 2yrs he wont have mental issues ? (3) Is there anyway that the women that answered the phone can be reported !?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lost,

      It is unfortunate that the employee was rude. The base message is, however, accurate. All your ex-husband and you can do is wait. Apparently, there is quite a backlog since she mentioned other earlier claims ahead of your ex-husband’s. The wait is due to under staffing, which in turn is related to government funding.

      During the wait, I suggest that your husband contact the drug companies that manufacture the medications he has been prescribed. Many of them offer free medications for short periods of time. Another option would be to check with his physician to see whether samples are available or with large pharmacy chains to see whether his medications are in the group with very low prices for people without prescription insurance.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  31. dbrown says:

    hi i had a hearing march 7 i was asked question about my disability and i answer the question to the best of my ability and the ve said that i can work when the judge asked if a person can sit,stand,walk 6 hour out of a 8 hour work day with the normal breaks and the the judge asked the same question with a difference RCF which was can only stand,and sit for 30 min and can only lift no more then 10 pounds and has to take periodcal breaks and then he ask can i do my past job the VE said no and then he asked if i can work 2 hours a day the VE said no is that a good thing

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear D.,

      Without being at the hearing, it is difficult to understand why the judge is inquiring about three different set of limitations. I can say that if the judge believes that you can work only two hours a day, it is very likely that your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  32. mark says:

    Hi please help Had My remand hearing from appeals council in early January VE said I could not do any of my past work, She did have three jobs listed that she thought I could do however when my lawyer cross examined her she ruled them out and the VE said no I would not be able to do those considering the other implications that lawyer stated. Is this a good thing if it pertains to a remand issue that relates to evidence not being considered the first hearing. If in that evidence that the judge did not evaluate or give any weight to now gives light to limitations of state hired evidence that he did not consider the first time. The remand letter had listed 4 or 5 things the judge had to do and one of them refered to stone vs heckler and consider evidence of the state hired examiner also consider my weight as it makes other illnesses worse. How important was it for my lawyer to get the VE to agree and say there would be no jobs I could do under her hypothetical thank you the decision is in edit with the judge, I hope to god I can get this my family is suffering because of me.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mark,

      It is very important that the vocational expert testified upon cross examination that she could not identify jobs you could perform. It is not possible to say for sure, but it would appear that an approval is possible.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  33. Patricia says:

    I had a hearing scheduled February 11, 2014 and because of winter storm my hearing was canceled. When I called a few days later to find out about my rescheduled date I was told it was sent to typing. That a decision had been made and it was being written up can I conclude that I have a pretty good chance at having a favorable decision? It was sent to be typed on February 18. If it is not favorable then I would have been denied my hearing. Your thoughts.

  34. Stressed says:

    I had my disability hearing Dec 12, 2013 and have not received any denial nor approval letter. Today is March 20,2014, going on four months since hearing. I had an attorney, and in checking with his office regularly, they still haven’t received anything either. The VE at the hearing said that there are no transferable skills that I can do now nor in the future. Although my attorney told me it would still take 2-3 months, it’s now almost been four months. My attorney also told me that since I am 60 and the VE said the things I needed to win my case, I won. So how much longer to I need to wait?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Stressed,

      I suggest that you call the hearing office to find out whether your claim has received a decision and gone into the letter writing stage. That would give you some idea of how much longer you might have to wait. If no decision has been made, it will likely be at least a month or six weeks longer. If it is letter writing, hopefully you will have a decision with six weeks.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  35. Stressed says:

    Dear Kay-
    as a continuance of my last email just an hour ago, I know you can’t tell me if I REALLY won my case. Sometimes I believe attorneys tell you what you want to hear. Anyway I filed initially in June 2012, my trial wasn’t until 18 months later in Dec 2013. As I mentioned, my attorney told me that everything the VE said was in my favor, and that I cannot work and have no transferable skills according to the govt guidelines. Do you think I won? My attorney’s office doesn’t ever call unless I call or go to his office, and last I checked, March 17, 2014, they told me that they only call to check on my case every 2 months. So shouldn’t they be following up more often? Is it a case of the longer it takes the more the attorney makes? THANKS SOOO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME KAY!
    Stressed

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Stressed,

      Please see my response to your first posting regarding following up with the hearings office. Your attorney’s fees are based on billable hours he and his staff work on your behalf, not on the number of days or months that your claim pends.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  36. da love says:

    Sorry mistake HEY I had a hearing on March 18th after all the questions was ask and I answer at end he ask the medical examiner is their any job out for me he said yes their light sendtaiy work so does that mean (light sendtaiy work )mean so the judge Ask would I be able to do my past jobs ;the examiner said no she can’t so at end the judge said he will get back at me soon and good luck so I was trying to make sense of what good luck mean for me -

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Da,

      If you are under age fifty and can perform light or sedentary work, it is likely that your claim will be denied. If you are age fifty or over and unable to do past work, then your claim may be approved. (I’m not sure what the judge intended to say when he said “good luck.”)

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  37. da love says:

    Sorry mistake HEY I had a hearing on March 18th after all the questions was ask and I answer at end he ask the medical examiner is their any job out for me he said yes their light sendtaiy work so does that mean (light sendtaiy work )mean so the judge Ask would I be able to do my past jobs ;the examiner said no she can’t so at end the judge said he will get back at me soon and good luck so I was trying to make sense of what good luck mean for me –
    I have (fibromyalgia )(my back is 45% damages) (depression) (high blood pressure) arthritis) anxiety) (nerves damages in my feet and with all the going on I can’t sleep at all I might can get an hour or two of sleep so can you give me and something about what you think what he mean when he said good luck and I ask my lawyer WHAT HE THINK HE SAID WE GOT IT WE SHOULD HERE SOMEHING IN A MONTH OH I WENT TO THE DOCTOR APPT ON MARCH 20 THE CHANGE MY MEDS AND SAID THEY WANT TO PUT SOMETHING IN MY BACK LIKE A ELECTRICITY WHEN THE PAIN START ITS SUPPOSE TO CALM IT DOWN I GUESS I TRIED EVERYTHING STILL HELP PAIN ALL DAY EVERYDAY AND NIGHT WINTER SPRING AND FALL SUMMER

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Da,

      Please see my response to your previous posting in which I indicated that if you are under age fifty your claim might be denied. You have now written that your attorney thinks that you won the hearing. Since I wasn’t there, I suggest you accept your attorney’s opinion until you get the final decision.

      Sincerely.

      Kay

  38. Denise says:

    Hi,

    Question. I received fully favorable decision from an ALJ in December of 2013 for both SSI and SSDI. I only received payments and some backpay for SSI and nothing no letter money payments from SSD. I have called local office about SSD payments frequently to check status and they said that it is at payment center but no action has been taken yet. SSI payments are only $800 and I should be receiving SSDI in amount of $1800. Why is it taking so long? It is going on four months after judge issued letter.

    Also, as an aside, can IRS take entire backpay amount out of SSDI for a big tax debt. They did not take it from the small SSI back payment amount. Thanks.

    Since Social Security only payed me a small portion of retro benefits, is there a way to get the rest releases for housing, dental, eyewear, bills, etc.?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Denise,

      If you are due more SSI back pay in installments, you can request additional back pay for housing and medical, but there are some narrow guidelines for releasing the payments and your situation might not qualify. As far as your SSDI goes, ask the local Social Security office to follow up to the payment center to make sure that the payment center knows that the SSI claim has been processed both for ongoing and back pay.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  39. Ann Frient says:

    Hi, I was initially denied for disability from the judge in my hearing. Let me just say he seemed very hostile and very critical towards my case and so we appealed his decision with an attorney. Before I had only a representative that sat there in court and let the judge just railroad me. I received a letter on January 13th that the Appeals Court would make a finding in my favor for a partial part of my case which was 2 out of the last three years just basically saying that the first year they didn’t find that I qualified due to my disability. They gave me 30 days to appeal and with my lawyers and I choose not to appeal their decision and sent them a letter in writing letting them know I wouldn’t appeal the first year. It is now March 23rd and I’m still waiting to find out anything. Do you know how long it takes for them to go from we will make a decision to find you disabled to them making me disabled. I have found there is a difference between those two statements. Thanks for any information you can provide. Just as added information if I call the Social Security Office at first they could only see that it was still pending. Now if I call they can tell me that the letter was sent
    and that it could take up to a year for me to get the actual affirmative decision rather than the… we will find you disabled. They even gave me a date stating it would be back dated from November of 2012.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ann,

      I do not know how long it will take for you to get the actual favorable determination; however, you do have something to celebrate in that the appeal council has said they will approve your claim instead of remanding it to the judge for another hearing. Once you get the decision it can take an additional few weeks or more to get payment started.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  40. Lisa says:

    My question is as follows: My son(who is only 7) had a disability hearing on September 26, 2013. The judge request tests to be preformed. We had them done on Nov. 4th and Nov. 6th. disability received the results on Nov.12th and Nov. 22nd. Now when I call the hearing office they say a decision has been made, but they can not let me know the answer until the case has been written up. Now to my question:How long do the underwriters have to write up the decision? I have found out that my son’s case has been sitting in the underwriters dept. since December. Is it normal to take this long? Any answer would be helpful.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lisa,

      How long a case sits waiting to have the decision letter written up depends on how big the backlog of work is. That said, the person answering the phone is looking at a computer to answer your questions. If you have an attorney, I suggest checking with the attorney to be sure that he or she has not received a letter. If not, all you can do is wait.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  41. T jones says:

    I have my hearing on jan 27th 2014. Up until now I have not hear a word from social security. Please advise.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Terry,

      Although the guideline is for judges to render a decision within sixty days, many cases take longer. I suggest that you call the hearings office to find out whether the decision is still pending or it has been made and your claim is in the letter writing department.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  42. Zonetta Shorter says:

    Pls.help!I went to court before the judge on Jan.27,2014.i decision has been made but hasn’t been assigned to decision writers as of today,03-25-2014′whats could possibly be taking so long?I called the hearing office and stated I was on pins and neddles with the wait,the rep.suggested I write a dire need letter to speed up recieving decision,do you think she would’ve made that suggestion for an unfavorable decision?seeing how she already knows the decision?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Zonetta,

      Well, your logic is good. One would think she wouldn’t suggest a dire need letter if the decision were a denial. No guarantees, though.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  43. da love says:

    Can you answer my question?

  44. Jack says:

    I just wanted to say that I had a hearing with the ALJ on March 5 of this year and received my fully favorable (praise the Lord) on March 20. I am only 24 years old and my disablilities are complications caused by Diabetes and severe GI issues (I was diagnosed with Diabetic Gastroparesis AFTER my hearing). I did NOT have a lawyer represent me only because all 4 lawyers refused to take my case, I heard excuses like “you’re too young”, “you don’t have a solid work history or whatever”, and “diabetes alone won’t get you disability”, and “I don’t have enough time to gather medical records”. It was all BS, they were afraid they would waste their time and not get paid. I am not advising anyone to NOT get a lawyer but to choose someone that will listen and actually who cares. When I heard the excuses about my age and work history, I was very upset as it had NOTHING to do with my incapabilities to work or even function on a daily basis. Two of the four lawyers didn’t ask what my medical conditions were nor did I get a chance to explain. As for the lawyer who said Diabetes alone won’t get me disability, he never listened carefully as I explained the re-occurring episodes of nausea and vomiting, constipation/diarrhea, dizziness/fatigue and vertigo which made managing my diabetes nearly impossible and led to over 11 hospitalizations from dehydrations and Diabetic Ketoacidosis. As for the “I don’t have time” mumbo jumbo, I requested ALL medical information from all my doctors and the hospital and carefully read through everything and found that the medical records says it all. I felt that I don’t need a lawyer to say what isn’t already in my records, then I decided I will just lay it all flat out on the table to the judge how I go about the day on a daily basis. I know some people may think “well if she has time to write this and look on her computer she may not be disabled”, but almost every day is actually a big struggle for me. Of course I am able to write this, but if you have heard of or have gastroparesis then you know the everyday misery of a bad stomach ache, nausea/vomiting and fatigue/dizziness. I feel like I have a stomach bug and have been hit by a train all at the same time. Some days it gets worse, my blood sugars will act up and I get extremely weak to where I can’t move out of bed, not even to go to the bathroom hardly and I have to skip showering on some days because I am too weak to stand in the shower, and I use a shower chair most of the times. I barely make myself anything to eat, although most of my diet is yogurt and smoothies or some type of liquidy/velvety soup. But honestly, if you truly know you are disabled and truly struggle on a day to day basis then you know you deserve the benefits. If you try to to fight for disability based on pain, social or mental disorders, or if you try to constantly come up with numerous and random things than you may want to hire a GOOD lawyer. I am not sure how long it will take for benefits for me, but I am just really very thankful that I have been approved. I just wanted to share my story for others. I don’t think my condition will get better, but I hope and pray every day because I don’t want to live sick every day the rest of my life nor be dependent on SSI/SSDI. Good Luck to all who deserve it!!

  45. Rose Y Vick Castillo says:

    Help me…
    I am on workers comp in tx and I applied to SSDI also. Well after I applied to SSDI
    I received a “Direct express card ” in the mail. Then DARS calls me up and sends me to a psychiatrist to determined if im depressed. Well,, I did thr interview and now the rep from DARS CANNOT GIVE ME HIS DECISION OVER THE PHONE. SO HE GIVES ME A NAME TO A CASEWORKER NAMED E. HORTON HERE IN TEXAS. I CALL AND NO ANSWER
    I JUST WANT A ANSWER TO SEE MY STATUS…. ITS EATING ME UP! IM IN PAIN AND All of wc is just feeling me up and throwing me to the street pimps FEEL ME..? HELLLLLLLP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rose Y Vick Castillo says:

      And… How do I get paid from ssdi ans workers comp. Is there a formula?
      Please advise. Thanks again.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Rose,

        You can receive both workers compensation and Social Security Disability, but the amount from the two combined is limited to 80% of your average current monthly earnings as calculated by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA states that the formula for the calculations depends on the circumstances of the claim. If you are awarded both, you can ask Social Security to explain their calculation.

        Sincerely,

        Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rose,

      The Social Security Administration and the Disability Determining Services of your state agency have policies that prohibit giving out decisions over the phone, so you are not being singled out.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  46. Rose Y Vick Castillo says:

    By the way I am not being rude to anyone here… you all are finr ppl
    THANKS!!!!!!!!!!

  47. rob says:

    hey kay i have a question i had a hearing on feb 26th and was awarded a partial decision to change onset date then and there and signed the form! it has been in unassigned writing since since the 3rd of march why is it taking so long to come out and get written up? also once your awarded a decision in court it can’t be changed right? also once it comes out of writing how long before i can expect to see my first check? also just to let u know it’s now year 4 since i filed so this is why i am a little bit anxious for the letter since it’s been 4 years just to get the alj hearing done and over with but now that it’s over with i’m just wondering why it’s taking so long when it’s sitting in unassigned writing for a month.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      It can take quite a while for the hearing decision letter to be written up because it has to wait its turn. Once you get the letter, it can take a few weeks to a couple months to get payment started. Typically monthly benefits are started before back pay is released.

      Once you actually receive the written approval, the decision will not be changed unless new evidence is received that would make the decision incorrect (such as work activity that Social Security did not know about). Prior to the decision letter being sent, a certain number of hearing decisions are picked randomly for quality assurance. If selected, your claim has to go through that review before the decision is finalized and the letter sent.

      One other point, if your claim may be approved with a disability review date, which is a date in the future that the Social Security Administration will review your claim to see whether you are still disabled. These reviews are usually one, three, five, or seven years in the future, depending on the likelihood of medical improvement.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  48. rob says:

    i also have 1 more question also i forgot to ask this! but if i have been on foodstamps do i have to re-pay them all the money i have got from them with my back pay? or is that only for cash asst? i’m in the state of florida. from what i have been reading u only have to repay cash asst! but not food stamps. can u let me know so i know which it is! thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      I have never heard of anyone in any state paying back the value of food stamps.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  49. jennifer says:

    Hi my question is i appeal for ssdi i call them and they told me part of my case is pending and the other part is accepted what that could be thank u

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      The information you got could mean that you have been medically approved, but review of the non-medical eligibility factors is still being reviewed. To be certain, you could ask them what they mean, specifically what has been approved and what is still pending. Also ask whether you need to provide any information for the part that is pending.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  50. Pam says:

    I had my hearing just a few days ago, and the ALJ asked the VE for jobs i could do with my issues. The VE could only find flower picker does this bode well for me or is that bad? It’s only been a few days but the judge said i would know in 30 days.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pam,

      The vocational expert did identify a job that you could perform, which could mean a denial; however, the range of occupations seems a bit narrow. I cannot predict the decision you will receive.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  51. rob says:

    hey kay since i last wrote u my case has been finally assigned to a writer! so now it’s now moved to from unassigned writing to now assigned writer and it’s now being written up! how long does it take for the writer to write up my letter for partial approval? when i went to court the judge said he was awarding my claim and i signed the partial agreement there at the court room. so my question is how long does it take for them to write up the letter? i’m guessing it should only take a day to write up the letter because it can’t take to long to write up a letter of approval! because i mean how long could it take to write up a case i mean for them to work an 8 hour day it should not take somebody to write up a case more then a day because it’s only 10 pages or less it’s not like it’s a book or something. i’m just wondering because so that way it can be closed out mailed to me and sent to the payment center so that way i can finally get paid and get my medicare and medicade! and over 2 years of backpay thanks! also i was still wondering about if i have to payback the food stamps i been getting for all these years from what i’ve read is that u don’t have to payback food stamps u only have to payback cash asst. which i do not get the only thing i get is food stamps thanks! by the way i’m in Florida if that makes a difference

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      Please see my response of earlier today regarding your food stamp question.

      How long it takes for the judge’s decision letter to be written after it is assigned to a writer depends on how many letters the writer already has assigned and has to complete before yours. Also, the letter goes back to the judge for the judge to check to be sure there are no errors in it. All that means it could be a couple weeks before you get the letter.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  52. Vickie says:

    My boyfriend has been through Hell! Why is there no do process? I could not believe the first denial..crazy. The man can not even stand up! Went to judge Jan. 9, 2014. Judge stated to lawyer it was approved. April 2, 2014 and now very confused! March 3 we called ALJ and was told it is at the decision writer. Called march 17 and was told it is waiting to be signed by judge. called march 24 and told it was in the mail. lawyer called on march 25 and said it was in editing. Called this morning and was told it is waiting for the judge to sign….?
    What is going on?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vickie,

      I think that this is what has happened: the judge made the decision; the letter was written and sent to the judge for signature; the judge found an error in it and sent it back to be edited. If that’s the case, the letter will go back to the judge to be signed. The conflicting information may have been caused by your calling after the judge showed it leaving him and before the editing department input into the computer that they’d received it, so that the person who said it was in the mail, thought it was.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  53. Zoe says:

    My son is 24 years old and he recently applied for SSi,his psychaitrist completed a mental health functional capacity form on his behalf,which stated his prognosis is moderate to severe,cannot be around or work around people without becoming stress.he suffers from psychotic disorders.all medical records have been submitted to DDS,upon speaking with his claim examiner she stated she has everything she needs.question one is it good that she’s (so far) is not requesting another medical evaluation?second question,do you think he’s chances of being approved are good?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Zoe,

      The examiner’s statement that she has all she needs means that she can make either an approval or denial decision based on the evidence that has been submitted. This is good news in the sense that your son will get a decision more quickly than if he were sent for an examination. If he is denied and he believes there are no jobs he can do that are sufficiently distance from interpersonal contact, then he should appeal with legal representation. He can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. He does not have to pay any legal fees up front, and he will pay attorney fees only if he is approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from his retroactive award at the time they send his back pay to him. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  54. Elaine says:

    I’m 50 years old,my case was heard before judge on jan 28,2014.the judge stated I could only do sedanary work,the VE vocational expert stated I could do no past work and I don’t have any transferable skills,the judge asked her was there any jobs I could do,she named afew then the judge stated are there any that would allow her to lay down and rest?the voc replied no jobs,zero tolerance.of the jobs she did name,my attorney cross examined her and asked her,of the jobs she named,was there any that I could do that wouldn’t require for me to bend my head downward,the VE said no jobs,do you think with all stated above I should have favorable decision.judge made decision same day of hearing but my case still hasn’t been assigned to decision writer.please give me your expert advice?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Elaine,

      As you describe the testimony, given that you are over age fifty, I think the judge’s decision may be an approval. You said that the judge’s decision was made the same day, but the claim has not been assigned to a decision writer. From that, I understand that the judge verbally said he was approving your claim, but he has not completed the work necessary to formalize the decision and send it to a writer. Check back every two weeks. Once it gets to the decision writer, it can take a couple weeks to over a month for it to go back to the judge for signature and mailing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  55. Rich says:

    Hi,I’m 24 years old,I filed for SSi,my psychaitrist completed a mental capacity form that states prognosis is moderate to severe.i haven’t been asked to go for more mental evaluation by DDS.i spoke with my claim examiner and she said claim still under review and she has everything she needs,my dr.said I cannot work and socialize with ant situation that would cause stress,when asked if I could work,my dr.states only if it was a low stress job and I worked alone.my diagnosis is psychotic with episodes.do you think it will be favorable?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rich,

      Your claim may be approved if it is determined that your stated limitations as described by your psychiatrist are supported and if there are no occupations you can perform given your limitations. If your claim is denied and you believe you cannot perform any occupations that are identified, you should appeal with legal assistance.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  56. rob says:

    hey kay my decision was finally approved yesterday so i went to court feb 25th decision was sent to unassigned writing on the 3rd of march then went to an assigned writer on the 28th of march and then it was signed and approved yesterday on april 1st 2014 yesterday yes! i already knew the decision since i was approved at the hearing! but i read online that the judge could change his mind which kinda had me on pins and needles! so i called my lawyer today and they said it was closed and approved and they printed out the approval letter today and i’m having my family go pick it up for me so i can take it to social security to start payment! my question is now that i have the approval letter when i go down to social security to give them my banking information how long does it take to get my backpay and my payment? thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      It is good news that you have been approved. Wait about five days from the date on the letter before going in to Social Security to allow time for the information to make it through the system and be set up in the local office. It can take as much as sixty days or more for payment to be started.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  57. rob says:

    hey kay i have 1 more question sorry about all the questions. but anyway here it is. like i said i got my approval letter from my lawyer today.i call SS on the phone the main office and asked them about setting up payment to get direct express. i didn’t give the lady any of my info because she did not ask for it and seemed like she didn’t want to be bothered. she told me that i could not set up any kind of payment info intill SS sent me a paper in the mail for an interview to ask me about non medical stuff about my income and who i live with and stuff like that because i was approved for ssdi and ssi. so she told me that i could not do anything intill they send me the paperwork to have an interview. but my lawyer told me that i should call or go down to the social security office with the approval letter that they gave me so that i can move the process along to get my express card and to try and move the hole interview process along so i don’t wait for months on end for them to send me a letter or call me because she said that could take for ever because they ain’t in no rush to do anything! so i should call or go see them to try and get the interview done and also set up banking. or i could just wait for them to call me which can take 2 months for them to even call me which is kinda crazy on it’s self since i’ve been waiting 4 years already. so should i call the local office tomorrow or go down there and show them the paper to set payment account and try to get the interview done with so i can move onto the next step of payment?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      I recommend going to the office. Once you are there, you may be asked to make an interview and come back on a given date, but that will still get the ball rolling.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  58. rob says:

    hello kay i called my local social security office today and they looked up all my information and set up payment for direct express. but my question is which i don’t understand is when i asked about my backpay for my ssdi which is about 16 grand and the back pay for ssi which is about 2 grand. i’m getting around 620 in ssd and ssi onlky pays out 721 max so since i’m’ getting 620 in ssd that ssi will only pay me about 101.00 plus since i have in kind income since i live with my parents they will take a 1/3 of the 100 bucks so probly only get around 60 bucks or so a month in ssi! if i even get that much then the lady stated to me that since i am getting ssd around 16 grand that i won’t get all that money that they will will make it in a bunch of installments because then i will make to much money to get ssi if they give me all my backpay all at once! which i think is a bunch of crap so basically they are going to hold up 16 grand in backpay for a 60 bucks a month in ssi? my question is i was told by my attorney that i can sign a form to waive the ssi amount so i just collect ssdi in the 620 a month and get the hole 16 grand up front in back pay from the ssdi! my question is if i sign a form to waive the ssi application after i get paid the backpay from ssdi can i reapply for the ssi in 6 months? so basically i waive the ssi now so i lose the backpay in the ssi and the on going 60 bucks or so a month and then in 3-6 months from now can i sign up to get the ssi started once i pay all my bills and spend all the ssdi back pay? because i think it’s a bunch of crap that i have to wait all these months because u can’t have more then like 2 grand or something to collect ssi! so they are going to pay me 2 grand in backpay in ssi and then make me wait for the 16 grand in ssdi and pay me 2 grand every 6 months for like what 4 years lol and i hear a bunch of stories where people never see that money i would rather just waive the ssi and just collect the ssdi so that way i get all the money upfront and not have to wait 4 years to collect everything because i think it’s crazy to make me wait for money when i’m entitled to it! espically make me wait all them years to collect on my ssdi when it’s only like 50 bucks a month in ssi. so just to give me an extra 50 bucks a month they are going to hold 16 grand in backpay i mean does that sound crazy or what! because my lawyer said the same thing that alot of people waive the ssi because to get an extra 50 bucks a month it costs u all your ssdi backpay and they make u wait years on end because u can’t have more thenn a few grand at any time in the bank i mean what kinda crap is that! so like i said if i do decide to waive my ssi now to get all my backpay from ssdi can i reapply and get my ssi 3-6 months from now as long as i don’t have any money left from the ssdi backpay?

  59. Steve T Hernandez says:

    Hi Kay , i went to my hearing with ALJ on feb10,14, my attorney was present,wheni got hearing i was giveing a floppy disc by social security she said my medical records were on it my attorney checked it was blank my ,attorney alldid not have ethier omg!!..my attorney said it was ok becuse..could tell judge my limitations,i found this be odd because attorney pre ample time get them..i felt hearing went well,iam 63 yrs old heart issues,diabetes..,off work 2yrs..but no decision as of yet..iam worried..because judge has wait..for my records..do you think it in writting?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      I do not understand your question, “Do you think it in writing?” Could you please explain a bit more what it is you are asking.

      Thanks,

      Kay

  60. ajb says:

    Kay, I had my hearing feb 28 2014, my attorney stated that she pretty much is 100% positive that i am approved. So i called on April 1 and the stated it was sent to the judge to review the paper work the developed and from there it would be sent out in 2 weeks from april 1st. Is that accurate? Also, my attorney adviced right after my hearing that they are back paying me from the day I became disabled Sept of 2010 they take off 5 months she adviced from that. I filed in sept of 2012. How will my back pay work on that they are back paying to 2010 how many months is that. Also, I have never set up a bank account with SS dont they send you a debit card now that is loaded or do they send you a paper check and then you change everything from there? Thank you for your help

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear AJB,

      If you are approved based on an original application of September 2012, your back pay will begin September 2011. Once you receive an approval letter from the judge, you can take the letter to Social Security and discuss your payment options. You can request the first payment be a check so that you can set up a bank account for future direct deposit; or if your prefer, you can request a DirectExpress debit card.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • ajb says:

        Dear Kay thank you for your response…I have an update however I recieved a letter yesterday SAT in the mail that states that I need to come in on April 14th at 9am at my local office where I filed to do a review of living arrangments…my concern is that it states that it is to see whether or not if i would be able to get SSI> Kay, I worked 10 years prior to my onset date of 2010 when I stopped working I made $24.15 an hour, yearly I made in the low $30,000 each of those years and even if they count back from when i filed in 2012 i still worked 6 of the 10 years ive paid more then enough to get SSDI Im confused i should be getting SSDI not SSI….are they just asking me to come in to see if i would qualify for both i know i would not because i was told i am to draw $1600 to $1500 each month. This is worring me I just dont get the SSI statment in the letter the review i am not worried about its the wording of referring to SSI that concerns me…. what do you think? Please give your advice on this…..Also 2nd question the attorney adviced me after my hearing i had in late feb that the judge is ruling that i am to be backed paid to my onset date of 2010 not 2012 when i filed that would be 4 years of back pay how does that work…and 3rd question once I do go to the Local social security office as requested on April 14th by their letter does that mean I will be getting some type of money ..backpay or my regular monthly earnings how much longer do you think after I go there next Monday will it take. Sorry Kay I know this is alot to answer but you have great needed knowledge for us that are new to this process.,,,thank you again AJB

        • ajb says:

          Oh Also Kay on the bottome of the letter it did state that the Administrative judge found me to be diabled…i forgot to add that to the post above

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Ajb,

          The Social Security Administration is reviewing to see whether you qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for months before the Social Security starts. You will not be eligible for SSI once you start to actually receive Social Security.

          SSI back pay, if you are eligible, will begin the month after October 2012, the month after you applied unless you applied on the first of September and then benefits will start in September. Your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits will begin September 2011, twelve months prior to the date of your application. This maximum retroactivity is possible because your earlier 2010 disability onset date was approved.

          It can take from a couple weeks to a couple months after the interview to get payments started. The order of payment is usually SSI monthly, SSI backpay (in installments if it is over $2,163), SSDI monthly (though it might precede the SSI back pay), and then SSDI back pay. SSDI back pay will be reduced by SSI already paid to you for the same months. (Note: SSI is not taxable and Social Security can be partially taxable depending on your overall income for the year, so there can be some advantage to getting part of your back pay in the form of SSI.)

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • ajb says:

            Kay I did not qualify for SSI I earn to much per month, however everything according to the lady I spoke with Monday about SSI she stated there was no need for me to come in she would advice the payment center in Baltimore, MD that to go forward and process my SSDI she stated that being I did not qualify for SSI that SSDI will be one check for all the back pay is this true?..she explained they only do installment payments when you have earned a large amount of SSI only with SSI do they do back pay installments payments she stated the Judge sent everything to the Payment center on April 2nd..she explained that it should be in a couple of weeks I should start recieving something however she explained they have up to 60 days to process payments, but that normally never takes that long …so based on what I was told how close is the accuracy on what the rep said from my local SS office.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Ajb,

            The information the representative gave you sounds accurate.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

          • ajb says:

            Thanks Kay for all your great insight on the process of my SSDI. I have a question for you Kay when should I start counting the days should it be when the payment center recieved my info from the judge on April 2nd or when I spoke to my local SSA office on April 7th when she adviced I dont qualify for SSI and sent that info to the payment center On April 7th ..out of those 2 dates when do I start my counting the days and weeks. Thank you Kay

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear AJB,

            Start counting from April 7, the day the claim was sent to the payment center. I believe the local office is allowed to follow up every thirty days, but it can take up to ninety days to get payment.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

    • ajb says:

      Dear Kay sorry, you may give me a differnt response I need to reword my prior email sorry let me try again to see if it is April 2nd or April 7th… which 1 out of the two should I start counting.

      The payment center recieved my file on April 2nd from the judge.

      But I had to speak to the local SSA office in regards to if I qualified for SSI, which she adived I did not.
      So, from there she explained that she would advice the payment center that I dont get SSI. That information she sent to the payment center on the 7th.

      So, now I made a clearer picture what do you think still April 7th or when the judge sent it on April 2nd to the payment center…I thought maybe they couldnt move forward at the payment center on April 2nd because they did not know as of yet I didnt qualify for the SSI which the local office said she would advice them I dont or does that not matter do they still start the process anyways?

      Thank You Kay

  61. rob says:

    Hey Kay I have a few more questions for you. 1st question is I was approved April 1st by ALJ how long before I see my 1st check and backpay? my 2nd question is I am getting both ssdi and ssi I am getting almost 700 in ssdi and like only 30 bucks in ssi I was told that since I am getting a few bucks in ssi they are going to withhold my back pay and send me installments due to the whopping 20-30 bucks in ssi! which I think is bullcrap! I was told that I can waive my ssi so I can get all my backpay all at once so I don’t have to wait years on end to get my backpay! my question is if I waive my ssi can I reapply for my ssi in like 3-6 months from now! because from my understanding if I waive my ssi then I am not eligible for Medicaid or the state won’t help u pay for your medicare either! because from my understanding if u get ssi not only do u get Medicaid but u also get your medicare part A B AND D FREE FROM THE STATE THAT THEY PAY your premiums but if u don’t get SSI then they don’t pay for it and u don’t get Medicaid! so if I waive my ssi part and only take my ssdi can I reapply and get the ssi 6 months from now?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      This comment is in response to both your postings. You bring up several questions. First, Social Security Disability (SSDI) back pay is not ever paid in installments. Whether or not you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) back pay, the SSDI will be paid in a single payment. Second, SSI is paid in installments only if the SSI ack pay exceeds $2,163.

      If you do continue with your SSI claim, the SSDI back pay will be reduced by the SSI back pay for the same months because you cannot receive duplicate federal disability payments for the same months.

      Based on the information you gave, it sounds as if you will be eligible for SSI in the amount of $480.67 for months between when you applied and when you actually receive an SSDI check. (The one-third reduction is from the maximum of $721, not from a partial benefit). Once the SSDI checks actually start, to be eligible for SSI, you will have to pay your parents your share of shelter expenses and food expenses (or your share of shelter and buy your own food or move out and live alone). This is because the one-third reduction combined with your Social Security is more than the SSI income limit.

      If you stay on SSI, your back Social Security and SSI will not count toward the $2,000 resource limit for the first six months after you receive it. If you plan to either stay on SSI or withdraw your application and apply later, I recommend that you get a copy of the SSI rules on spending down resources.

      Should you decide to withdraw your SSI application, you can apply again in the future, but you would have to file an all new application. You are right that Medicaid will pay your Medicare premiums.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  62. Steve T Hernandez says:

    Dear Kay , my question is since no one had medical records alj hearing how long will inpact wait be ? And is it true longer the wait less favorable?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      I can’t predict how long it will take for you to get a decision. I do think it will depend in part on how long it takes to get the missing records to the judge. The length of the wait is not a sign of either approval or denial.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  63. Zoe says:

    Hi Kay, I’m writing to ask 2question,I had my hearing jan.27,2014.im 50 years old no transferable skills,high school graduate,cannot perform previous work,will automatically be approved with social security using the grid rule.the other question is pertaining to my son,how long will it take for DDS to make a decision,if they say they have all information needed.he filed on February 20,2014 at local social security office because his dr.completed a mental functional capacity form will that increase his chances of being approved?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Zoe,

      The judge will use all the evidence at hand to decide whether you are eligible.I cannot say whether he will use the grid. With regard to your son, new claims typically take two to five months to reach a decision. Some take longer.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  64. SHAMERA MOORE says:

    I WENT TO MY APPEAL HEARING FEB.12,2014 AND ITS APRIL 2014 DO YOU KNOW MUCH MORE LONGER IT WILL TAKE FOR ME TO RECEIVE A LETTER ITS FOR MY 13 YEAR OLD SON IM KIND OF NERVOUE WAITING ON THE DECISION HE HAS BEEN DENIED THREE TIME BUT SINCE THEN HE HAS MORE MEDICAL CONDITIONS DO YOU THINK HE WILL GET IT HE HAS ADHD.CHILD HOOD ANXIETY AND TRICHOTILLOMANIA

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shamera,

      I cannot predict the hearing decision or exactly how long it will be until you receive it. I suggest calling the hearing office every couple of weeks to see whether the decision has been made and the appeal has moved to the letter writing department. They will not tell you the decision over the phone; but if it has moved to writing, you will know that you are getting closer to getting the written decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Shamera Moore says:

        I called about two weeks ago they said the judge has made his decision and it with a decision writer does it take the same amout of time to write a approval letter as it does to writer a denial letter

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Shamera,

          It does take about the same amount of time to write a hearing decision approval or denial. In either case, the applicable law and all the basis for the decision has to be described.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  65. monique says:

    My hearing in front of the judge was Feb 21 2014 as of today my decision letter is waiting on the judge to sign it. How long do have before I receive my decision letter in the mail, and if approved how long will I start getting my payments and back pay? im in the state of Louisiana.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Monique,

      Unless the judge’s review of the letter reveals and error in the letter, I would expect that you would receive the letter within two weeks. It can take up to two months or longer for payment to start after you get the letter. Once you receive the letter, either go to a Social Security office with a copy of the letter or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and request an appointment to provide whatever is needed to get payment started.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  66. Zoe says:

    I called The hearing office again today,the customer service rep.said case still hasn’t been assign to decision writers,I had hearing jan.28,2014,when I called before the customer service rep.stated judge made decision same day of my hearing.the rep.told me today decision was made but she couldn’t see what decision is,my question for you,Kay is that true that customer service reps can’t see decisions that are unassigned?Also,I asked was it too late to send any additional medical documentation,she replied no it was not too late just hurry and get it in before it goes to the decision writers.Do you think she said that because she knows my case has been denied.? Now,concerning my son,I spoke with his claim examiner at DARS she stated she was trying to make a decision with the medical documents she has from my son psychaitrist but the DARS doctor wants him to go for a medical evaluation,why do you think the doctor wants medical evaluation?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Zoe,

      The hearings office does not give out hearing decisions verbally. I do not know whether the telephone representatives can see what decision has been rendered. If they cannot, then the representative’s saying to hurry up and send in additional information would not necessarily be an indicator of a pending denial. If you think the additional information will help your case, send it in. The claim will then be sent back to the judge, which will lengthen the time before you get a decision.

      With regard to your son’s claim, I believe you mean the DDS, not DARS. The DDS examiner makes a decision on a claim; however, that decision has to be reviewed by a physician before it is finalized. Apparently, the physician’s opinion was that there was not enough information, so an exam was requested. Be sure that you take your son to the exam or his claim may be denied.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  67. ajb says:

    Kay, is it faster to get your money if you set up direct deposit or for them to send a check in the mail then set it up…I was told for them to mail a 1st check for back pay is quicker then direct deposit..also if they do the back pay that way is that the way the will do your monthly benifit to by a paper check to start? thank u

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ajb,

      If Social Security has direct deposit information or a request for DirectExpress debit card, they will pay the first payment that way because it is less expensive for the government than sending a paper check. If they do not have direct deposit information, the first payment will be by check. That could be either the back pay or the monthly benefit. I suggest getting a bank account set up for receipt of Social Security now. Direct deposit is likely to be a little faster because there’s no mail time involved, just a couple computer runs.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  68. Danny says:

    Hello
    I filed April 2012 finally had my hearing on April 2nd this yr Judge was very nice my testimony was correct and true VE stated no jobs in national economy my lawyer and I informed judge that we are waiting on med statement frm nephrologist judge allowed 2 weeks to get in statement or she could make decision off what she had ..I felt like I won and my lawyer says looks like we won even without statement so gotta wait 6-8 weeks for decision my question is did VE saying no jobs at all that I could do in hypotheticals is that a sign of winning

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Danny,

      If the judge finds that your claimed limitations are valid, then the vocational expert’s testimony is a sign you could be awarded benefits.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  69. Jennifer says:

    Hi my name is Jennifer. I applied for disability in June 2012. I had my court date December 3,2013. I got a letter on the 12th of March saying I need to go an see another doctor . Why did it take over 3 months for them to tell me this? I went on March 20 to the appointment . U call the DDA about my case and was told last week the are waiting on the results to be looked over . Than I called this Monday was told that they have not gotten last test result. I feel like I am been lie to. What can you tell me?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      I doubt that you are being lied to. My guess is that between your last two calls they received the report they were waiting for and it was missing one of the test results or the judge requested some other test result that was mentioned in your records and it has not been received. It is not uncommon for it to take the judge a couple months or more to carefully review an entire claim file including all medical records. In your case, the judge’s review revealed that he still had questions about your condition and, thus, you were asked to go to a consultative examination.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  70. Steve T Hernandez says:

    Dear Kay , had my hearing with law judge on feb10,2014
    I called because it over 60days i was told the judges had nt. even. Started on my file she office personal isaid t. Would be another 6mos..wow !! ..this was so disappointing
    I called my attorney office find why she ..ther is no more 60day waiting time ..frame anymore its like more 4months after hearing because judges back logs.
    I have written a letter to Senator Feinstien to see if bumbs it sooner omg 2yrs such long wait it certainly needs inprove ther wait times

  71. ajb says:

    Kay, in my paper work the judge recommended a payee for me however, I dont have anyone that can do that. Even if the judge recommends that do have to have a payee? I am taking that as her suggestion not something I have to do but Im not sure. Can you advice me on this? thank u

    • ajb says:

      Also Kay the SSI interviewer over the phone from my local SSO never mentioned the payee issue to me at all when we went over whether or not I would qualify for SSI what should I do should I call and asvice who i want if I can figure it out or should I let it slid being she never mentioned it or will the payment center catch that the judge recommended it I dont know what to do know…I dont want to wait any longer for my check to statr and my back pay. It just seems to me that the girl i spoke with about my SSI at my SSO would have said something…also when I called the main SS line I requested a debit card thru social security they sent the request thru they never mentioned I needed a payee…will the payment center catch the recommendation or because their so over loaded do you think it go unnoticed..also my attorney never mentioned it …what should I do…and if you think I should call how much longer does that take cant they notify the payment center if I have to do that who to make the 1st check out to..and the SS debit card out to as well..being its still in the payment center would it be quick enough for them to turn that over into a payee’s name and me still be on schedulae as I am now to recive my 1st series of payments? Or do I just take a chance as so far noone has mentioned it but Im not sure do they catch it at the payment centers usually or should someone between my local SSO and the SS call center I called should’nt they have said hey you need a payee before we can issue yu any reg and back pay ..and if I did have to get a payee do they get my back pay in their name as well? HELP HELP..thank you Kay.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Ajb,

        First, please see my reply of a few minutes ago, which was a response to your first posting on April 12. This reply is to your second and third postings on April 12.

        Your comments seem to indicate that no conversation has occurred with the local office that is handling setting up payment of your benefits and that perhaps the information you got about getting a list of agencies and payments starting in your own name was general information from the Social Security call center. My response to your question is based on that assumption.

        It is possible that a claims representative or claims authorizer will notice what was initially overlooked. I think it would be worthwhile to investigate whether your own mental health care provider would support your getting your own benefits. If so, I would definitely get the statement and apply to be your own payee. That will settle the matter.

        With regard to your second question, if Social Security does ask you to suggest someone to be your payee and payments are started while a payee is being located, it is likely that release of back benefits will be postponed until a payee is obtained.

        Sincerely,

        Kay

        • ajb says:

          Thanks kay..well update I spoke to my attorney she adiced that theres a difference in an order from the Judge and a recommendation from the Judge mine said recommendation not an order she said I have nothing to lose sleep over that in regards to the judge she adviced a recommendation not an order she said when the judge does that its up to SSA to decide if they think you do need a payee and being my health started in the past and has been stable but yet still diabled to work that SSA making me have a payee was very unlikely she said maybe if you had current drug or alchol issues or something that indicates that your present issues back up facts you need one then they might how ever mine are in the way ago past. I again called the call center and they again never brought up the payee issue in fact they again ask me if I wanted to set up a bank account or the card then he said oh I see you requested the card you should be good to go soon he said… my attorney said simply you dont mention it and I should be okay….What do you think Kay..and 2nd question the payment center recieved my approval on April 2nd I know they have up to 60 days but idealy when do you think Ill recieve payment rather ir be back pay or my reg monthly earnings.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear AJB,

            I am glad you spoke to your attorney and got an interpretation of the exact wording of your hearing decision. Social Security’s guideline is to start payment in sixty days, but it can take less time or more. Payment typically starts with the monthly check and it can take up to ninety days or more to receive the back pay after the first monthly check is paid. The amount of time depends on work backlogs and the particular characteristics of your claim.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

    • ajb says:

      Kay sent you 2 emails can you advice me on those thank u

      • ajb says:

        Kay, in my paper work the judge recommended a payee for me however, I dont have anyone that can do that. Even if the judge recommends that do have to have a payee? I am taking that as her suggestion not something I have to do but Im not sure. Can you advice me on this? thank u

        Reply Also Kay the SSI interviewer over the phone from my local SSO never mentioned the payee issue to me at all when we went over whether or not I would qualify for SSI what should I do should I call and asvice who i want if I can figure it out or should I let it slid being she never mentioned it or will the payment center catch that the judge recommended it I dont know what to do know…I dont want to wait any longer for my check to statr and my back pay. It just seems to me that the girl i spoke with about my SSI at my SSO would have said something…also when I called the main SS line I requested a debit card thru social security they sent the request thru they never mentioned I needed a payee…will the payment center catch the recommendation or because their so over loaded do you think it go unnoticed..also my attorney never mentioned it …what should I do…and if you think I should call how much longer does that take cant they notify the payment center if I have to do that who to make the 1st check out to..and the SS debit card out to as well..being its still in the payment center would it be quick enough for them to turn that over into a payee’s name and me still be on schedulae as I am now to recive my 1st series of payments? Or do I just take a chance as so far noone has mentioned it but Im not sure do they catch it at the payment centers usually or should someone between my local SSO and the SS call center I called should’nt they have said hey you need a payee before we can issue yu any reg and back pay ..and if I did have to get a payee do they get my back pay in their name as well? HELP HELP..thank you Kay.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear AJB,

        Replies were posted on April 17.

        Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ajb,

      The judge’s ruling is not a suggestion; it is a determination that the Social Security Administration must follow. You have a couple of options. If you are getting care at a mental health clinic or social services organization, you may be able to get a social worker at that organization or clinic to serve as payee. Another option is to contact your treating psychiatrist or therapist to see if he or she believes you are capable of using your benefits in your own best interests, paying for shelter, food, personal hygiene items, clothing and medial care before other purchases. If so, you can get a written statement from the medical provider and apply to be your own payee.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  72. nowee says:

    what does it mean when they have recieved all your records and they have went to the doctor is he the final one that approves or denies your claim and does it take him long

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nowee,

      The consultative examination (CE) doctor does not decide whether your claim will be approved or denied. The Disability Determination Services (DDS) claims examiner, who is trained in Social Security disability law, will review all the information in your claim file including the information provided by the CE physician and make a decision. That decision is reviewed for accuracy by a DDS physician, who is also trained in Social Security disability law.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  73. nowee says:

    what does it mean when they have recieved all your records and they have went to the doctor is he the final one that approves or denies your claim and does it take him long.refering to ssi

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nowee,

      In an initial disability claim review, the claims examiner reviews all the information and makes a decision recommendation. That decision is then reviewed by a physician trained in Social Security Disability law. The physician reviews to be sure that nothing has been overlooked medically and that the medical issues have been understood correctly. If so, the examiner’s decision becomes final. How long this will take depends on whether or not the physician has a backlog and therefore is unpredictable.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  74. shirelle says:

    Hey im in south Carolina how long does it take for you to see an judge its for my son he is eight people keep telling me different things one lady says 14 months one said anytime also can the judge approve you without you coming

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shirelle,

      Occasionally a judge will approve a claim without a hearing. This usually occurs only a couple weeks before you would have had a hearing date. Please see my reply to your previous post of earlier today for the answer to your other question.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  75. Tracy says:

    Hi Kay I applied in October 2012 denied twice got a lawyer and is still waiting for a court date I’m in ready to be scheduled status now plus I sent in my dire need letter which I found out was approved so now that has been what’s the next step will I move to the front of the line or how does that work

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tracy,

      You will move into the line of people who have been granted an expedited hearing before you. You will get a hearing faster than if your dire need request had been rejected, but the hearing will not be immediate.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  76. Pam says:

    Kay,
    I got a fully favorable decision for disability and disability Insurance! Do i have to now apply for ssi? I called my local office to set an appointment. I got it going all the way back to onset date Jan. 2011 so i could get from june 2012?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pam,

      The two disability programs are Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You would have been screen for both programs when you applied initially, so you probably do not need to file an SSI application now. The only circumstance I can think of that would require an SSI application now would be that you did not qualify financially when you initially filed your claim and now qualify financially and your Social Security (SSDI) is below $741 monthly.

      Social Security benefits will be the later of July 2012 (the sixth full calendar month after the month in which you became disabled) or twelve months before your month of application. SSI benefits, if you are eligible, will begin with the month following the month of application unless you applied on the first of the month in which case benefits would begin in the month of application.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  77. Jennifer says:

    its been 90 days since my ssdi hearing with the alj and still no word or decision letter should i worry? does that mean its a denial? really freaking out so any advice is appreciated thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      The length of time it takes to a receive a decision is not an indicator of either an approval or a denial. I suggest calling the hearing office every two weeks. That way you will know when the decision has been made and has gone to the letter writing department. (Note: the hearing office will not tell you what the decision was.)

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  78. ajb says:

    Kay I hav called SS several times to check on the payment for my SSDI still noone ever mentioned a payee..I really dont have anyone to do that all my family is deceased that i trust but once again for the 3rd time they ask on the phone if I wanted direct deposit or the card etc but never mentioned a payee set up..however I understand that they will send a check to start and then they continue to send your monthly amount untll you decide on a payee or an agency as a payee etc..is this true

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear AJB,

      Please see my previous responses regarding your payee situation. If you choose not to point out to the the claims representative handling your claim that the judge said you need a payee and ask exactly how they are going to handle that given you have no one you know who can serve as payee, then it will be a wait-and-see situation for you as to how long they will pay you directly.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  79. rob says:

    hey kay i have a question when i went in and ssi released me the back pay and they said it would go by check since i didn’t have the direct express card. but then i called to see if the treasury mailed the check and the ssa lady actually switched my payment from check to direct deposit which is crazy! cause they release my back pay on thursday and they said i would recieve it in 7 days by check and then on the 1st recieve my monthly payment for the 1st time! and then to call when i had the card and they would switch me over for next month! well anyways when i called yesterday like i said the lady told me no the check has not been mailed yet i said ok goodbye! and then 5 hours later i check the ssa website and it switched from paper check method of payment to direct express! why in the hell would the lady switch my account to direct deposit with out my permission! also to top it off i don’t even have the card from direct express! also when i call direct express he tells me some crap that it takes like 30-60 day billing cycle to get my funds and that i might recive it by check i’m not going to recieve it by check because they changed it and it will be sent to the card! so now i have to wait for the card and hope that i get my funds and not have to wait for it to clear for 30-60 day cycle! he said the card was mailed thursday and told me it take 10 days are u kidding me 10 days to come in the mail! i can send something to the moon and it wouldent take 10 days lol! so can u tell me what’s up? when the tresury sends them the money on monday most likley they ain’t going to hold my money for a 30 day cycle correct? also how long does it take for the card to come because now it’s the 19th and he said it was mailed on the 17th! so mailed from texas to florida in my mind 5 days tops!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      I would agree that the card should reach you within five days. They probably quote the same period of time regardless where the person lives.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  80. ivanetta says:

    Kay I said that I received my notice of approval, I was not correct it was my notice of decision that I recieved, I am yet waiting on something, why is it taking so long?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ivanetta,

      I understand from the additional information you provided that the notice of decision was a medical approval only,that it was received in Alabama, and that no funds were paid as the result of that decision. If that is true, all payment on your son’s Supplemental Security (SSI)claim will be paid from the Illinois claim only.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  81. Heather Collins says:

    Dear Kay,
    I had my 2nd SSDI hearing (after Federal court remanded the case back to the ALJ) on January 2, 2014. I have received no word, yet. I called the ODAR office 3 weeks ago and they say that the decision has been made, it’s done at the decision writers, it’s done at editing, and I should receive notification any day. I still haven’t heard. I called my lawyer’s office to see if they heard anything. The lawyers said they have access to see when the decision has been made and they check everyday. They said no decision has been made or sent to the decision writer yet. If the local hearing office says I should have gotten notification of the decision…do I believe them? This has been going on FAR too many years for me. I don’t know what takes 4 months, considering it will most likely be another denial (the judge has over an 80% denial rate)

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Heather,

      The discrepancy between the information you got and your attorney got is odd. I wonder if the person you spoke to was looking at data related to your first hearing by mistake.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  82. monique says:

    I was approved for my ssi and ssid haven’t received my awarded letter yet, my on set date is 10-19-2010 my lawyer told me im not getting back pay for ssi, why is that? and if I received workmens comp back in 2011 will that affect my pay?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Monique,

      This reply is in response to both your messages. You may not be getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit because you received workers compensation or otherwise had income or assets above the allowable amount for SSI. Your Social Security Disability benefits will be reduced for months in which you were eligible for both benefits. The maximum amount that you can receive between the two benefits is 80% of your average work earnings, as defined by Social Security.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  83. monique says:

    im sorry one more question, why isn’t how much I will be receiving isn’t show up on my social security account website?

  84. TAMEKA says:

    DEAR KAY,ITS BEEN 85DAYS .SINCE MY HEARINNG N FEB.2014HOW MUCH LONGER WILL I HAVE TO WAIT FOR A DECISION.THIS ISS MY SECOND HEARING.THISS FIRST WAS JULY13,2013.HOW MUCH LONGER DO U THINK IT WILL TAKE?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tameka,

      I cannot predict how long it will take you to get a hearing decision. The guideline is sixty days but the decision can take much longer. You can call the hearing office every couple of weeks to find out whether a decision has made and your claim sent to letter writing. The hearing office will not tell you over the phone what the decision was, but you will be able to follow as it moves through the process.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • TAMEKA says:

        DEAR KAY IT HAS NOW BEEN 93 DAYS SINCE MY SECOND HEARING WITH THE ALJ.I CALLED SS OFFC. AND THEY SAY ITS WITH THE DECISION WRITER BUT ITS BEEN WITH THEM TWO AND A HALF MONTHS.I APPLIED IN FEB.2011,WILL I RECIEVE A FAVORABLE DECISION OR DENIAL.IM BOUT TO LOSE IT.EVERYTIME I CALL MY LAWYERS THEY TELL ME THEY HAVENT HEARD ANYTHING.COULD I POSSIBLY GET ANOTHA ATTORNEY OR DO I JUST CONTINUE TO WAIT WAIT WAIT.PLEASE HELP!!

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Tameka,

          At this point, there is no way to know whether your claim has been approved by the judge. All you can do is wait to find out.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  85. rob says:

    hey kay i have a question which department of treasury pays out for florida ssi payments by check where do they get mailed from? do they come from tallahassee florida treasury or does it come from washington dc?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      All federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments come from the U.S. Treasury, regardless of where you live. In Florida, if you qualify for an SSI state supplement, the payment comes from the Florida treasury.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  86. Jack says:

    I spoke to a SS rep on the phone today about my benefits. Apparently, my SSDI amount is about 315 a month and she said the SSI will be at 720 max. My question is: will I receive back-pay for both SSI and SSDI?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jack,

      To clarify a bit the information that you understood from your Social Security representative, you can receive up to $721 a month in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you have no other countable income for a given month, including no in-kind (non-cash) support and maintenance (free or subsidized shelter or food) The most you could receive for months that you are eligible for both $315 Social Security (SSD) is $426, resulting in total income of $741. Your Social Security back pay will be reduced by SSI paid for the same back-pay months.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  87. joyce says:

    hi i’m trying to get disability for my daughterandi want to know if it is a good thingif the social security goes fast like 30 days

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joyce,

      The length of time a claim pends is not a sign of whether the claim will be approved or denied.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Olivia says:

        Well, there is a question about that, as an unfavorable ruling requires many more pages of written reasoning for your denial of benefits to prevent any questions being raised later, it does take longer to deny someone that it does to approve them. Although 75% of the letter is form language, most Judges want to go in depth why they feel you are undeserving of receiving disability. If you have waited over 90 days, your outcome is most likely unfavorable.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Olivia,

          While you accurately describe the content of a hearing denial letter, the approval letter is also a very extensive letter because the judge also has to describe all the issues involved, all the evidence presented, and “justify” why he or she is approving the claim.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  88. ajb says:

    Dear Kay, I was sent a letter from my local SSA office It was sent out on 4/21/2014…. basically stated that I did not want to pursue the SSI and I would’nt qualify for it based on my upcoming monthly earnings and I could appeal it if I wanted to in up to 60 days etc etc…I still have not recieved any an Award Letter or Back Pay or regualr Pay.

    A bit ago I had wrote you and explained that the judge had sent her approval decision to me and the local SSA office and to the Payment center in Baltimore MD>…as of April 2nd that was done!…But I spoke with my Local SSA office on April 7th..She determined I would not qualify for SSI I would draw to much each month…on that day April 7th she explained she would notify the Payment Processing Center in MD that I would not be able to get SSI…So todays Date is April 27th and still nothing…She said that it can take up to 60 days but more then likely I was looking at a few weeks. I really dont know what to think at this point…Do you think I should call the Payment Processing Center I found the Number or that would not be a good Idea to do that? And based on the dates above and so far what has occured by mail and phone what more wait time do you think I truley may have? I know you can’t predict exactly what may or may not happen in the time frames but I thought if you saw what so far has occured you may be able to give some insight as to how much longer possiably. Thank Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear AJB,

      You are right that I cannot predict how long it will be before your payments start; however, the possible time frames that the Social Security representative gave you sound about right. It can take the payment center a few weeks to a couple months for get monthly payments started and ninety days for back pay. I doubt calling the payment center would be of any help.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • ajb says:

        Kay, on the 90 days for back pay once I do start to receive my monthly payments the 1st payment do I count 90 days from that point or when does that 90 day count start?

        Is it from when the SSA local office told me on the April 7th I dont qualify for SSI?

        I sorta am lost on their time frames. Thank You.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear AJB,

          My understanding is that it can be ninety days after the first payment, but keep in mind that none of these time frames are fixed. They could be longer or shorter.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  89. Anna says:

    Hi!
    I was just wondering if you could speculate how much longer it should take to get a decision from a judge. I have moderate to severe hearing loss, hypertension, and a panic disorder that i take xanax for, all of which that have been documented. My lawyer at my hearing said I did a good job answering all the questions, however because the judge is known for being very conservative she said its a 50/50 chance. There was a VE. There who asked whether I could do work that involved typing text from one database to another, I said that such a job would give me great anxiety because I still would need to use my hearing at some point. I am not sure if that was a good answer. My hearing was in june of 2013, it was kept open till August 2013 to submit any further medical documentation. In March of 2014 I was told a decision had been made, but that it needs to be written up. It has now been a month and still no letter to me or my representative. When I called ODAR yesterday, they said a decision has been made, but it needs to go through editing and be signed. Can you speculate how much longer this wait will be?

    Thanks,
    Anna

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Anna,

      Your claim is waiting for the judge to review the letter for accuracy. If it is all correct, it will be sent out to you and I would expect that you would receive in a week or two. If there are errors in the letter, it will be returned to the writing department for correction and getting the letter will be delayed further.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  90. Rachel says:

    A response to my congressional inquiry on 4/9/14 was that my case was in ready to schedule status with ODAR and had also been sent to a senior attorney for an OTR review. Is there any typical time length for either of these responses? I have contacted the social security assistance line and have only been told I should be hearing from ODAR soon, but they have no information about any length of time for the OTR review.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rachel,

      I, too, am unable to give you a time frame; however, it is clear that your appeal has moved to active status rather than just waiting its turn.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  91. ajb says:

    Kay, I have another question on my paper work that the Judge sent out it stated I was approved and that she approved me back to my alleged onset date back to May 28 2010.

    I know they take away 5 months so just so Im clear does that mean I will recive SSDI back pay from Oct 1 2010 to April or May of 2014 due to I still have not recievd any monthly payments as of yet.

    So, if I calculate it right that is 43 months so far of back pay I had already explained in a prior email I would make to much for SSI so I would get SSDI only I think my monthly payments might be between $1500 up to $1600 per month.

    I had asked the local SSA office when they took my claim on Sept 12 2012.

    So far it is 43 months and that includes April this month due to I have not recieved my 1st check as of yet.

    I hope I do get my 1st payment in May. If not June 2nd will be 60 days.

    If I dont recieve payment until June that would mean back pay for 44 months.

    Does that seem like the right calculations?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear AJB,

      Your calculation method is generally correct. Just a couple details: Your benefits will start to accrue in November 2010 because the waiting period is five full calendar monthsafter the month of disability (June through October). Also, Social Security benefits are paid in the month after the month for which they are due. If you get a monthly benefit check in May, it will be for April and back pay would run through March.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  92. Curious says:

    Hello Kay!

    I have read thru your q&a’s and you are very informative and helpful in your responses, better then all of the websites I’ve been researching for answers! I filed for benefits in 2012-but my onset was 7/2009. I tried working thru 2011 until the Doctors realized the myback was fractured and was not going to heal from conservative care,but get worse. Long story short, I had my second hearing with the ALJ two weeks ago and he deemed me fully disabled for both SSI & disability benefits at that time. I didn’t have an attorney because I felt I didn’t need to appoint someone to speak on behalf of my day to day life, I felt I was the best person to state my case,and luckily I had enough medical evidence to support what I deal with. So my question to you is if the Judge approves a car at the hearing, is there still a 60 day wait for an award letter? Would back pay be calculated from onset date or application date?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Curious,

      If you are approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, your benefits will begin to accrue twelve months before your 2012 application. If you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your SSI benefits will begin to accrue the month after the month of your application.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  93. Curious says:

    oops,I accidentally submitted before I finished,I have two more questions. How do I calculate an approximate monthly amount, and do my children automatically qualify for benefits or is there another application process that I have to go thru once I’ve received the award letter?

    Thank you for doing what you do,you seem to help many people.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Curious,

      This response is to your two last messages. To get a rough estimate of your back Social Security Disability (SSDI) monthly amount, you can call Social Security and ask them the estimated monthly amount of your benefit or go online and request an earnings statement, which will give you an estimate. Then multiple that amount by the number of months that will elapse between when benefits begin to accrue (see my response of a few minutes ago) and three to four months from now. (It takes sixty days or more to get the formal written decision and can take another sixty days or more to get benefits started.

      When you get the hearing approval letter, Social Security should contact you to get any non-medical information needed to start payment for you and your children. If you do not hear from them in about a week, make an appointment with Social Security to apply to be payee for your children and to provide their birth certificates and Social Security numbers and anything they need for your claim.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  94. Curious says:

    ….ps.last question- is there another interview process after the award letter to initiate payment?,I thought I read that in a comment above.
    sorry for so many questions,but I really don’t know what to expect next.
    Thanks Again.

  95. rob says:

    hello kay i have a question about ssi back pay! i know that they are done in 3 installments! i have recived my 1st backpay installment int he maount of 2,163.00 but i’m still owed another one for 2,163.00 and then another for 6,800.00+ my question is! i need the money for medical testign MRI’S and also doctor fees for a specialist! and nobody will take me because my mri’s are over 2 years old they are in the range of 3 years so i can’t see anybody! well anyway my question is i have rwad something about they can give u more if it’s due to rent or medical purposes! so if i call them up can they give me half of what iu’m still owed? i’m owed almost 10 grand like 9,000 bucks and some change! if i call them can they release another 5 grand right now? because i need to update 4 MRI’S and they cost in the range of 1,200-1700 a piece so to get 4 of them done it would cost me between 4,800 and 6,800! so like i said they just gave me my 1st backpay installment of 2,163 and i get my 1st monthly payment on the 1st! so if i call them up on the 1st wil they or can they release me 5,000 of more backpay? for medical reasons?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      If you provide an itemized list of the major medical services you need, you might be able to get more Supplemental Security Income (SSI) back pay released; however, there may be no need for you to do so. If you are still eligible for ongoing SSI payments, in most states you are also eligible for Medicaid, which might cover the needed MRIs and treatment. I suggest that you contact Social Security about your Medicaid eligibility to find out whether it is automatic in your state and you should have received or will receive a Medicaid card soon or whether in your state you have to make separate application to receive Medicaid on SSI eligibility.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • rob says:

        kay yes i know this i already have medicade but i guess u havent herd that nobody takes it so it ain’t worth a damn lol! i have called every single mri place basically in south florida and nobody takes it oh yeah not only do mri places not take medicaide i have called about 30 doctors for pain management and like 20 family doctors and like 20 internal medicine doctors and guess what lol they donm’t take it either! should i even called martin memorial health system which has like 10doctors in there office in 1 city and they dont take it either lol! i couldent believe it because i thought well martin memorial hospital takes it so there doctors for family practice and all theother doctors should right well wrong so yeah nobody takes medicade period so the only thing it’s good for is meds! becaues u don’t have to pay for your meds but everything else nobody takes it period! and i don’t blame them because i know somebody that has it and her son sees a nero surgeon and every single visit he has with the doctor meciade only paid him 16 bucksw for each and every visit! which every visit other then him he charged 220.00 bucks per visit! so yeah he would bill medicade 220.00 bucks and they would pay him 16 bucks lol! what a joke right! well anyways after 5 years he stoped taking medicade and my fiend had to find her son a new doctor because he would no longer take medicade he told my friend straight up if all he took was medicade he would not be a doctor because he would actually be in debt every year that he would actually lose money because his medical malpractice insurance costed more money a year then he would make in medicade patients lol i think its a joke! he also did surgery on my friends son and guess what he actually had to take money out of his own pocket to do the surgery because the medicade didn’t pay for the hole bill for the operation room so he said he was taking 200+ bucks out of his own pocket so basically after medicade paid him for the surgery he had to take 200 bucks out of his poclket for the operation room! so he would lose money on the operation lol now that’s even a bigger joke that is why he stopped taking it!

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Rob,

          That is a discouraging story. I suggest that you contact the Florida Medicaid office and request a list of physicians and other medical providers who accept Medicaid.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  96. ksnyder255@gmail.com says:

    Hi Kay,
    I was wondering if you can give me your opinion on my case. I went before the alj on april 3,2014 and the judge asked the VE if I was able to perform any jobs and the VE stated 3. Then the Judge asked with my limitations would I be able to do those jobs and the VE stated no. Then the judge used less limitations and the VE stated no jobs. The VE went on to say that with everything the judge stated that there is no jobs in the general economy for me. I was wondering in your opinion do you think this would lead to a favorable decision.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear M. Snyder,

      If the judge finds that the limitations being discussed are supported by the medical information submitted for your claim, then it is likely your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  97. Krystal says:

    Hello Kay,

    We had a hearing for my son in January. The judge made a decision the following week, but it had been sitting with the writer since last week. Well I have been transferred to the judge’s secretary, because it is now back with the judge, but I have not been getting a call back. My question is, can a decision be given over the phone?

    Krystal

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Krystal,

      Decisions are not given over the phone. The judge will be reviewing the letter for accuracy. If it is all correct, it will be mailed to you. If there are any errors, the decision letter will be returned to the writing department for correction.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  98. Katie says:

    Hello, first of all I wan to thank you so very much for the information on this site! It has helped us tremendously in our many years battle with disability. I know there are only so many questions you can answer, but maybe you can give me your personal opinion, not to be taken as legal advice of course, just from your own experience:
    My husband was on disability as a child for being emotionally handicapped. He also has dyslexia,
    Bi-polar and was told at one point (as a child) that he is mildly autistic, I assume aspergers may be what they were referring to. He can’t remember much because his mother handled everything and she passed away in 1995. He made some stupid mistakes as a teen and was sent to prison for burglary at 17. It was there that he broke his back and was neglected for over a year. They even tried to threaten him if he pursued legal action. In 2005 a judge reviewed his case and seemed confused about his legal past, so he dropped all charges and set my husband free once and for all. We have been trying to get his disability restarted for some time, at least since 2010 (second applications process, first was LOST by SS). We had the hearing in late march (we have not hired an attorney but I am not your average wife either haha) and James explained his current an past conditions. We had attempted to get his records from prison but it was obvious something was up when they denied us. The judge sent a subpoena and lo and behold they sent a response that my husband was never in prison and no records exist of any of the 12 1/2 years he spent in there. We wrote a letter to explain that their claim was outrageous and explained in writing what he went through while in prison. Last week we know the ALJ made a decision but we haven’t gotten a response. My questions are these:
    1) when we called to ask, they said a decision has been reached and is waiting for assignment, but of course could not tell us the decision. Does this assignment sound like a good thing?
    2) during the hearing, the person who decides what jobs he could do did mention a few things, and I did not know at the time that I was supposed to counter the two jobs she mentioned. The Janridge did tell her to take everything down to the bare minimum because apparently they had him as a skilled labor but should have had him as a semiskilled labor. I asked if they take into consideration his abilities to perform physical labor, his ability to get along with others, and geographical location as far as availability of these jobs. She was most kind when she answered my questions and I felt like she would be fair but because we did not have an attorney and I didnt follow the technical procedure, will they he against me the fact I didn’t dispute the two jobs she mentioned by naming specific reasons he couldn’t perform these tasks? We had gone over them before during the hearing, so I don’t know if it counts we didn’t go over them at that time…
    3)considering how unusual it is that my husbands records from his injury are clearly being withheld (seriously, no record of him in prison for 13 years?) would they hold that against us?
    Anything you can suggest would be helpful. Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Katie,

      The fact that that are are no records of your husband’s incarceration could work to your husband’s benefit because Social Security law prohibits the payment of benefits for disabilities that arise while jailed for a felony. If there were proof of incarceration and that the disability began while he was in jail, his claim would likely be denied. It is less certain given that you have reported this but the subpeona turned up nothing.

      It would have been good to have “reminded” the judge of the reasons that the jobs the vocational expert identified were not appropriate, but since you didn’t and the decision has been made and sent for assignment to a letter writer, probably it is best to wait to see the outcome. If your husband is denied and the reason is that he can do the identified jobs and the judge doesn’t address the earlier testimony, you could have a basis for the Appeals Council to review the claim and remand it to the judge.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  99. Michelle says:

    Ms.Kay , My husband had a hearing on April 9th,2014 .The ALJ told my husband he would have his file off his desk with in a couple of days.And that he would not be the one that was holding everything up. Can you tell me where the file has to go after it leaves the ALJ desk ? And “estimating”how long can it take to receive a decision?
    Thank you in advance for your response.

    • Michelle says:

      Can i please get a response to my questions?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michelle,

      The claim decision goes from the judge to the letter writing department, which prepares the letter for the judge’s review and okay. How long it will take depends on whether the writing department is current or backed up. So, unfortunately I cannot give you an estimate.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  100. Curious says:

    ….please disregard the above questions,I contacted SS and they answered my questions.
    Your website, is still great,thanks.
    Have a great day!
    Curious

  101. jay hatch says:

    I had a hearing for my SSD. After the hearing my attorney came out and told me that I won my hearing for SSD. The hearing was on April 10, 2014. How long do I have to wait for the award letter, how long before I receive payments, and finally if my start date was Aug 17, 2010 what is your estimated guess of when my back date may be?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jay,

      It can take as long as sixty days or more to receive the formal approval letter from the judge and another sixty to receive benefits. Your benefits will begin to accrue February 2011.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  102. dragon13 says:

    I just had my hearing with the ALJ via phone due to my mental illness they allowed me to do so after a long year of waiting…the ALJ did not ask the VE any questions and they were present nor did the VE even speak up there is one more record the ALJ is requesting from an ER visit she sounded understanding and stated she is pretty clear on her decision but is waiting for the ER documentation…can anyone give me insight on if this is a good sign ie favorable? worried sick

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dragon,

      Of course there is no way to know for sure; however, my impression is that your claim may be approved.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Dragon says:

        Thank you so much Kay…I called the ODAR office and they said there was no VE or ME present because the judge felt she didn’t need one keep in mind I am young just worried sick because I DO need this :(

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Dragon,

          I would say it is likely that your claim will be approved.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • Dragon says:

            Thank you so much Kay I feel a little better about this I even sent in more documentation than needed they just sent out subpoenas to get my records but so far I have been proactive sending anything and every piece of evidence that would help give my case more substance….I really appreciate your help and advice…Blessings to you for all you do for others Fondly, Dragon13

          • Kay Derochie says:

            My pleasure, Dragon.

  103. Jack says:

    I am wondering what is going to happen next. I already received a fully favorable decision and I called the ODAR office to only ask if the medical benefits will be retro-active. I was told that she sent a message to the local office about SSI but only for the Medicaid and that I will get a call or a form (I can’t remember) to fill out explaining living arrangements and such. This was a week ago today, will I get a form to fill out or a phone interview discussing the living arrangement and THEN get an award letter.?? What is the usual process of letters and phone calls after your decision letter.?? I don’t need to know the length of time to wait, but just the order of the process.. Please :)

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jack,

      If you have been approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your income, assets, and living arrangements have to be reviewed for the period of time between the date you applied and now. This review is to determine your payment amount for each month during that time and also your eligibility for ongoing benefits. There is no set manner in which this information will be collected, but usually you will have either a telephone or in-office interview and a request for documentation to support the statements you provide. You may get a call or a letter with an appointment date. You didn’t ask about time frames, but it could be a while before you are contacted. If you don’t hear anything in another ten days, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and ask for an appointment to provide the necessary information.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  104. kt says:

    I had my hearing on April 3 2012. My injuries are two herniated disc’s bulging disc’s in my neck and nerve damage the judge that handled my case asked the very if there where any jobs for me and the ve stated yes 3. Then the judge plugged in my limitations and the ve stated no. Then the judge used less limitations and the very stated no. In your best opinion does this seem to sound like a favorable opinion.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear KT,

      I think that the judge had not yet decided at the hearing what level ofmedical limitations were supported by the information in your claim file and the non-vocational information submitted during your hearing. I believe the judge was getting enough vocational information to decide your appeal after reviewing again all the information available about your medical condition.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  105. ajb says:

    Hi Kay. My Attorneys office called me on Thursday and she advised me that she had faxed over their paper work thats required to collect their fees. She explained that she spoke to the payment center as well and the Rep at the payment center apoligized to her for the wait on their attorney fees she said the reason is that your clients ( me) check is so large we have to send it to upper managment to get an okay to send it out she said on this level we cant release that large of an amount only the upper mgt team can she said it should only be a few weeks and that will be done. So, I think I might get my back pay before a regular monthly check.

    I was told that I wont get a check untill the third Wed in June I really dont get that part because I had created an account online at the SSA websight and it finally showed what I will be drawing minus my Medicare cost. and it showed I guess what would be my award letter So, why am I waiting untill june for a 1st payment it seems if they have it figured out I would recieve my first check in May the 3rd Wed why is that do you know?

    I also have a question on that does their Medicare cover prescription or do you know much about that part. I will be drawing $1592.60 but they minus $104 for Medicare from that amount. Also, do they take taxes out of your back pay. They are back paying me from Nov 2010 to current. Thats a large amount if they base most of that on the $1592.00 I would earn each month. I know they use a formula to figure your back pay so I would say that 42 months wouldnt be totally calculated on that amount or what do you think as far as that part goes

    Thank u Kay

    • ajb says:

      Kay another question. When the payment center pays my attorney out of my SSDI back pay will they send my back pay out to me from that point. My attorney advised that I should see my back pay sometime this month. In my prior email to you I explained that my attorneys office submitted their paper work to get their fee to the payment center the CSR that she spoke advised that due to my check is a large amount they sent it to an upper mgt person to over look to make sure its all correct. So, she told my attorney that it would be a few weeks. My attorney said just so you know you should see your back pay in that time frame but just say to yourself by the end of May she said so if it comes sooner it will be a surprise. But I do hope I recieve it by the end of the month.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear AJB,

      Given that the work on your back benefits is being wrapped up now in May, the back pay covers months through April. The check you will receive in June is your May benefit because Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they are due.I think you are right, you are likely to get the back pay before the first monthly check. There have been annual cost of living adjustments in some years since since 2010, so part of the months’ benefits will be calculated at slightly less than your current $1,592 benefit.

      The $104 withheld from your benefit is for Medicare Part B for doctors and some other outpatient services. If you want Medicare coverage for prescriptions, you need to enroll in and pay a premium for Part D Medicare. I suggest that you research your choices for a Medicare supplement insurance policy to pay portions that Medicare doesn’t pay. Some include prescription coverage and some of those require enrollment in Part D Medicare and others do not. Several insurance companies in your state may offer Medicare supplements. You can contact your state’s insurance commissioner for a list.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  106. jennifer borsheski says:

    Dear Kay,
    I recently was made to withdraw my ssdi claim by my attorney under suggestion of the ss judge. They said I had a “small window” to work with. I havea severe mental disorder and cannot process decisions automatically. My lawyer withdrew and now days later I feel cheated. He told me I cannot reapply and I should try ssi. I told him I wasn’t eligible for this because of my fiance’s income. He suggested that I move out even though we have a 4 and a 17year old!!
    Anyhow, I do not know what to do now. The judge wanted to award my claim, she said so herself. But on the original app when asked when disability began, the date was before my heavy doctoring. I didn’t have insurance at the time and have an intense case of agorophobia. But doesn’t everyone get sick before the doctors are involved? And I have proof of my illness stemming back to 1999 when I first applied for ssdi. I tried to control my illness by sustaining a “normal” life by working. My work history is rocky because of my illness. I’m not sure what to do niw. Can I reinstate my claim due to my illness making it hard for me to decide things normally and me feeling I was not represented properly? After all my lawyer should have picked up on this hang up if he knows the laws so well and read my case thoroughly….right? I just don’ know what to do….please help!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      I don’t have enough information to comment reliably on the withdrawal of the Social Security Disability (SSDI) claim. It seems to me it could have just been denied because of a determination that documentation of your disability began after you were no longer insured. I suggest that you ask your attorney to explain again why it was suggested that you withdraw the claim and what would have happened if you did not.

      As far as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) goes, your finance’s income will not keep you from getting Supplemental Security Income. Because you are not married, his income does not affect your eligibility. The amount you can receive under SSI will depend on whether you pay your share of shelter and food expenses. If there are four of you in the household, to get the maximum SSI payment, you would have to pay one-quarter of those expenses. If currently you not contributing to those expenses, the maximum SSI you can receive is $481 monthly. Once benefits start, if you pay your share of rent or mortgage, utilities (excluding phone), and food, your benefit could increase to $721.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  107. joe says:

    my disability hearing was on January 30, 2014 and it seemed to go well and so did my lawyer. I called the ALJ office yesterday may 2,2014 and they said it is still in with the judge for a decision, Is this long wait a bad sign

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joe,

      The length of time you wait for your hearing decision is not an indicator of whether your claim will be approved or denied.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  108. jayeda says:

    I got approved for SCSI and I be told it will take up to 60 days. But why so long. And another question after judge approved. Why does social security take so long to send your award letter out.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jayda,

      The primary reason for the long wait is work backlogs. Of course, there are variations related to how long it takes to gather all the non-medical information and documentation needed for each claim, but generally claims are processed on a first-approved, first-paid basis. If it has been more than a week or ten days since you got your hearing approval letter, call Social Security at the local office or call center at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment to provide the financial information needed to complete processing for SSI payment.

      Sincerely

      Kay

  109. Jim says:

    Dear Katie,

    As a medical professional, my understanding is that SSDI goes down a list of diagnosis’s and gives your case a code. I have a rare neurologic condition that has never before been reported in the history of medicine, but it is in some textbooks, and it is a terminal condition. I tried to return to work once before, but was terminated due to my disability. I live in FL. a right to work State, so nothing I could do, so I have applied for SSDI. So how do they code someone like me, given they have to look it up and read about it in addition the medical notes, and does it help expedite my case?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jim,

      You don’t need to be concerned about the coding. You do need to be sure that you and your doctors’ provide detailed information about your rare condition including copies of academic articles and/or academic references as needed AND describe exactly how this condition is affecting you. The doctor should also project your mortality date. If it is fairly close, you could ask for expedited processing. It would probably be good to have your medical records attached from at least a year before the diagnosis was made or a year before you ceased work, whichever is earlier.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  110. Olivia says:

    Hi Kay,
    I had a video hearing, I have both physical and mental disabilities, the Vocational expert listed two jobs, then the judge asked him if I were to miss 3 days a month would I be able to do these jobs, the VE said NO. Shortly after the hearing ended. I know you don’t know my outcome, but how does the question of missing so many days because of a disability play into the decision making in your opinion? Thanks so much!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Olivia,

      Apparently, your medical records or testimony indicated that you have been missing three days a month on the average due to your health and the judge wanted to know whether you could retain employment with that much absenteeism.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Olivia says:

        No, after the VE listed jobs I could do, the judge asked if I were to miss 3 days out of 30 could I retain these positions. The judge had no previous job attendance information. That’s why I asked the importance or meaning of this question

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Olivia,

          I do not know why the judge asked the question, unless perhaps your medical records showed how often you had been missing work because you mentioned it to your doctors.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  111. Tony says:

    I read above where folks had submitted their bank account #’s for deposits, I had my hearing and no account information was requested. Am I missing something? Was I supposed to submit my bank account information at some point? If so, at what point in the process should I have provided this information? Will this cause a delay or problem? I have an attorney who I feel really didn’t prepare for this case as I would have liked, so I don’t feel confident about asking him.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tony,

      If you are medically approved by the judge, then will be the time to contact your local Social Security office to request direct deposit of your benefits and to provide your bank routing number and account number.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  112. ajb says:

    Hi Kay. My Attorneys office called me on Thursday and she advised me that she had faxed over their paper work thats required to collect their fees. She explained that she spoke to the payment center as well and the Rep at the payment center apoligized to her for the wait on their attorney fees she said the reason is that your clients ( me) check is so large we have to send it to upper managment to get an okay to send it out she said on this level we cant release that large of an amount only the upper mgt team can she said it should only be a few weeks and that will be done. So, I think I might get my back pay before a regular monthly check.

    I was told that I wont get a check untill the third Wed in June I really dont get that part because I had created an account online at the SSA websight and it finally showed what I will be drawing minus my Medicare cost. and it showed I guess what would be my award letter So, why am I waiting untill june for a 1st payment it seems if they have it figured out I would recieve my first check in May the 3rd Wed why is that do you know?

    I also have a question on that does their Medicare cover prescription or do you know much about that part. I will be drawing $1592.60 but they minus $104 for Medicare from that amount. Also, do they take taxes out of your back pay. They are back paying me from Nov 2010 to current. Thats a large amount if they base most of that on the $1592.00 I would earn each month. I know they use a formula to figure your back pay so I would say that 42 months wouldnt be totally calculated on that amount or what do you think as far as that part goes

    Thank u Kay

    Reply

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear AJB,

      Please see the response, which addresses all your questions except taxes. The response was posted yesterday. You can request that Federal taxes be withheld from your back pay or, if you don’t want to take the chance of interrupting processing, you can wait till you have the exact amount of the payment and have a tax accountant figure your projected tax liability for the year so that you can submit an estimated tax payment to the IRS after you receive the payment. If you state has state taxes, they have to be paid directly; state taxes cannot be withheld from Social Security benefits. Failure to pay adequate taxes during the year can result in a tax penalty if you owe a large amount. I suggest that you get tax advice from a tax professional to help you make the decision of how to handle your taxes.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  113. Christy says:

    Hi Kay,

    Do you know if the ssa website, when you check your status if it’s updated? So for example, if I check and it states a decision has not been made by the ODAR could that mean just that? Or could it be in letter writing stage? Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christy,

      I believe that the SSA website will change to decision made after the decision letter has been sent. The ODAR (hearing office) system tracks activity inside the hearing office, which I believe the SSA site does not. You can call the hearing office to find out whether your appeal is in writing or awaiting the judge’s decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  114. Olivia says:

    Hi Kay,
    I have a couple of new questions. The judge started off my hearing by complimenting me on my impressive work history, I guess she see’s a lot of lazy people who haven’t worked much and don’t want to work any in the future. Does a strong work history help a case? I have see a therapist for nearly a year almost weekly, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, does having a record of this and my weekly visits affect the decision making process in a positive way in my case? I also have severe back problems and a long prescription record of strong opiates I have taken for my back. I worked for my Physician and the judge asked about this, will he discard my physicians opinion based on the fact he was my employer? Should his written testimony be discarded by the judge? My physician wrote his opinion only based on my health without regard to any personal feelings, he is a respected professional specialist. Thank you for your response!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Olivia,

      It was nice that the judge acknowledged your work history, but a strong work history does not impact the decision of whether or not your are disabled as defined by Social Security law.I am unclear about whether your employer is your mental health therapist or your back doctor. If it is your back doctor, then your frequent and steady therapy should provide a good record of your mental health condition and the limitations related to it. Hopefully, your doctor for whom you work has kept good records and has submitted them to support his assessment and opinion. This would be helpful given your professional relationship.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Olivia says:

        My former boss treated my back problems, where as my mental illness was treated by another physician, my therapist. I wouldn’t think it would be fair to discount my former employers opinion on my back simply because I worked for him, as everyone that worked for him used him as their physician. My back doctor is a professional well respected doctor and I would have chose him to treat me even if I had not worked for him.
        Thanks Kay, I appreciate your responding.

        • Olivia says:

          Kay, my mental state is so bad, I cried all day today, between my back pain and depression, I feel there is no hope..I know there are many people worse off than me, but I don’t see much of a future for me… Thanks for your website, you help so many people, bless you.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          You are welcome, Olivia.

      • Olivia says:

        No, It was a former employer who treated me for my back. I am currently and have been seeing a mental therapist for my depression and social interaction disabilities for well over a year. I know ALJ’s have the medical records in front of them and from what I understand, the hearing is based more on whether the Judge believes you are deserving of disability, so it’s to a great point subjective. I hope he doesn’t throw out my former employer’s opinions who treated me for my back because I had worked for him in the past. I think that would be unfair as he treated me no differently than any other patient he had seen for back trouble that was seeking disability. He was not biased and truly gave his professional opinion.
        I hope this clarified this for you. ‘Thanks!

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Olivia,

          I did understand. Hopefully, the judge will agree that your physician/employer was objective.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  115. alex says:

    I am recieving disability from the va because I was medically retired from the military. I file for social security benefits last year and was denied because I didnt submit my paperwork on time. Now I have filed in march and I am wondering in my situation would my history be in favor. I spoke to a representative at the social security office and she said it looks like I qualify. I’ve already sent my paperwork for personal life history and work history. Now I am waiting can you give me an idea of what to expect.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alex,

      The Social Security representative who saw the paperwork for your claim has expressed that she thinks you will qualify. That is promising.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  116. jami says:

    I had my hearing with an ALJ Feb 2014 just waiting on a decision. My attorney secretary called the hearing office they say its waiting for a writer does this mean a decision has been made? My next question is my husband is disabled and we have four children they receive auxiliary benefits through his case,however if i have a fully favorable decision will my children receive my auxiliary benfits under my claim and get backpay for them?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jami,

      Yes, the fact that your hearing appeal is in the writing department does mean a decision has been made. If you are approved, your children’s Social Security Dependent benefits may increase due to a combined family maximum drawn from both your and your husband’s Social Security earnings records.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  117. Jack says:

    What does it mean when “the processing center” has your file/claim/information?? Does that mean that my benefits have already been determined?? I called ODAR office and was told I will receive SSDI of $300 and would qualify for SSI at a max of $720 and would qualify for Medicaid as well. I really need some medical bills from before to be retro-billed or paid or I can’t see my specialists. I called again this passed Friday and was told different from before. Apparently my first approval by ALJ was denied by appeals so he had to write it again and send it back to appeals, which was finally approved on April 24th. Also my benefit amount was $945-ish, I will get Medicare in August. Good golly I am so confused.

    • Jack says:

      Also want to mention that I already received a FULLY FAVORABLE, thank the Lord, decision letter on March 13/2014.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jack,

      Though conflicting information is being given, it seems clear that your claim has been approved. If your Social Security will be $945, you will not be eligible for ongoing Supplemental Security Income (SSI) ongoing so you may pays unpaid medical bills for a brief period of time prior to approval. Given that you had to go to a hearing, you will have back pay that hopefully will help you pay your medical bills.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  118. Luis says:

    Hi there Kay,
    I just had my hearing and I am truly not sure how my hearing went, I was so nervous throughout the preceding I had to piece everything from my memory afterwards.
    My judge was very nice, I checked his stats online he has an approval rate of 25%, dismissal 25%, and 50% denied.
    Towards the end of the hearing the VE responded to the judge that I was unable to perform my last job, but did give three or so hypotheticals which the judge asked two questions to her about having a break and if my disability would allow me to have a break in order to recuperate, she said “yes”, then the judge asked if I had too many absences from work if eventually I would be terminated after not going to work beyond three days, the VE said in her experiences you could only miss three days.
    The judge asked my attorney if she had any further questions for the VE, my attorney said “I have no further questions”. That was the end.
    I didn’t feel positive about the hearing, and my attorney didn’t seem positive either, so I just feel very anxious going into the waiting period to hear a response that I know feel will be a denial.
    My case is rather complicated because I don’t have the strongest case when it comes to my medical records so I mostly had to prove my case through my words and the help of my attorney.
    Obviously I have to wait 30-90 days for a decision, and my attorney said she usually asks her clients to have their doctors fill out a 15 page questionnaire to give to the judge to help him make his decision but my doctors are fairly uncooperative and I don’t think any of them will fill out the questionnaire, I just changed doctors due to the state taking my Medicaid away several months ago and these new doctors and therapists haven’t seen me long enough to fill out the paperwork.
    I think I’m just venting a little and just seeking outside perspective on maybe some opinions on what I should do.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Luis,

      I am unclear about the questionnaire you mention. If your attorney is saying you can still submit the questionnaire, then I suggest trying to get your principal doctors prior to the changeover to complete the forms. Otherwise, all you can do is wait for a decision. If you were missing more than three days of work a month prior to ceasing work, then it could be that the judge will decide that you are disabled because you can’t hold down a job on a regular basis.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      S

      • Luis says:

        Thank you soooo much Kay for your response! I didn’t look at it that way, at least I can go into waiting with a more balanced outlook because looking back at the hearing I feel like I should have been answered the questions differently and been more descriptive.
        The questionnaire is basically a mental impairment packet that the attornies failed to mail me beforehand. The issue is my primary “old” doctors refused to fill out paperwork for my case because according to them all their clients are on disability and it would take all day for them to fill out paperwork and I believe some don’t want to fill out paperwork because there’s people scamming and it’s unfortunate that those of us who need the assistance of doctors don’t have that advantage which is what’s happened to me this entire time as I put together my case along with the attorney, they’re just uncooperative. :*(
        I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping others on this site, it’s very generous of you.
        I hope you have a good day.

  119. Tim says:

    I received my notice of favorable decision from alj over a month ago, after 29 months. When I called 800# to update bank info, the woman was really rude, but took the info. She then told me to hold on and came back laughed and said well, let me tell you this, your case is at appeals coun cil. I asked why, and she said I wasn’t entitled to that information.The My SSA SITE has been updated under benefits: You are not receiving benefits. I don’t know what’s going on now? Any input would be helpful.

    • Tim says:

      I forgot to mention I have received no written notice from SSA that my case went to Appeals Council. Nor has my representative.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tim,

      The information provided by the representative would indicate that your claim was one picked at random by the Appeals Council to review the judge’s decision for quality assurance, although this usually happens before the approval letter is sent out. I suggest calling the hearings office to get a clearer idea of what is going on.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  120. Ivy says:

    If I got a continuace letter of benefits from ssi will I get an award letter from ssi?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ivy,

      If you were receiving benefits that were terminated, appealed, and then got a continuance letter, you will not get an award letter. The continuance letter is your notice of continuing eligibility. Benefits will just resume at the same rate as previously, and you should get back benefits for any months they were stopped.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Blessedandhighlyfavored says:

        So if a person was receiving disability and cut off for over 12 years will they be entitled to a continuance pay or started all over.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Blessed,

          After twelve years of ineligibility, the individual would have to file a new claim and have a medical review to see if he or she is now disabled.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  121. Josh M says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for all this great information .. My question is : I started receiving SSDI in 2009 . I just found out that I should have received 12 months of pay that was from the 12 months before I filed . I did not know that was how things worked and have never said anything about no receiving it . Is there anyway to back file for the 12 months I was not paid? Does the 60 day to appeal apply to this and I can not get that money that is owed ? Is there any way to try to get what is owed ? thank you for any help!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Josh,

      I suggest that you speak with Social Security first to be sure you were eligible for back pay and, if you were, whether you can claim it now. You do not know that there was any negative decisions to appeal; there could have been an administrative error. But even if there was an unfavorable decision, you are outside of any appeals period.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely

  122. Allen says:

    Feb 13th I had my hearing before a Judge, I think everything went well. A week later I found out through my congressman that the judge has made his decision. Fast forward to the middle of May I called the judges office and talked to a nice lady, she said it had been sent to the writers. I asked her if she could tell me if I had been approved – she said Yes, so I said your telling me I had been approved she said Yes again. Do you think she would just tell me this? I’m thinking I have been approved, but it has been to the writers since April 25th. There was no VE at my hearing. Judge didn’t ask for anymore records.

    I have had 3 back surgeries, last one was a fusion Feb 26th 2013 and it’s still not healed in pain 24/7, have to have another surgery once healed from the last. Arthritis, My heart has 3 leaky valves, enlarged Aortic Root size as of now is 3.5 CM. .Myocardial Bridge,Coronary Artery Vasospasm, Pericarditis, Enlarged Heart, Neuropathy in both feet.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Allen,

      It is unusual to get a verbal decision from a hearings office, but there is no reason to question what the employee said. Decision letters can be in writing a couple months.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  123. Dallas TX case says:

    Had my hearing over a week ago. I know it takes time. However I am going to insert a section on an email sent from my attorney a week after I went in front of judge. What would your intake be on itAlso has anyone else been in front of a Dallas County TX judge Sarah Cyrus and how did it go.

    From attorney

    We have submitted all of your medical records, and they are very supportive of your case.  Also, the hearing did go well as far as your testimony, and some of the vocational expert’s testimony as well. 

     

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dallas,

      I would say that your attorney believes that you have a good chance of being approved.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  124. Bonnie says:

    I have a question. I had my hearing on March 4,2014 with the Adjudication Judge. It has been 13 wks. I called the ODAR office today and they said that the decision had been handed down and was with the writers. I feel confident that I will be approved. How long does it usually take to receive a decision from this point? The lady I talked to was extremely nice, but told me to check back in a few more weeks. Can you help?
    Thanks Bonnie

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Bonnie,

      The information you received is correct. It usually takes a few weeks for the decision to get through the writing process and out to you.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  125. Befuddled says:

    My husband (54) applied for SSDI Feb 2012. Denied at dds and denied again at reconsideration,went to ALJ hearing April 9, 2014. Fully written favorable decision issued April 24, 2014. Still no awards letter. Called SSA and was advised the decision was randomly pulled, the same day the decision was issued, but there ‘are no notes on file’. He has not received a notice of review. Was told it usually takes another 365 days before review is complete. It’s my understanding the claimant must be notified in writing if this went to Appeals Counil. First she said random review, then she said it’s at appeals council. I asked what this meant and she asked, ‘Cant you read?!’ And then read me the own motion statement from the decision letter, leaving off the written notice of review section. I stated I understood that part, but had received no written notification. She replied, ‘So?’ I tried to ask about the process and was told,’Don’t call again’. And she hung up.
    My husband has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, doctors reporting he has the spine of a 75 year old man, with nerve impingement, not a candidate for surgery, rheumatoid arthritis, severe IBS, degenerative arthritis and VE stated no transferable skills.
    Is this usual not to notify claimant if it is at appeals council? We are afraid to call again, so we checked the SSA website and a benefits tab has been added, but it states, you are not currently receiving benefits, estimated benefits not available.
    After being so rudely treated and told not to phone again, we don’t know what to do for fear of further hindering the processing of his claim.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Befuddled,

      First, the representative’s conduct was unacceptable. You might consider writing a letter to the manager of her branch and quoting what you did to me so that the employee can be counseled on appropriate treatment of the public.

      With regard to the claim, some hearings decisions are pulled randomly by the Appeals Council for quality assurance (QA) review. These QA reviews do not usually take as long as an Appeals Council appeal, so the duration that the representative gave you may not be accurate. I believe that your husband should have received a notice about the review. Processing for payment and notice of award with payment amounts and dates will not be completed until after the Appeals Council affirms the judge’s decision. Currently, about all you can do is wait.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Befuddled says:

        Kay, thanks so much for your answer. It has been 56 days since the ALJ issued a fully favorable decision. My husband called the SSA 800# and the man stated it was not at the processing center yet, there had been no computations made yet, as to award amount, and there are ‘no notes’ on the case and didn’t see anything about a review. He said to call back after the 60 day. That is Sunday, I think? Is it usual to get such differing answers? The only thing we have gotten in the mail was the favorable decision letter. Our attorney seems disinterested at this point. Not returning calls. Should we call again Monday and/or call our congressman if there is no info by then? Thank you for your patience and kindness.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Befuddled,

          Your local Social Security office has no control over how long it takes for the Appeals Council to do a quality review. If you wish to take action, you might try your congressman.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  126. Christine says:

    I received my letter on May 11th 2014 stating fully favorable decision, I have recently been in contact with social security, gave my bank info and as of yesterday June 9th my wcb case #. Any idea when I would be receiving my monthly payments or my back pay?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christine,

      I cannot say when benefits will start. If you applied online, you can check on the status of your claim online.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  127. john sullivan says:

    Kay,
    I applied for SSDI in November 2012. I was denied and my subsequent appeal was also denied. I then requested a hearing before ALJ. In the meantime, my advocate resigned from my case for non specific reasons. Anyway, my hearing was on April 24th, 2012. A few days prior to my hearing my former advocates boss called me and said she would show up for the hearing. Before we went before the ALJ she asked me if I would be willing to give up some of my back pay to secure a favorable decision which I agreed to.
    After questioning the VE about sedentary work, my “advocate” offered to give up roughly 1 year of my claim. The exact wording escapes me but it was close to “we will offer to amend the date to 6 month’s prior to my 50th birthday” (November 16, 2013). Once that was offered the ALJ stated he was approving my claim. Question, when does my back pay begin (how can I calculate it)? Why, in your opinion would this occur? And finally, my original advocate was released from my case, I signed no agreement with the new one so technically is she my advocate, entitled to fee’s? Also, I have been working the last year of this case, the ALJ is aware of that, can this have any bearing on my case and will it affect the amount I receive in benefits?
    Sorry for the length and thank you for your excellent insight..

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear John,

      Different, less strict disability criteria are applied for individuals age fifty and over. The reason the advocate suggested accepting a later date of disability was to make it easier to be approved.

      Whether or not the substitute advocate is eligible for a fee depends on the terms of the original fee agreement. If you agreed to have the agency or firm paid a fee, not a specific employee of the agency or firm, then a fee will probably be paid out of any back pay you have coming.

      Your work will not affect your payment amount unless it continued longer than nine months. You will not be eligible for payment in any months after the first nine months of work in which your work was substantial ($1,040 or more in 2013 or $1,070 or more in 2014).

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • john sullivan says:

        Kay,
        Thanks for the answer. I went back to all my paystubs and only in the first 5 months of work was I above the $1040 threshold (I began working in July of 2013 after a couple of years not working due to my disability) Somehow I have to pay bills and put food on the table. But in the 11 months I have worked only the first 5 were above the $1040 and $1070. So I assume I am eligible for full payment. Also, I have no real problem with my advocate being paid other than the fact that I have done all the work on my claim, all they did was show up for my hearing.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear John,

          You are right, it would appear that if you are approved, your work activity will not terminate or interrupt payment.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  128. Jennifer says:

    I applied for disability Oct. 2012. I have been denied twice already. I do have a attorney. I had a mental assessment completed by my psychologist and everything is 75% or below. It states my mood tends to be reactive and I have lot of memory and word finding difficulty. Also have MDD and uncontrollable diabetes. I have a hearing date for September….Does it sound like I will be approved for benefits??

  129. AngieN says:

    Hi Kay,
    I had my hearing in January, however my judge requesting a CE at the time of the hearing to go along with my records, and only received the records mid may, and a decision has been made already when I called. They said it is in und writer status since 6/16/14 and I am wondering he said I can write this dire needs letter and fax it to them and they will determine if it is dire needs and push mine to the top. But what does that mean as far as my decision goes? Do you think I was approved?
    Thanks for your help

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Angie,

      I don’t think that the explanation of the dire-needs process is necessarily an indication that you have been approved. The employee have given you general information without knowledge of the judge’s specific decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  130. Joe says:

    I had a hearing in April and at that time my lawyer told me we won I found out the judge was review my case and I called yesterday and found out the judge has made a decision and its with the writers I am in NYC and was wondering how long of a wait do I have I was told it can be 30-45 days

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joe,

      The time frame you were given was probably accurate as the hearing office would have an idea of the backlogs they have.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Joe says:

        Update I called today and was told that the judge was done reviewing and signing today and I should have it by next week cant wait for that letter

        • Kay Derochie says:

          That’s good news, Joe.

          • Joe says:

            Hi Kay wanted to update I received my written decision from the judge Fully Favorable on July/2014 I am so relieved this took me over 22 months to get to this point now its the waiting game for award letter Question should I update my bank info with SS before I get my award letter

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Joe,

            I suggest waiting for your approval letter from the judge. Then take the letter and your new bank info to the Social Security Administration. At that time, ask if they need anything from you to get payment started and ask what is left for them to do to process payment and how long it will take.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

  131. Mannie Garcia says:

    I had my hearing in January of 2014.. The hearing judge needed more medical records so my attorney requested a 30 day extension this has been already 5 months and still no answer.. My attorney doesn’t call me or nothing and when I do call to ask questions secretary always tell me should be soon and they don’t know either of what’s going on!! I want to call ODAR myself but I just don’t know.. getting desperate here! please advice me what to do.. oh she did tell me it was on post review that was about 2 months ago..

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mannie,

      You can call the hearings office. They will tell you whether a decision has been made (not what the decision was) and whether the appeal is in the letter writing department or whether it is still awaiting the judge’s decision. Either way, all you and your attorney can do at this point is wait.

      Sincerely

      Kay

  132. sick of waiting says:

    I’ll try to make this as short as I can. My 2 sons had their ssi hearing in December 2012. We’ve waited months before calling to find out if decisions been made. It was always pending. Then we’d call once a month-two months, always pending. (I call right to the hearing office. They’d make note we called as a reminder to the alj) after a year since hearings, still pending, I call n they tell me unfortunately we have the alj that always takes along time to do anything, there were many waiting like us. About two months ago my boyfriend, boys father calls. They tell him that we should contact our senator because they are higher than the alj n maybe look into things. I call a few days ago n find out that alj we had “retired” their cases are finally being reviewed under a different alj. It’s been over a year and a half now. How long now do we wait until we hear a decision??? This is a lot longer than we ever thought it’d be. Thank you for your time n input.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sick of Waiting,

      Give the new judge sixty days. The case will be completely new to him or her. If you are denied, you might have a basis for appeal given that the judge who is making the decision was not the judge at the hearing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  133. john sullivan says:

    Hi Kay,
    Thank you for proving this excellent and informative forum. I have another question for you regarding time frames. I talked with my ALJ’s clerk today and he told me that my case had been decided, been through the writing process and is on the Judges desk awaiting his review and signature for mailing. What is the average time for this part of the process? After that, if decision is favorable, about how much longer to receive monthly benefits?
    Thanks in advance…You are a blessing for many of us.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear John,

      I can’t predict when the judge will get to reviewing the letter and signing off. One would hope within a week. If you are approved, it can take two months or longer for benefits to begin. When you get the judge’s approval letter, take it to Social Security and ask for an interview to provide any other information needed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  134. john sullivan says:

    “proving” = “providing”

  135. john sullivan says:

    Hi Again Kay,
    I had a hearing for disability before ALJ on April 24th 2014. As of a couple of days ago a decision has been made and it is on ALJ’s desk awaiting his review and signature to be mailed.
    My question is this, Today 07/03/14 I received a letter from SSI stating “We have received your SSI disability decision from Dept. of Disability. They have found that you meet the medical rules of the SSI disability program…..
    What does this mean exactly? I applied for Social Security Disability, not SSI. Please tell me this is “standard” for no or low income cases (I will not qualify for SSI as I understand it because I work) and that my Disability (SSD) decision is separate.
    Thank you in advance and BLESS you for your time and effort. It is greatly appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear John,

      I believe that somehow you applied for both Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability. The letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is an indication that you have been medically approved for both SSDI and SSI. You need to respond the request for information for the SSI claim to establish that you are not financially eligible. This is needed to clear the way for payment of your SSDI claim.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • john sullivan says:

        Kay,
        Thank you for the response. I did apply for SSI at the beginning of this whole process and was initially denied so this makes sense. I am getting very close to not being able to perform any type of work whatsoever due to my medical condition (I have the most aggressive form of RA combined with COPD) so I am praying that the end of this process is near and regular monthly payments are not far away. Unfortunately, I live in a state (KY) which does not offer much assistance to people in my condition. I never thought I would be in this predicament and have a new found respect for others like me. Working has worsened my condition, but having a wife who cannot work due to her own medical issues and a 15 year old daughter I had no choice, SNAP benefits are not enough and somebody has to pay the rent, electric and all the medical bills incurred thus far. Working on getting enough medical documentation so my wife can file for SSDI / SSD herself. I’m quite sure we will have more questions and the need of a DisabilityAdvisor representative / attorney, she has a very good case in my opinion.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear John,

          When you wife is ready to apply, she can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. She does not have to pay any legal fees up front and she will pay attorney fees only if she is approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount her attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from her retroactive award at the time they send her back pay to her. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  136. Fergie in FayettevilleNC says:

    Dear Kay,

    I really don’t want to wine and complain, because I know that everything that I am experiencing is unfortunately normal. I am perhaps venting and seeking a little reassurance from a seasoned pro such as yourself, as I have been following this site since Jan. of 2012 when I first began this journey.
    1- Denied of course, at the time 38 yr. old Teacher with a Bachelor’s degree with a condition ruled as a postpartum condition, that however has changed my life and well being.
    2- Hearing on April 8, 2014, lawyer given until April 14th to submit a few more documents. Around June 4, 2014 there was a question about a provider. My lawyer and I provided the answer they needed(dr’s practice).
    3- My case remains under review, awaiting the judge’s decision as of July 8, 2014.

    At my hearing both the judge and my attorney questioned the VE he listed 3 very sad jobs that I could perform, and each were available in NC! I ACTUALLY CRIED RIGHT THERE!!! In response to the jobs the VE went on to say to both the Judge and My attorney with further questioning from each, that I would not be able to perform either job because I need frequent breaks, days off for appointments and time to recover from subsequent employment, and I would not be employable by most employers. That sounds like the response one wants. My attorney and I feel good about it. I personally feel that they had to find out who that Dr. was, he was not my reg. Cardiologist, but he is from my Dr.’s practice and he specializes in Heart Catheterizations, therefore he was my Dr. 1 day.
    Does it sound like no news is good news, does it sound favorable? Your OPINION please I know you can’t definitively say, please tell me what you think. 90 days tomorrow feeling a little stir crazy!!!
    Thanks!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Fergie,

      If the judge believes that the information submitted supports you have the limitations that you claim, I would expect your claim to be approved given the vocational expert’s testimony.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Fergie in FayettevilleNC says:

        Thanks you!

      • Fergie says:

        Hi Kate,

        Just an update for reference as of today they are finishing the writing process and will soon be mailing the decision letter out. Hearing 4-08-2014 Fayetteville, NC ODAR.
        So your readers, and yourself can gauge the processing time…..fingers crossed!!!

        Fergie

  137. Laura says:

    I was denied by an ALJ for SSDI. I do not wish to appeal but rather start a new claim. Do I have to wait 60 days?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laura,

      No, you do not have to wait sixty days to file a new claim. On your new claim, you must claim a disability date after the date of the hearing denial.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  138. paul smith says:

    I had a Judicial hearing on 4/24/14 and had been waiting on a decision until 7/7/14 at which time I visited my local Social Security office to inquire as to the status of my case. I was informed at that time that the Judge found partially favorable to my case meaning: I originally filed for benefits in 2009 but the Judge ruled that it was after that date in 2009 that he found me to be disabled. Then the case worker informed me of the following: ” Unfortunately the Judge retired before signing off on your case so a Supplemental Hearing is now scheduled for November 5th.” Isn’t this like being tried for the same crime twice after being found favorable the first time?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Paul,

      I am not sure whether you have recourse. The judge now in charge of your case apparently feels he or she needs more information to sign off on the partially favorable decision or the judge never wrote the decision at all. If you do not have legal representation, it might be a good idea to get an attorney. In any case, if you are not approved on the November hearing, you might have grounds for another appeal. At the hearing, try to be patient and answer all questions fully even if you already answered them at the last hearing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  139. Joseph says:

    my sister filed an appeal for social security disability, and was told she’d hear in 90 days? it’s been over 4 months and no word? what is the common period
    for an initial appeal in Illinois? she’s overwhelmed and getting depressed with delays.
    thanks
    Joe

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joseph,

      Long delays seem to be more and more common. I suggest that she call Social Security just to find out where her claim is in the process and to be sure that it has been sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS). If it has, she can request the DDS phone number and talk to the examiner to see if more information is needed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Joseph says:

        Thank you, Kay,
        I appreciate the advice,
        I will let her know.

        thanks
        Joseph

        • Kay Derochie says:

          You are welcome, Joseph.

          • Joseph says:

            one last question, do they ever update their website re: status or confirmation of receipt of documents?
            seems like her’s has been same info since she initially filed last August?
            thanks Kay!
            Joseph

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Joseph,

            To my knowledge the website is not updated for receipt of documents. If you want to know whether a document has been received, call the claim examiner who is handling your claim at the Disability Determination Services (DDS). Your local office can give you the DDS phone number.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

  140. Joseph says:

    Good morning and thanks again, Kay
    I appreciate the information and my sister said thank you!
    Joe

  141. Suzanne says:

    Hi Kay:

    My hearing was on June 4, 2014. The judge spent 50 minutes (my lawyer told me afterward that he watched the clock!) asking me to describe our house. I think he was trying to figure out how it is that I could use the stairs as much as I do every day. Our house is a split-level and has no bathrooms on the main floor, so I have to go up and down multiple times a day because of MS bladder issues. The laundry closet is downstairs, which means more stairs if I do laundry that day.

    After the hearing was over, my lawyer had my husband and I go into a conference room and the first thing he said was, “That was the strangest hearing I’ve been to. He spent 50 minutes asking about your house.” He then said that he really didn’t know which way it would go.

    I’m kicking myself because I almost blurted out during the hearing, “That’s why we’re trying to move to a rambler– no stairs.”, but at that point, I thought I had rambled on too long and I was remembering my lawyer’s advice to keep my answers short. Do you have a feeling one way or another as to why he would have spent so long on that subject? Thank you very much!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Suzanne,

      Why was such a long time spent on one subject? I don’t know, but you are right that the judge was trying to see whether the limitations that you claimed were supported or whether your allegations were inconsistent with how you live your life. Unless your attorney objects, you could send the judge a letter saying that at the hearing you forgot to say that you and your husband are trying to move into a single-level home because of the difficulty you have with the stairs.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Suzanne says:

        Thanks for your response. Well, I just talked to my lawyer today and he said I was denied. I just haven’t received the letter yet. Apparently it’s a 21 page letter and he wants to review it before he decides if we should go on to the Appeals Council. I’ve heard the approval rate at that stage is an abysmal 13%. Sigh.

  142. Jon says:

    Hi,
    Is SGA limit of 1070 the amount you earn added together with Social security payments or just the amount you earn per month? Thank you

  143. missy says:

    Hello Kay,
    My name is missy and i recieved my acceptance letter from ssa a few days ago…. my question is i was approved for ssdi but , they said they werent sure about ssi… i did apply for both. What are the guidelines for getting ssi and, what is the difference between ssdi and ssi. I am a mother of 2 school aged children also and, have read yhat they also get disability but, how is that possible of they are healthy? I appreciate your time, thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Missy,

      Receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits can result in dependents benefits being paid to your children. The children do not have to be disabled. When you provide information about your family’s income, resources (assets) and living arrangements (who lives with you and who pays the shelter and food costs), the Social Security Administration will figure out whether you are eligible for SSI. You can find answers to your questions about SSI in the articles under the “SSI” tab on this website, http://www.disabilityadvisor.com.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  144. Paula Shaver says:

    my husband has went before the same judge twice ,the first time it was appealed to a commitee they said the judge didnt take in concideration of his drpression.he went before the judge july 24th 2014 ,how long does it take for him to get a letter?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Paula,

      It could take a month or two before you get the decision from the second hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  145. Marilyn Sullivan says:

    Hi Kay,
    I had my disability hearing june 15, 2014 with an attorney reprsenting me. as of todays date I am still in the judges hands. is that a long time to wait and are my chances higher for a nonfavorable decision? my issues are parkinson, High blood pressure, panic disorder. whats a good time to wait to expect a favorable decision?

    thanks,
    marilyn sullivan

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marilyn,

      The guidelines are for the decision to be rendered within sixty days, but it often takes longer.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  146. Marilyn Sullivan says:

    ok if it takes longer is that an indication of an unfavorable decision

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marilyn,

      The time a decision pends is not an indication of either approval or denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  147. Sam says:

    Hello,
    I received a call a day before my hearing from the odar office stating that my hearing for the next day was cancelled and that they had contacted my attorney to notify her of that information as well. I was advised in the message left that if I had any questions I could contact my attorney. Well before I could call my attorney , she called me to say the hearing had been cancelled by the judge and that I would be given a new date as soon as possible. No other information was given. I applied for benefits last year in February so needless to say I am extremely upset that I waited this long for a hearing only to have it cancelled. It was scheduled for August 1. Is this something that happens often? Shouldn’t I have received something in the mail to explain why this happen. I mean does anyone understand that this is not a game for someone who is suffering from severe depression. I don’t know how much more I can take.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sam,

      Occasionally hearings are rescheduled. Perhaps you received short notice because the judge was ill.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Sam says:

        Hello ms. Kay and thanks for the response. I received information from my attorney that I have new hearing date sometime in October but I have yet to hear from the odar. They also said they were going to get updated medical information for me. Couldnt my attorney ask for an otr in my case since my hearing was in fact cancelled or is this something I could request directly. I am at the end of my rope here and I’m suffering a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Sam,

          You appointed your attorney to represent you so unless asked to do otherwise it is appropriate to leave the communications with the hearings office to him. Attorneys will ask for decisions on the record (OTR) only if they think it is to your advantage. If the judge looks at the new medical information and decides you are disabled, he can of his own initiative, make a decision on the record.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  148. rob says:

    hey kay i have a question for you! can u please answer my question quickly please! i am currently on social security disbaility i get
    ssdi and ssi. i get 500+ a month in ssdi and i get a 200 a month in ssi.i am currently owed 10,000 bucks in back pay in SSI. ok they pay out the ssi in installments of 2,000 bucks every 6 months! which i’m sure you know of! ok my question is that i can’t get any ssi backpay released intill my next installment which is in 3 months from now and then i will get another one in 6 months because your not allowed to have assets of more then 2 grand! well i really need my back pay to move and get another place to live and also get a car for transportation! and as we all know when u move and get a new place to live u need 1st last and security! which would be about 3,000 bucks to pay for 1st last and security! and to get a car i need to have about 2 grand to buy a car out right! and then aqs we all know then i would have assets and not be able to get ssi because i own a car which i think is bullcrap! but anyway my question is can i cancel my ssi for the next 12 months and make my-self ineligable so i can get my 10,000 grand in back-pay so i can get my new place to live and my car and then start back up again in 12 months! the reason why i ask this is because if i cancel my SSI i will still get my SSDI! so yes i would lose 200 a month in SSI but i would still get my SSDI! BUT I READ ON SOCIAL SECURITY WEBSITE THAT THE ONLY WAY THAT I CAN GET ALL OF MY BACK-PAY UP FRONT IS IF I AM INELIGABLE FOR SSI DUE TO HAVING ASSESTS! AND IF I GET ALL MY BACKPAY THEN I WON’T BE ELEIGABLE! SO LIKE I SAID CAN I VOULINTARLY FORFIET MY montly SSI payments so i can collect all my SSI backpay of 10 grand? and then i would just recieve my montly ssdi payment in the amount of 500+ and then 12 months from now restart my SSI? ALSO IF I WAS TO CANCEL MY SSI AND JUST RECIEVE MY SSDI HOW LONG WOULD IT TAKE TO GET MY SSI BACKPAY? I KNOW WHEN I WENT DOWN THERE AND GOT MY BACKPAY IT TOOK 3 DAYS AND I HAD MY INSTALLMENT OF BACKPAY AFTER I WENT IN THE OFFICE AND THEN I GOT AN EMERGENCY BACKPAY RELEASED OF 1,500 RELEASED FOR MEDICAL REASONS AND GOT THAT IN 3 DAYS ALSO! SO IF I CANCEL MY SSI TO GET 10 GRAND RELEASED WIYUKD I GET THAT IN 3 DAYS ALSO? OR IS THERE A BIG PROCESS INVOLVED WHEN CANCELING YOUR SSI TO GET AKLL YORU BACK PAY RELEASED? LIKE I SAID I REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO THIS AND CANCEL MY SSI TO GET MY 10 GRAND IN BACKPAY BECAUSE THEN I LOSE 200 A MONTH IN SSI AND THEN I ONLY HAVE 500+ A MONTH IN SSDI! BUT I REALLY NEED TO GET A CAR AND I ALSO HAVE TO GET A NEW PLACE TO LIVE SO I NEED A NEW APARTMENT OR HOUSE TO RENT BECAUSE THE PLACE I’M LIVING RIGHT NOW JUST IS NOT WORKING OUT AT THE MOMENT AND SOCIAL SECURITY WILL NOT RELEASE BACKPAY FOR ANY OF THEM REASONS SO I AM PUT IN A SPOT TO WHERE I NEED TO CANCEL MY SSI TO GET MY BACKPAY RELEASED AND LOSE 200 A MONTH AND GET STUCK WITH ONLY 500+A MONTH IN SSDI! SO PLEASE ANSWER MY QUETSION SO I KNOW WHAT I HAVE TO DO AND WHAT MY ANSWERS ARE TO THE QUESTIONS! SO HOW LONG WOULD IT TAKE TO GET ALL THE 10 GRAND BACKPAY ONCE I GO INTO OFFICE AND CANCEL SSI FOR 12 MONTHS? HOW BIG IS THE PROCESS OF DOING SO? AND AFTER 12 MONTHS OF NOT RECIEVING SSI HOW HARD IS IT TO GET MY SSI BACK? DO I JUST HAVE TO SHOW THAT I NO LONGER HAVE MORE THEN 2 GRAND IN ASSETS AND JUST GET RESTARTED AND I WOULD GO BACK TO THE SAME AMOUNT TO THE MAX OF THE 741 A MONTH TOTAL BECAUSE RIGHT NOW I GET 504 IN SSDI AND 237 A MONTH IN SSI! CAUSE LIKE I SAID I REALLY NEED TRANSPORTATION SO I NEED A CAR AND I ALSO NEED A NEW PLACE TO LIVE SO I HAVE TO GET MY BACK PAY SO PLEASE ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS AS SOON AS U CAN TODAY IF POSSIABLE!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      I suggest that you go to Social Security and explain that you have to move and need first, last, and security and that you need transportation to get to medical appointments to buy a car. Take specific information on how much these things will cost and request release that amount of your back pay in a lump sum. If that is not possible, you could request termination NOT cancellation of your SSI claim effective a certain month. (Cancellation of your claim would mean you would not get the SSI back pay.) With regard to the car, you are mistaken. You can have one car and it will not count toward the $2,000 asset limit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  149. Chris says:

    Dear Kay,

    I must say you rock, here you are on here most days probably after work helping people on the computer.That is doing Gods work for people. I have filed for disability in March of 2012. I was denied off the bat and during my reconsideration appeal. The letter read that even though I can’t do anything from my past employment, they feel like I could still do something. Anyway I was injured in the Middle East causing bilateral total knee replacements,PTSD,Depression,NOS with anxiety and depression with panic attacks. Chronic Inquinodynia limits my sitting, standing, or walking abilities. My job history has been as a lieutenant in charge of a criminal investigative unit, and a Special Ops Firefighter II/ Paramedic. i have been seeing a psychiatrist since I worked a brutal homicide of four children ages 3-12.Shot numerous times with an assault rifle. this happened at the end of the nighties. SSD. Sent me for 2 CE exams one physical and one mental. The physical was a travesty
    of justice, what a joke, doogie houser the 5 minute doctor of the world. That should be outlawed. If we are suppose to be truthful and credible, why do these so called doctors get away with jokes for exams. I do a much better exam on the street when I was a medic. LOL. The psychological one was much better, she diagnosed me with the above mental problems in her exam.GAF 45 flat affect irritable with anger, anxiety and depression. My psychiatrist has the same diagnosis but they hardly ever will fill out a RFC report.He advises that a psychologist needs to fill these out. Well I have no insurance for that.Sorry for this long message but trying to calm myself down. My questions are they stated I could not do my last jobs on record. I am 53 my hearing should be in a month or two, should I have a daily journal ? even though it might be hard to keep up with. Also being I was a supervisor for a CID unit and I no longer was physically or mentally focused enough to remain a supervisor over anyone including myself. Will SSD try and say I have transferable skills even though I can no longer supervise ? I did no paper filing or any type of office work, that was all done by our secretary. I actually never had to do any office type work, everything job related has to do with law enforcement and nothing else. I think the SVP =6 <7 Which the way I take it that classifies my jobs as skilled labor. Their psychologist said I showed moderate impairment in short term memory, moderate impairment ability to sustain concentration, moderately impaired in his ability to adapt to change and marked impairment in social relating. I am really scared of the SSA after going to this young doctor for a non honest opinion and examination.My surgeon will not touch me do to this being the second hernia he has fixed for me, the first one had my bladder incarcerated causing it to rip open. Most say this is done during a hernia operation.Anyway thanks for reading this long as heck message.
    God Bless
    Chris

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      There is one thing that puzzles me about your account of the denial. Individuals over age fifty only have to be disabled from occupations they have performed in the past, but you say you denied because you could do other occupations. You applied in 2012 and are now age fifty-three, so I would think that you were over fifty when you were denied at the reconsideration and possibly at the original claim.

      I don’t know that you need a daily journal to present. If it will help you to make an accurate statement of your daily activities when you are asked at the hearing, then it wouldn’t hurt to make notes for yourself. I do think that you need representation at the hearing. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  150. niny says:

    Hi, I was wondering if I didnt show up for my ALJ hearing but I had a lawyer represent me could I still get approved for my ssdi? Or will the judge deny my claim based on me not being there? I was in the hospital therefore my time limit to explain my reason missing my hearing expired but my lawyer sent a letter explaining post- hearing comnents and to consider my claim fully favorable based on the evidence presented at the hearing. And under 20 CFR 404.950 and Hallex I-2-6-1 find me as a non- essential party. So would the judge consider this from my lawyer?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Niny,

      It seems likely that the judge would take into account that you were in the hospital when the hearing was held.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  151. kimberly says:

    Dear Kay,

    I recieved a letter from my sons application which states ” we need to talk with you about your ssi case filed on march 20, 2014. A Favorable medical decision has been made on your ssi claim. In order to process your case, we need to complete the development part of the non-medical portion of your claim” i dont know what i am looking foward to with this letter they’re also asking for paperwork since i did the application online then i had a phone interview after that he had a consultative exam then i recieve this letter..please help

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kimberly,

      Your financial information has to be updated because Supplemental Security Income (SSI) financial eligibility is determined on a month-by-month basis.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  152. Jordan says:

    I am expected to get SSI soon and about 4 years of back pay. My question is, If I get a job and ssi gets cut off, will I still receive my back due payments ?

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jordan,

      Your back pay should still be payable if you get a job and you are either earning too much or the job indicates that you are no longer disabled. One exception might be if you were to start working before the approval was finalized and before first payments were issued. (Note that if you have recovered, by law you are required to report your recovery.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  153. allison says:

    At my hearing, the vocational expert stated that someone with my physical and mental limitations is unable to work at all. Does that mean I will be approved??? It has been almost two months since my hearing. What is taking so long?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Allison,

      If the judge determines that the limitations you are claiming are supported by the medical evidence, it is likely your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  154. Marilyn Sullivan says:

    Hi Kay,
    I had my hearimg on June 18, 2013 and as of today 8/20/14 the judge still has not rendered a decision what can that mean? I was represented by an attorney and had plenty of medical documentation including 2 forms from my Neurologist stating what my limits are and stating totally and permanantly disabled. I’m not understanding why the ALJ is taking so long to make a decision. I’m in Columbia, SC

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marilyn,

      Many hearing decisions take sixty days, which is the guideline for completion, and more than a few take longer. You can call the hearing office to find out whether a decision has been made and whether the appeal is now waiting for the letter to be prepared.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  155. Linda says:

    Kay,

    I had my hearing 6/30/14 and the ALJ made a decision on 7/25/14. The decision writer has had my file for four weeks. Should I be concerned that its taking the decision writer so long to write up the decision? Is it a bad sign that the decision writer has had my file for a month and sounds like it will be longer? Like many others, I am very anxious.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Linda,

      The decision writer does not make the decision; he or she just prepares the letter, which is probably waiting its turn.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  156. PassionateGardener says:

    Hello, I had my hearing at my local ODAR office with the judge on July 18, 2014. There was a VE at the hearing who started out saying there were 2,000 jobs I could do. By the time they went through the residual function capacity from my doctor and the judge asked the VE hypotheticals, they determined there were no jobs inthe national economy that I could perform. My medical evidence is strong with severe LVNC cardiomyopathy, sleep apnea, arthritis and severe dression and anxiety and a very exemplary long work history. I am 58 years old and my attorney argued the grid rules. The judge has only a 45% approval rate. my attorney said it is 50/50 and could go either way but that I have a very strong case. I called the ODAR office and they said a decision was made and it’s with the decision writers and I will receive a write decision in the mail Ina couple of weeks. this judge is known for a quick turn-around time. does this indicate I may have been denied? Z have execellent well-respected doctors from a wold class medical community who support my disabilities and very strong medical evidence. I also have a bi-ve tricular device due to my very poor heart ejection fraction. I have multiple medical conditions but the most severe is my heart function. My lawyer says credibility is everything and that my testimony was excellent as well as my work record. he says my advanced age is a factor as well. I’ve heard that strong cases get denied and that weak cases with malingerers get approved. I don’t understand? If VEsays no jobs that I could perform is this a good factor in my case?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Passionate Gardener,

      I agree with your attorney; it appears that you have a strong case. The fact that the judge makes decisions quickly is not an indication that your claim will be denied. It is good that the vocational expert testified that you could not perform any occupation. If the judge believes that the evidence supports the limitations you are claiming, you will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  157. Linda says:

    Kay,
    Thank you for your response. I knew the decision writer had nothing to do with the decision. According to my attorney’s office it is being edited. What does that mean? They said I was close to getting my letter.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Linda,

      Once the hearing decision letter is written, it is sent to the judge for review to be sure that it is correct and complete. If the judge finds errors or omissions, the letter goes back to the letter writing department to be corrected (edited).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  158. Jennifer E says:

    dear K I had my hearing on February 10th of this year. on June 10th of this year I got a phone call from my attorney stating the judge is going to grant me a favorable decision as long as we could agree on the onset date. well I was very agreeable to what her terms were and I am still waiting for a letter money everything and it is now almost September 1,2014. I know she was on vacation for a short while but this is 7 months and she gave us a favorable decision as per the agreed onset date. What is the problem? I am so frustrated I have been going through this application — denial — appeal process for 4 years now! I first applied in May of 2010 and here we are at the end of August 2014. any input you could give me?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      I suggest that you call the hearing office to find out if a decision has been made and your appeal has progressed to the letter writing department. If it has not, try calling every couple weeks to keep informed. If you haven’t gotten a decision letter by the end of September, I suggest asking your attorney what, if anything, would be advisable to do.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  159. Joe N says:

    Hi Kay, an update for my sister, she is still in Appeals, and she and her husband received letters from SS. another questionnaire regarding her limitations and reasons why she is disabled, this after 6 months in Appeals and no word.Then the forms were returned and she was told she’d hear in 3 months or so?Does this sound right? Is there a turnaround time for these types of Appeals?Does this sound like good news or not? I’ve been working in the Ins. Industry for over 35 years, once in appeals, they have 45 days to make determination.
    They’ll frustrated and asked my for advice? But I have no clue re: SS disabilty.
    thanks Kay!
    Joe

  160. PassionateGardener says:

    Hello Kay,

    First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions on this forum. I called my local ODAR office today to ask the status of my hearing decision. they said it is in the editing phase and once it edited, the decision will be mingled to me. is this a bad sign? I have severL disabilities and my heart condition is the most severe. I have a good lawyer who says my case is very strong, with a strong work history and excellent medical evidence. The VE testified that there are no jobs that I could do in the national economy due to my RFC. My attorney argued the grid rules. The judge who heard my case has a 45% approval rate. My lawyer said it could go either way but my case is very strong. Does editing just mean that the lawyer made changes and it was sent back to decision writers to correct or could this mean that I was denied?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Passionate Gardener,

      Editing just means that when the judge reviewed the letter for his or her signature, some error was found in the letter and it is being corrected so that the letter correctly reflects the judge’s decision and the reasons for it. Editing is not an indication of either approval or denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  161. PassionateGardener says:

    Wow! I must check my spelling before hitting the send button :) I meant that if the judge makes changes to the decision writers copy and my case is sent back to writers for editing is this a bad sign even if my case is strong with excellent medical evidence and a VE that says no jobs that I could perform? Wondering what the ALJ will decide is extremely stressful and the stress is showing up on my bi-ventricular device reports as an extremely fast heart rate.

  162. Taneatha R says:

    I applied for my son SSI in 9/2012 he has Asthma, and he was denied on 10/30/2012 and I filed for a reconsideration on 12/17/2012 and he was denied again, so on 2/17/2013 I filed for a hearing which was dated for 7/24/2014 at the Social Security Admin in Pensacola FL and we had a video conference in front of Judge Hammond. I had no one to represent my son case I was turned down by 3 or 4 attorneys and he’s had numerous hospital stays at Sacred Heart due to his Asthma so the morning of the hearing I may have been in the room 20-30 mins and all the judge asked was what type of medicines he take and how often and does he attend school and has he had any hospital visits/stays and after all the questioning he asked did I want to add or speak about anything that I should make him aware of and I told him yes and I went into details about how he had an asthma attack at school and the school nurse said if he ever get sick again like this to keep him at home due to the fact that they did not know what to do when he had a sever asthma attack. I called the ODAR office in Mobile AL 3 weeks after the hearing and the secretary said a decision has been made but it hasn’t been assigned to an underwriter and its now been over a month and the Judge has a 60% approval rate so how long should I wait to call the ODAR office back or how long should I continue to wait for a decision by mail?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Taneatha,

      You can call every couple of weeks to see how the appeal is progressing–whether it has been assigned to a letter writer or whether the letter has been mailed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  163. Joseph says:

    Hi Kay, as a follow-up on my Sister’s SS Disability claim, she is in Appeals, and got a questionaire regarding her limitations and reasons for her disability.
    she completed and returned form. was told she’d hear back in 3 months or so?
    as this is appeals already, does this sound right? why would it take so long to make a decision? thanks again, Kay!
    Joe

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joe,

      It is not uncommon for appeals to take several months or even longer. The reasons vary but most are related to the volume of appeals being handled as related to the number of people available to process the appeals.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  164. allison says:

    Is it a good sign when you are waiting for a decision letter. I heard that you will get a denial letter quicker than an award letter.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Allison,

      The fact that your appeal is awaiting preparation of the decision letter is only a sign that the judge has made a decision and you are moving closer to getting a written notice of decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  165. ras says:

    I went for a hearing about 2 month ago and I was told by the judge that it will take between 30 to 60 days to hear from them. I called social security six weeks later and spoke to one of the reps who told me over the phone that a favorable decision had been reached on my behalf. I called again after 60 days and I was told a decision had not been made but my case was pending. The rep gave me another toll free number and asked me to called them since that branch was handling my case. Again, I called the receptionist who told me my case is at the editing stage and I will hear from them between 2 to 4 weeks. My question is, how can the first rep I spoke to tell me I had a favorable decision but the second rep also said my case was pending. Secondly, what does editing means.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ras,

      I think that the first person you spoke to incorrectly released information before the appeal decision was fully prepared and mailed to you. Based on the information you provided, I would say that the judge rendered a favorable decision and your appeal went to the letter writing department. After that the letter went back to the judge for review and signature. Apparently, the judge found an error in the letter and sent it back to the writing department for correction. Hopefully, the change is not related to the apparently favorable decision, just to how the letter was written.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  166. Joe Har says:

    Hi, Im stressing a little. I had my hearing on August 19, 2014. Now I know my hearing has been quite recent. During my hearing there was a lot of communicating between the judge and Dr in court. I was expecting to answer some questions from the Judge but he asked me nothing except do I accept what the court was offering. My lawyer told me that will I accept SSDI Title 2 and he suggest that I take it. What does that mean?
    I did take it.
    After court my attorney indicated that the Judge and Dr were in favor of my claim but if for some reason it doesnt go through we can appeal. How long does it generally take to get a decision in the mail, after which if all is good how long will take before payments start coming to me.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joe,

      Many decision letters take sixty days or more. Then, if you applied for Social Security only and not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and you are currently owed money, it can take from two weeks to two months or more to receive benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  167. Scott says:

    My wife and I sat through an ALJ Hearing on 5/1/2014 and we have yet to receive the judge’s decision and have had our attorney call a few times. We’ve been told while a ‘decision has been made’, it’s ‘still being written up’. This was 30 days ago.
    My attorney said he didn’t want to ‘upset’ anyone so he didn’t take it any further. How pathetic is that; we’re concerned about upsetting the judge who isn’t performing his fiduciary duty in the first place.

    I understand the ‘guidelines’ is to issue a decision in 90 day but what’s the point if it’s not followed?
    In all seriousness, who holds the judges accountable? What’s our recourse?

    thank you for time!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Scott,

      The processing-time guidelines for hearing decisions are not enforceable. If your appeal is in letter writing, then the judge has made the decision. Once the letter is written–it’s probably waiting its turn behind a backlog–it goes back to the judge for review and signature. If the judge finds everything is correct, the letter goes out. If there are any errors in the letter, it goes back to letter writing to be edited and resent to the judge for signature.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kayla says:

        Hi there,
        I applied for SSI August 18th 2014 and got a notification that a decision has been made as of the 11th of September 2014. I thought it would take much longer to get a decision. I have not gotten the letter in the mail yet that tells me if I was approved or denied. I was wondering if you could give a rough guess of how long it will take for a letter to be sent tl me with the information?? And also, I have a 6 month old. It is just she and I in the home,do they consider her when makibg a decision?? I was just curious.

        Thank you for your time. :)

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Kayla,

          That time frame is very short for a medical decision to have been rendered unless you qualify for provisional presumptive disability payments. I wonder if the quick decision is a decision on a Social Security Disability (SSDI) claim, perhaps saying that you do not have enough work quarters of coverage to be eligible for SSDI. If that is the case, your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim could still be pending a medical decision.

          Your having a child does not influence eligibility for either disability program; however, if you are approved for SSDI, there might be a dependent benefit payable for your child.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  168. Blessedandhighlyfavored says:

    I was wondering my God brother went to his hearing the beginning of August 08, 2014 and his lawyer told him he would hear something in 30 days and him or his lawyer hasn’t heard anything. When will he likely hear something.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Blessed,

      The guidelines for hearing decisions is sixty days and frequently takes longer. Your god brother can call the hearing office to find out if the decision has been made and the appeal is in the letter writing department.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Blessedandhighlyfavored says:

        He was told yesterday that the judge has rendered a decision, it has been typed, and it is waiting on the judge to sign off is that a good thing or is that the normal procedure regardless of the decision?

  169. Tracie Johnson says:

    Hearing was May 21st and still haven’t heard anything can found out that it was being written up over a month ago. How long does it normally take to find out.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tracie,

      The guideline for hearing decision is sixty days, but many take longer. You are close to getting your decision letter now that your appeal is in the letter writing department. You might check every couple of weeks to see whether a writer has been assigned or the letter has been completed and sent to the judge to review for accuracy and approval to be sent out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tracie Johnson says:

        Actually I called yesterday to where I had hearing and was told that it was in editing since August 15th. I asked what that means and he stated that the judge has it and is reviewing it. Not sure what to expect now as the judge has had it for over a month now.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Tracie,

          The letter is probably just waiting for the judge to get to it or to finish corrections to it if the letter wasn’t prepared correctly.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  170. Stressed&nervous says:

    Hi, I am wondering what you think the outcome of my hearing would be. I have been trying for a bout three years to get my disability. I have been denied a number of times. However, this time I had a lawyer and VE at my hearing. The judge ask the VE some questions. He first ask him what jobs I have had in the past he think I could do which were a daily clerk and QC at a fish plant. Then he asked some hypothetical questions about Is there any jobs that would allow a person to miss work more twice a month he said No. Then he asked hypothetical speaking a person who cant kneel, bend, and etc are there any jobs that the individual can do and the VE said NO. My lawyer had no questions because the judge had asked all the questions my lawyer was gone ask. Although my illness are listed several times in my medical records, no doctor has said how severe it is.Do you think that would hurt my case although there was no jobs the VE thought I could do? It has been a month since my hearing and I have not heard anything. Call my lawyer he hasn’t heard anything either and normally I get a decision unfavorable like the next week. I am feeling confident about this hearing. What you think Kay?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Stressed&nervous,

      If the judge thinks that the information in your claim file supports the level of symptoms and limitations you claim, your appeal is likely to be approved. Your attorney, who has read your claim file, can give you a better idea of whether there is sufficient medical information to support your claimed limitations.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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