Loading...
You are here:  Home  >  Hearings  >  Current Article

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

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  1,198 Comments

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.

    Print       Email
collecting-social-security-disability-benefits

Watch the Video: “How long does it take to get a hearing decision and to start collecting Social Security Disability benefits?”

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.

Denied Benefits? Get your FREE Case Evaluation today

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?”

    Print       Email
  • Published: 5 months ago on March 3, 2016
  • By:
  • Last Modified: March 4, 2016 @ 4:05 pm
  • Filed Under: Hearings

1,198 Comments

  1. Jamie says:

    Hello, Kay. My daughter hearing decision is in write up. How long do we have now? It only been 13 days now. Is a quick decision a good sign? I know I mentioned earlier that the alj did not even ask me any questions at the hearing but he did allow my daughter lawyer to ask me some questions. As I stated she have ADHD, ODD, Depression. She been taking medications since 2014 and she have been going to psychological doctors every since then. She takes ritalin la, intuniv, and prozac. She also receives intensive in-home services since last year….approved by trillium. Your thoughts?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jamie,

      How fast the decision is made is not an indication of approval or denial. The letter writing process can take a couple weeks to a month or more. Given that your daughter’s condition is severe enough to allow for in-home services, she may be eligible.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Kim says:

      I had my hearing on June 16 th and it called for a status update and was told the judge is still reviewing it. I know it can take awhile but I am having panic attacks and crying spells and my husband has had to stay home from work, because of the panic attacks. I just can’t seem to get any answer besides the judge us reviewing. I see others that already have theirs in writing.
      Any info would be appriciated.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Kim,

        The guideline for getting a decision is sixty days from the hearing, though some decisions take longer. How long it pends is not an indication of either approval or denial.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  2. steve says:

    Hi Kay I signed up for disability Aug 2015 I was denied within a month then my reconsideration was also denied. My lawyer filed to be seen in front of alj judge.by the way I live in Indiana.he filed for alj in November 2015. I know there’s a 16.0 month wait period. Does this 16 month wait time go back to when I filed the initial claim. When should I know something when my hearing is. My disability is for severe emphysema. Thank you kay

  3. Lee says:

    Hey Kay:
    My wife had her hearing on 7/13/16. She suffers from chronic fatigue, pain,anxiety due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome & fibromyalgia. Her lawyer asked the VE if someone consistently missed 1.5 days a month or if someone who have to take 30 min unscheduled breaks everyday, would that be allowed. The VE answered “no.” Now, the ALJ is asking for my wife to complete a medical exam. I always thought this would have been asked earlier in the process and she did have update to medical records and a written statement from her doctor explaining her conditions and its limitations. Why would the ALJ ask for a exam at this stage? Based on what I hear about the exams, he probably will not get any info that will help him render a decision. Any thoughts on why the ALJ would ask for an exam at this stage.

    Thanks for your insight!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lee,

      It is not clear from what you wrote whether the judge is asking your wife to go to a medical examination or he has requested a physician review of all the medical information in file. Either way, the judge probably wants more medical information to decide whether it is medically necessary for your wife to miss work and take extended, unscheduled breaks.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  4. Theresa says:

    I just had court on the 7th my date of disability was changed. I suffer from IBS (that has resulted in losing 48lbs, Im still obese) migranes, carpal tunnel, sleep apnea, patellafemoral syndrome, spondyliothesis, bilateral pars defect, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and I’m a 50 on the class v with my therapist. My question is what do you think my odds are of getting approved

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Theresa,

      If you agree to a more recent disability date that the one you claimed, you have a good chance that the claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  5. laura says:

    Hi Kay,
    Do u know what the average waiting time is for an appeal to the alj denial? Also I heard the odds of getting an approval at this stage is next to impossible.
    I was also offered a job that I would like to try that may accommodate all of my disabilities. Will this hurt my case if I wanted to try this job to see if its right for me? thanks in advance for answering my questions

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laura,

      I suggest that you take the job because you have no assurance that your current appeal will be successful. It can take a year or even two for the Appeals Council to review your appeal. Then they can reject it, approve it (rare), or remand it to the judge with instructions for further investigation. The second hearing with the judge could result in an approval or affirmation of the denial. If you are approved, your work could be treated as Trial Work Period months during which benefits continue to be paid. If you are able to work and earn more than $1,130 gross per month ongoing after the nine-month Trial Work Period, benefits would be suspended and after thirty-six months terminated because you would have demonstrated the ability to sustain work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  6. Billy says:

    Hi Susan I applied for disability for mental issues. I’ve been attending a mental health facility and am prescribed medications for ptsd, psychotic disorder and severe depression. I have been attending this facility and treatment for 2 and a half years. I was working part time for about 5 months and fired because of conflict with the schedule. I had my hearing on june 1st and the judge asked questions like could I read a magazine front to back, did I get along with co-workers and other questions I can’t remember,but the hearing lasted about 30 minutes. Oh and I really didn’t understand what the ve was talking about but I believe he thought I could work like 2 entry jobs, but the judge was not clear about my issues with the ve. I have medical files and my doctor supporting my claim my lawyer told me the case is strong and he feels good about the case, but at the hearing he felt like the judge was opposing like trying to down play our case. The judge has a approval rating of 33%
    For the 2016 *fiscal year, Judge R Dirk Selland has disposed 275 cases at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Tampa, Florida. Out of those 275 dispostions, 56 were dismissed, 90 were approved and 129 were denied. My question is what is your opinion of me winning and it’s going on 2 months and still haven’t received a opinion. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Billy,

      Your attorney has much more information that I have and he is uncertain about the outcome. I cannot offer anything more definitive. If you are denied, discuss with your attorney whether the judge’s not clearly representing your limitations to the vocational expert is a basis for appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  7. Nancy A Battista says:

    Hi Kay, I have a few questions. I had my hearing on March 30,2016. The judge asked for clarification on my medical records in May. I called a few days ago they said the decision was being written in the payment center . I called back this morning and they said the judge asked for an updated earnings report. What does all of this mean. I’m so confused. Any information you can give me would help. Thank you Nancy

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nancy,

      I cannot be sure, but I think that after the judge made a decision and before it was finalized some work activity on your part came to light that was not addressed in the pending decision. Either you had worked after the disability date you claimed or a discrepancy became apparent between the date the judge established was your disability onset and the date you were last insured for benefits. Whatever the issue, the judge is gathering information before finalizing his or her decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Nancy A Battista says:

        Is that a good or bad thing? I feel I’m going to get denied. My earnings report has not changed at all. Please give me your imputed I really appreciate it.
        Thanks, Nancy

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Nancy,

          The judge may just be checking that your reported work activity has not changed. He may have requested the earnings just so that the file would be correctly documented.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  8. Jay says:

    Hello I’m asking some questions for my dad his hearing is in 1 month the date is set. He has waited over 2 years. When first applying it was for his back injury from a car crash. Since then (recently) he has had numerous more medical issues ..bad copd,fatty liver, pancrtits and some more issues our question is what is the likely hood of him getting a answer at the hearing considering all these new medical findings? And his hearing date is so close but would a attorney advisory decision be helpful or to request a otrd?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jay,

      Usually judges do not give a verbal decision at the hearing although it does occur. It is important that records be submitted before the hearing for all the more recent medical issues. And, I suggest that your father consult with an attorney about whether to request handling of the appeal in a manner other than a hearing. When he hires a Social Security attorney, 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 his attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before they send his back pay to him.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  9. Ryan kas says:

    Hi Kayy
    I had my disability court date on April 4th which the judge then sent me to see the disability doctor on may 4th. The doctor said he would write a favorable decision to the judge for me which went out on may 10th. It is now July 12th. Should I be worried that its taking this long to get a decision letter?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ryan,

      The length of time you have waited is probably more about how busy the office is than the outcome of the decision. You can call the hearing office to get a status.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  10. tim peavey says:

    Kay first off thank you for your help with everyone..

    I had a video hearing 2 months ago,was me and my Lawyer the young lady taking notes and 2 ME on phone didnt have a VE present..Now the ME said i dont just meet 1 listing i meet or exceed 3 ,so the judge said no need for a ve anyway then-then she tell me to take care and to keep following my dr’s advise……ok so now all looked very well 2 months pass my lawer called me today to say the judge wants another hearing.Im very confused ,my lawer cant say why they to are confused. Why would an Alj want another hearing is this a bad sign ,I hate this, please any understanding would be helpfull alot. Tim

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tim,

      Maybe some procedure was not followed at the first hearing that has to be fulfilled before a favorable decision can be finalized. As you relate the first hearing, I would expect you to be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  11. Trish says:

    Hi Kay,

    I finally had my hearing on June 17th. My lawyer said going into it that he wasn’t confident i would be approved this time around. When we had the hearing, the judge just wanted to talk to my lawyer first. After 20 mins he comes out and tells me the judge agreed that i was disabled as of a certain time. They even called upstairs and got my benefit amount, which he told me in a conference while there. He went back to discuss another thing with the judge and came back out and got me. I went in and she asked a few questions about my previous work. I told her for the last 8 yrs i had held different accounting jobs. The VE agreed and the judge asked her if my career was considered skilled and the VE said it was. She asked how many days a month a company would tolerate before termination. The VE said 1 to 2. The judge asked if they would make provisions and the VE said no and i would be terminated. Then the judge stated that as she stated to my lawyer it was agreed upon that i was found disabled as of a certain date. When we were done my lawyer said he was very happy she agreed that i was found disabled. Does this mean i was unofficially approved?

    I ask also because one of my disabilities is seizures. Due to the stress of the day and possibly my lack of sleep i had a seizure that night and ended up in the ER overnight. I let my lawyer know and asked if he needed the pics of my injuries and records. He told me no because she found me disabled as of Jan 2016. Judge said she was hoping to have her decision in about a month but it may be longer. If approved, how long would it take to get back pay and would it go through my lawyer first? Some friends of mine who’ve been approved said they received their money before a decision letter and others said they received the letter and a week later their back pay.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Trish,

      Yes, you have unofficially been approved for disability benefits. Only attorney fees will be paid to the attorney; the rest of the back pay will be paid to you directly. Sometimes payment starts before the award letter is received.

      If you are approved for both Social Security and SSI, SSI will be paid first and Social Security back pay will be reduced by the amount of SSI paid for months that you were eligible for both. It can take two months or more after you get the approval letter for Social Security to start and longer if SSI is paid first. SSI should start within a month or six weeks, but SSI benefits will not be paid until you have a financial update interview, which should occur with the local office within two weeks of your receiving the approval letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Trish says:

        I did apply for SSI but about 3 months ago received a denial letter. I think my hearing was just for SSDI. I’ve been impatiently waiting for the letter. We lost everything earlier this yr. We lost our housing a few yrs ago and had been living with relatives towing along our two children. We ended up moving in with my mom last April, moving my kids away from friends and the lives they were used to. My 6 yr old adjusted well, but kept asking when he was going back to his school for almost 6 months. My 17 yr old was mad. He loved his tech school and was very upset. He’s loving it here now but it took some time. My husband’s a veteran and hasn’t been able to find work. He’s had two jobs sonce the move but neither lasted. He lost his last job because he developed a diabetic ulcer on his right big toe, has neuropathy and now some type of mass in his left leg. So we’ve been trying to make ends meet living on food stamps and cash assistance. It’s been like a nightmare. So I’m trying to be patient but in the same respect I’m so impatient because there are so many bills piling up and we just can’t bare to lose anymore! Our storage unit was auctioned off in February and they never returned certain items like baby books, pics, etc that meant a lot to us. So I’m trying really hard to stay patient.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Trish,

          It will not help your immediate situation; but if your husband is unable to work and he has been or is expected to be disabled for a period of twelve months, he can file a disability claim also. Given how you describe your finances, I don’t understand the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) denial unless you have excess resources in some form, such as a second vehicle that was too valuable.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,

          • Trish says:

            Hi Kay,

            Our oly income is about $500 in cash assistance $220 in child support payments and we get food stamps. Our car is not paid off and is currently behind. I’m not sure how much longer they will be understanding before they come get it.

            We aren’t sure how long it will take his ulcer to heal. It’s been almost 5 months now. The mass is new though and we just found out about the neurapathy in April. He has other issues but is the kind of man that refuses to go to the doctor unless it’s absolutely nessessary.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            I recommend that your husband file Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income claims now. If he is denied because the disability is not expected to last twelve months, wait about forty-five days from the denial and then file an appeal. Waiting to file the appeal will move your husband closer to the twelve months. Be very thorough in listing all conditions he has and all medical providers and the treatments he is getting including testing to determine the nature and/cause of the mass. If he has to elevate his foot a certain amount each day or has any other limitations or restrictions set by the doctor be sure to list those. (Again, I don’t know why you would have been denied Supplemental Security Income given your financial situation.)

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  12. Joshua says:

    Dear Kay I rencently got approved for SSI on June 24th 2016 at the end of the hearing me and my attorney signed a peice of paper agreeing to the onset date of when backpay should begin I believe… my question is if i got approved on June 24th after waiting 2 1/2 years and with a main hearing and then i went for a 2nd followup hearing because more documentation was provided…when should i receive my letter in the mail? i hear anything from 45 to 90 days though i have to pay back the county i live in for cash assistance they provided me also have to pay my attorney. any timeline help would be awesome.

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joshua,

      The guideline for getting a hearing decision letter is sixty days, but it can take longer. So, the estimate given to you of forty to ninety days is in line with what is typica. After you get the letter, it can take from two or three weeks to a month or more to get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments started. If you were also approved for Social Security, it will be paid second and can take another one to three months after the SSI is paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  13. richard manning says:

    Hello could you tell me what the odds of winning a case that was remanded back from the fed. courts

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Richard,

      I don’t have any statistics, but any remand has a higher chance of approval because some fault has been found with how the hearing decision was arrived at.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  14. ariana says:

    dear kay : im waiting to see the alj ive been waiting for one year and three months my case has not been assigned to a judge yet how much longer do you think i have to wait for my to see a judge? also i lost my benefits two years ago and i was homeless but with all the medical problems that i had diabetes,neuropathy,bronchitis,depression,kidney damage i still had to get a job so i can eat even at my job i had to call out mostly all of the time i recently had to quit because the standing was unbearable with my neuropathy my feet would turn purple and start to swell up i even had to be admitted to the emergency room several times because of it ….my question to you is if the judge ask me if i worked between the time i was cut off what do i say do i be honest and if i say yes would i be denied my benefits that i waited so long to get? PLEASE HELP THANK YOU !

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ariana,

      Your work may or may not affect your appeal for reinstated benefits. You do need to declare the work whether or not the judge asks for it and you must tell the truth at the hearing. Try to write up a statement that includes the start and stop dates of each job, why you started working, how much you earned a month gross, how many days a month you missed or went home early, and why you quit. If need be, contact the employer to gather the data. All this information is needed for the judge to determine whether your work was enough to count as a Trial Work Period month (TWP) in which full benefits are payable and, if so, whether the TWP ended and the work was substantial gainful activity during the period after the end of the TWP.

      Submit the statement to the hearings office as soon as it is prepared, keeping a copy. Also submit a statement of dire need, which might speed up your getting a court date by a little bit. (A side note, if you have not applied for SNAP [food stamps], I suggest you do so.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Kay,
      I have been waiting on my hearing I have been told by my Attny that it shows status as ready to be scheduled. Is this normal I was told back in June that and again today. What is my time line looking to be? Your help is appreciated.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Michelle,

        The timeline varies from hearing office to hearing office depending on the number of cases pending at any time. Being told the same thing in June and July means that your appeal is in the same stage without having moved. The next step in the process is for you and your attorney to be notified of a hearing date. While you wait, be sure that your attorney and the hearing office have all your updated medical information.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  15. Stephanie says:

    My disability was originally denied stating I was disabled yet I could still find some sort of work. I went to the hearing today and the VE said I could no longer preform my past jobs, the first hypothetical the VE listed 3 factory jobs, the judge gave the second hypothetical and the VE said that I would not be able to preform them. My lawyer said he thinks the judge is going to rule on my side. Is he assuming this because only two hypotheticals were given?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Stephanie,

      The number of hypothetical questions differs from case to case depending on the limitations established in the claim so the number of hypotheticals is not critical. What matters is the vocational expert’s opinion that you could not perform the identified occupations with the limitations you are claiming.

      Sincerely,
      kay

  16. Renee says:

    I had a hearing on 6/20/2016 and it lasted all of 15 minutes. The judge asked me basis like my name and age and asked if some of my symptoms were certain things. He then asked the Dr if I fell into a blue book listing (he read a whole lot then said yes it meets a listing). He then asked the VE if there were any jobs and he said no. He told me I was free to go and my lawyer would tell me outside what this meant. She was in there for another 5 minutes and then came out and said congratulations BUT said it’s not a real approval until you get the letter. My question is does this seem like an approval and is there a way to file a dire need AFTER a hearing because I have officially run out of help and money and don’t want to lose my house especially since I am this close but I’m seeing wait times can be 6 months.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Renee,

      I’d say it is almost certain that you will get the official written approval. You can file a dire need now with the hearing office to try to the decision sooner; however, check with your lawyer before doing so. You can also file one with the local office to be sent to the payment center once you have the approval letter. Also, take the page of the approval letter that show you are approved and the effective date to your mortgage holder to show that you will be able to bring any arrears in the mortgage current as soon as back benefits are released. Say it will take two to four months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  17. Harry says:

    Hi Kay, the AC determined that my appeal claim for PTSD was SEVERE and ordered the alj to vacate and remand his unfavorable decision. The remand states that I will receive a direct call from the alj .ODAR states that a hearing is not scheduled at this point. So is this a possible OTR favorable decision or will I have a hearing . Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Harry,

      Because the appeal was remanded, I don’t think the Appeals Council directly overturned the judge’s decision. A call from a judge is somewhat unusual, but perhaps there is only one detail that needs answering before the judge can move to an approval without a hearing. If you have an attorney, I suggest you ask your attorney for his or her understanding of the situation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  18. Mary says:

    I had a hearing in March, I called today and said my paperwork was sent to Kentucky and mailed out today. What does Kentucky have to do with it.
    My hearing was in Peoria Ill.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mary,

      If there is a payment center in Kentucky (I wasn’t able to determine this), your claim may have been approved. Another possibility is that there is a quality assurance office in Kentucky and the judge’s decision has been randomly selected for review sent there for a quality review before the decision is finalized. (Finalized denials are usually sent to Virginia.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Bulldog says:

        Hi I also was told I would be receiving my letter from Kentucky. I was told it was mailed 15th and allow 10days cause it’s coming from Kentucky. Do that mean I was denied? The main ODAR is in Jackson, MS

        • Bulldog says:

          I was told that the office in Kentucky is their central printing office. It’s where their letters are printed and mailed from. Have you ever heard of that?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Bulldog,

            I had not heard of that, but it sounds quite plausible. Thank you for sharing the information.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Bulldog,

          Your appeal may have been transferred for completion. I don’t know that the apparent transfer relates to the outcome of your claim.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  19. Laura says:

    Hi Kay,
    I was denied benefits after my ALJ hearing, my attorney feels that I have many grounds for an appeal.
    she also said I have less than 5% chance of having the appeals committee rule in my favor.
    is this true? am I just wasting my time? i’m getting so frustrated and I just don’t know what to do I want to give up because I need money. it’s been three years and I have no income. I just don’t know if its time 2 throw in the towel or keep fighting. I honestly cannot work because of my medical problems.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laura,

      Check to see if you are still insured for Social Security Disability on the day after the date of the hearing denial letter. If you are, discuss with your attorney the pros and cons of filing a new claim versus appealing. If you file a new claim, you cannot claim a date earlier that the day after the hearing denial, so there will be no retroactive benefits. But, if your condition has worsened, maybe you would have a better chance for approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Laura says:

        Thank u Kay
        I spoke with him, and I am elilible until Sept 2017. He said he feels the judge dismissed all of of medical records, and didnt take any of my diagnisis seriously. My denial was based on making more than substantial gain one year which i made less than 11,000 and they said my drs were diagnosong me based on opinions and not medical facts, which I also have tests results (xrays, mris, cardiac caths, stress tests, etc) to back up my medical problems. He also said nothing has drastically changed so if I file a new claim, it will result in a series of denials and appeals. He thinks my age is the biggest facter because I filed at 38 and am now 41. I just dont think I can take another year of this just to end up in another denial. I don’t know what to do

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Laura,

          If you are really disabled, ceasing to pursue benefits may not be in your best interest. Based on the reasons your claim was denied including an error and possible disregard of medical documentation, a request for an Appeals Council review may be the best course.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Kris says:

        Kay,

        How long does it take for direct deposit back pay. My mom is receiving back pay for her husband that passed away in November 2015. She is only receiving back pay and no monthly income. She received approval letter and went to social security office to show death certificate and marriage liscense. They took her direct deposit information and said that it takes 7-10 business days. How long does it take for money to be deposited?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Kris,

          I need more information to respond. You do not say when your mother applied for the back pay or what the circumstances were about the back pay. Was your father approved and payment made or scheduled to be made right when he passed away. Stated another way, what caused the underpayment that is payable to your mother.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  20. Stacey Simon says:

    Hello Miss Kay and thank you for your time. I just recently went before the appeals judge which seemed to go pretty well. However afterwards upon speaking to a distant relative I learned that another relative has been filing taxes in my name this terrified me once I found out because I believe shows a work history and I have not worked in years! Is this something that the social security will find out about and deny me? If so how can I go about proving that I have not worked or file taxes?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Stacey,

      You do need to report what you discovered; if you don’t, the work activity could cause you to be denied. Start by going to the Social Security office in which you filed your claim and telling them what you just found out. Give them the last date you worked and request that they remove all earnings from your earnings records after that point in time. If possible provide contact information for the person using your Social Security number. Also send a letter to the judge with the same information and the fact that you have reported the problem to the local office.

      With regard to your claim, if you haven’t worked in years and didn’t work in the ten years before you became disabled, the disability benefits you have a possibility of receiving are Supplemental Security Income (SSI), not Social Security.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  21. Gina says:

    Hi, Kay,

    Thanks so much for your time.

    I had my hearing and I didn’t have an attorney. The judge asked three hypotheticals, the last one was if I had to take 2 10 minute breaks a day, were there any jobs and the VE said no. Also, the judge left the record open, requesting my psych files and gave me 10 days to comment on them, which I did. The files didn’t include any of the case mgmt notes, which would have been far more detailed and I told the judge about them and asked him to request them if he needed any more information. He didn’t, and the decision is now with unassigned writing. Are these good signs for me?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gina,

      I think there is a reasonable chance your appeal will be successful. If the judge does not approve your claim, you have good grounds for appeal because you offered the case notes after he asked you to comment on the records and he declined to get them.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  22. In Pain In houston says:

    Kay,

    Thank you for the answers. I’ve been suffering from Hidrenditis Supportiva since i was 15 (1995) and have been on antibiotics since that time as well. I had surgery in April of 2014 to remove 8 tumor like cysts and my sweat glands from underneath my Right Axalliary. Currently I am in Hurley stage 3 in my left Axalliary, stage 2 in my breast area and stage 2 going to 3 in my groin, Anal and Leg region. My question is with the fact that the pustules and openings are always opening oozing pus and blood and i can barely stand and sit would i have a good case for Disability

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear In Pain in Houston,

      If you are not working or working and earning less than $1,130, I recommend filing a claim; you may meet the medical requirements for disability benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Leon baldo says:

        Dear Kay, I had my hearing on May, 26th 2016 I was curious about my outcome so I called the hearing office and was told, that the judge has made a decision on my case, but they wouldn’t disclose weather it was approved or not . Today marks 20 days since my hearing , could such a quick decision be a good indication that maybe I was approved for benefits???

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Leon,

          How fast the decision is rendered is not an indication of what the decision is, but it is good you are not having to wait long to find out.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  23. David says:

    Hi Kay,

    i just had my hearing for my ssi case yesterday.. before the hearing however, i met with my lawyer for him to go over what to expect at the hearing with me, and he told me that honestly he isnt sure how my case will go, that it was a 50/50 shot.. i personally beleived at the time that he was just kind of warning me so i dont get my hopes up in case im denied, that my odds were better than 50/50 (although not too much better im sure, maybe 70/30)

    at the hearing though, the judge posed hypotheticals to the vocational expert, and she listed 3 jobs she believed i could do, but due to the amount of time i would miss from work due to medical issues i wouldnt be able to maintain those jobs (and one of the jobs i know i wouldnt be able to even do, im a severe asthmatic along with other issues and she suggested a radio dispatcher, which would involve a lot of talking, and that would trigger my asthma)

    after the hearing i spoke with my lawyer and he seemed happier, but he was still telling me what to do in case of a denial and didnt really comment on how he thought the hearing went.. do you think im right that he just doesnt want to get my hopes up in case i get denied? or am i just grasping at straws? obviously you dont know all the details to my case.. but the vocational expert said she didnt think i could maintain a job with my limitations… wouldnt that be a good sign of approval?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear David,

      If the judge finds that the evidence in your claim file supports you missing the amount of work you are asserting, your claim will probably be approved based on the vocational expert’s testimony. The attorney is likely routinely informing you of your appeal rights, but he probably would not want to say that you are likely to be approved when there is no way to know for certain.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • David says:

        i honestly dont know where she came up with the number she did (%30) but according to the vocational expert, she said an employer normally will tolerate a %10 absence (maybe not the right word?) rate, but normally would not tolerate a %20 rate..

        as for the %30 that the judge came up with, like i said i dont know how she came up with that, but in a 1 year span i was in the hospital 13 times due to my asthma, and about 3/4 of those times i was admitted to the hospital. also i was assigned to a worksite so i could get temporary assistance while waiting for the ssi hearing, and only working 12 hours a week, and most of that time doing literally nothing at the work site(they are very understanding of my limitations, and there isnt much work to do there in the first place), ive had to miss work due to my asthma, and had to go to the emergency room from my worksite

    • Brandon says:

      This is my second hearing in front of an all, what are my chances of getting approved the second time around?

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Brandon,

        If your claim has been remanded (sent back) by the Appeals Council for a second hearing, the chances might be slightly higher than at the first hearing depending on the reason for the remand. If you are having a first hearing on a second claim and your condition is the same as the first claim, your changes could be about the same but there are really too many factors involved to know.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

      • Brandon says:

        What should I expect second time in front of alj?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Brandon,

          The judge should be addressing the points that the Appeals Council requested when the Council remanded your claim.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Brandon says:

            Should I worry about my second hearing in front of alj being denied since I was told by my Atty that the second hearing will be harder than the first hearing? I’m nervous and worried that I’ll be denied a second time…

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Brandon,

            If the second hearing is a remand from the Appeals Council, it will focus on specific points raised by the Appeals Council. I don’t know whether such hearings are more difficult than the original. You might ask you attorney why and in what manner the second hearing will be more difficult. It may be helpful to remember that the hearing is giving you another chance at possible approval.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Brandon says:

            Hi Kay, I recently went to my hearing in front of the alj and when the judge asked the ve were there jobs I could perform despite my mental illness, the ve found several jobs I could perform inspite of my mental limitations. Is that a bad sign that the judge will deny my claim despite my disability and deny my claim?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Brandon,

            It seems likely that your claim will be denied because the vocational professional identified jobs you can perform with your limitations.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  24. Kellie says:

    Good morning Kay,
    Looking for a little advice. I feel like my lawyer did me no justice. I had a video hearing early May. A VE was suppose to be onsite where I was. He never showed. My lawyer didn’t question it and the judge didn’t ask any questions about jobs I’d be able to do. The judge asked my attorney why he didn’t send in a pre hearing summary and he responded, “sorry judge”. The judge then told him in the future if he sees his name make sure he sends one in.(the judge wasn’t happy) The lawyer started off with about three sentences and rattled off codes why he felt I fit the description of someone disabled.
    My background is I’m only 42 so everyone says I’m so young to be disabled. I had back surgery in 2013 an L5-S1 fusion with discectomy and again in 2014 due to bone growth and scar tissue had a redo. When I came out of surgery my left leg wasn’t the same. I developed RSD/CRPS in my lower left leg and foot. The pain is rated 42 on a McGill pain scale. It’s known as the suicide disease because the pain/depression becomes to much. I was an LPN for 10 years before my first surgery. I have about 4-6 Dr’s a month and a full medical history for the past 4-5 years of fully documented back problems including DDD and been for about 30 nerve blocks, ablations, injections etc the past 4 years.
    The judge asked me basic questions about me in general (school, age, previous jobs) He then asked a couple of questions irrelevant such as I was treated for a hand injury (due to a foul baseball at my sons game) he wanted to know if I was playing. Then asked multiple questions about a slipper I wear due to the RSD on my left foot. I tried to explain its not a typical slipper it’s an ugg with a hard sole. The lambs wool doesn’t irritate the RSD as “much.” That was it. He then said ok you’ll get a letter in the mail I advise to call your lawyer to explain it and we’re now off the record.
    My lawyer didn’t ask me one question, judge asked no questions about my limitations, and it was over. My lawyer has only been practicing 2 years(I didn’t choose him he was assigned to me). I left there in tears. My lawyer said its good because I would have a good case to appeal if denied.
    Not what I want to hear. Almost 3 years out of work and constant treatments to possibly have to appeal. If I’m denied to I have the right to request another lawyer?
    Sorry so long I’m just so upset.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kellie,

      Usually you have the right to formally terminate the agreement and get a new representative, but look at the terms of the agreement you signed with the lawyer to be sure and talk with Social Security if needed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Ricky A Finney says:

      How long do it take to get the judges answer

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Ricky,

        The general guideline is sixty days after the hearing, but it can take longer.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  25. Matt says:

    I’m a veteran with a 70% disability rating from the VA. I have bad anxiety and PTSD issues, along with knees and a shoulder that ache at random times through out the day. I had my ALJ hearing about 50 days ago, and am still waiting for a decision. Does the fact that I’m considered 70% disabled from the VA help me case? I’m only 34 years old, will that play a part in the judges decision, as I’m so young?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Matt,

      The VA’s and Social Security’s definitions of disability are different, so a 70% ruling by the VA would not necessarily mean that you would be approved for Social Security. It does mean that you have some impairments and those will be considered along with your education and age, which play a factor in the ability to work in occupations you may not have done before.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  26. glen says:

    I just had my hearing about a week ago with a the disability judge. The job I worked at before having to resign from due to my disability was a high level job at a hospital. I was in charge of budgets for many departments and setting those budgets up each year, approving purchases, and many other similar duties. It was a job I enjoyed and did not want to leave but I just could no longer do it. I even tried to work part time at it for several months but finally gave up. I have a 25 year history of degenerative disc disease in my neck and now in my lumbar spine. I’ve also been diagnosed with cervical dystonia, stenosis, gout, hypertension, and had a kidney stone. The last five years I worked I started having really bad spasms down my neck, into my back and down into my left leg that at times were so bad I could not walk for a few minutes. These happen on a daily basis. I was told by a top surgeon that surgery was not an option for me and that I had the spine of a 60 year old when I was 46. The doctor said the worse thing I could be doing was working sitting at a desk all day. I’ve had a number of other opinions from different doctors that pretty much stated the same thing. Also the medication I am on makes me really sleepy at times and my balance is not great at times. I am now 50 which I know can play a part in the decision of my disability. My attorney stated he thought the case went well. My hearing lasted about 45 minutes and I was encouraged at how much the judge wanted to know about my issues and how they affected my work. The only thing that concerned me was the judge asked the VE three questions in a job code like way that I did not fully understand. To each question the VE answered “yes”. My attorney did not have any questions for the VE when the judge asked him if he did. I do have an MBA and I now know that education and age play a part in the decision. How would you feel about my case?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Glen,

      If either your attorney or the judge asked the vocational expert (VE) whether you could do the identified jobs with the limitations you have and the VE said no, then there is a likelihood your claim would be approved. If those hypothetical questions were not posed, then I’m not sure what the outcome will be. That said, your attorney was optimistic, which is a good sign.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  27. Paris says:

    Hi my case is at the ALJ adjudication office I’m currently waiting to get a hearing date the representative told me I don’t have a date yet and I haven’t been assigned to a judge yet it’s been a year and one month already how much longer do you think I have to wait ..also I’m disabled but I had to get a job to make ends meet will they deny me benefits because I’ve worked???

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Paris,

      If you have earned less than $1,130 gross per month, your work should not affect your benefits. If you have earned $1,130 or more this year or $1,090 or more in 2015, whether or not the work affects your claim depends on how long worked and how long after you became disabled that you did the work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • David says:

      i just had my hearing yesterday, although my hearing was for ssi, not ssd… but i couldn’t imagine them being too different.. but i was waiting for a little over 3 years for it

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I was denied after my ALJ hearing, and I do not understand why. I have isochemic heart disease, as well as many other health issues. I don’t understand why I was denied and the reasonings given behing it. Is it worth trying to appeal, or better to start over again. i’m not concerned about the back pay as much as I am in recieving monthly benefits.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Anonymous,

      First, find out the last date you are insured for Social Security Disability because the earliest disability datge you can assert in a new claim is the day after the date of hearing denial letter. If you file a new claim with an earlier date instead of appealing, the new claim will be denied res judicata (already decided).

      If you are still insured after the date of the hearing decision, I suggest that you request a copy of your claim file and the transcript to the hearing; then consult with an experienced Social Security attorney for an opinion on whether it would be better to appeal or file a new claim. (Be sure not to miss the sixty-day deadline for appealing.) If the recommendation is to appeal, have the attorney prepare the appeal because there are special rules on what has to be proved for a successful Appeals Council review.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks Kay, It says I am insured until 9/2017.
        I will consult an attorney on tuesday after the holiday

      • Lashay says:

        Hi Kay I went my son hearing do to he has autism, an he receive special education services from school and ride a bus for special need kids. After my hearing my lawyer said everything went Great do you think the judge will approve his case. This my second hearing since 2014 but at the time my son was diagnosed with adha/ mood disorder

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Lashay,

          Apparently your attorney, who knows the case and was at the hearing, thinks your son will be approved; there’s no reason to question his or her opinion.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  29. 2ds4es says:

    Does SSI HAVE to follow Judges decision after and Administrative Law Judge hearing? I cant get SSI to follow his decision. Is his decision a legal Court Order?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear 2ds4es,

      Unless the judge’s decision was randomly selected for a quality review and is being reviewed by the Appeals Council, an approval by the judge is a medical approval and that approval prompts the next phase in the approval process. After a hearing approval, the payment center reviews your earnings record to be sure you were insured on the disability onset date set by the judge and authorizes payment for Social Security Disability (SSDI). For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) approvals, the local Social Security office gets a financial update from you and calculates and authorizes SSI payment. The guideline is for payment to begin within sixty days of the hearing approval letter; however, it can take longer.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Bulldog says:

        Hi I was wondering when it’s a favorable decision or denial do both decision go to decision writer and back to the judge and if its approval when do it go to local social security office and payment center before, during or after the written decision has been mailed?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Bulldog,

          Both approvals and denials go to letter writing before the decisions are finalized. Approvals are sent to both the claimant and the local office (SSI claims) or the payment center (SSD claims) after the judge has read and approved the letter for accuracy.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Bulldog says:

            I call today and I es told my decision is in the process of being mailed out. I was wondering do it means I’m denied because I went to my hearing on the 14th of June Judge made decision on 16th of June and sent it to the letter writer and July 8th it was back on the Judge desk for him to review and sign off now it’s in process of being mailed? I’m a nervous wreck. From my other post you said it may be favorable but my lawyer said I had a tough judge he said it could go either way but based on my medical records I would but I’m not so sure considering the quick decision.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Bulldog,

            How fast the decision was made is not an indicator or whether your claim was approved or denied. You should have the decision letter.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  30. Heather M says:

    I have suffered with IBD Crohn’s since birth; (born with an obstruction & resection @ 1 week of age.) Have also lost appendix , part of my colon, and my gallbladder. Since 209 the IBD has now compromised my skeletal system with DDD & DJD. In 2010 I acquired late disseminated Lyme and the Neurological damage caused a difficult form of Aphasia making my ability to do even call center work nearly impossible between having a compromised immune system from my IBD, and Speech issue. I’ve experienced issues with acute depression, panic attacks, & Anxiety while trying to live with all this at variation of degrees since my teens.

    I’m on my second claim since first declined Aug 2014. No Attny involved yet in my case. I’m in Ohio. Apparently things work a little different here. I submitted all my medical records since 2008. They selected my case to be ” fast tracked” through Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) and assigned me a caseworker. I have been to my Mental Health & physical Evaluation. statement made by those third parties to myself and my husband seemed quite favorable; but I am also aware that they aren’t the one to make a final decision.

    I called yesterday to confirm what I saw online that it appears my case has already went to an Adjudicator. It has. It seems very different from the first claim denial. More help, more empathy, and much faster, but again that is my perception presently. I filed this second time in Dec 15. Does this seem like a rush to a second denial? Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Heather,

      As you describe your medical conditions, I would expect you to be approved; however, of course, I can not be sure. If you are denied, get a copy of your claim file to see exactly what is in file and the exact reasons for the denial so you can address your appeal to those reasons. Also, hire an experienced Social Security attorney to help formulate the appeal. When you hire a Social Security attorney, 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 before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  31. Terry says:

    Hi. I applied in July 2014. I lawyer appealed it but said we needed more at the time so it was denied. We applied for the hearing in Dec14,2014. I worked for 19years in consruction. I have adhd,bipolar,ptsd,anxiety,depression,and I was hit by a car in 2007 and had brain surgery. I have chronic encephelmalasia/gliosis on front left lobe and it impossible to exclude the right side. I’ve waited 18months and haven’t worked in two years. Do you think I’ll win my case and when do you think I’ll hear something about court

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Terry,

      If you and the attorney have gathered whatever documentation your attorney thought was missing at the time of the reconsideration appeal and your mental and physical deficits are well-documented, you could be approved. However, there is no way to know in advance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  32. Tim says:

    Hi in 2002 I was diagnosed with deteriating disc in the lower back, and sciatica, as well as severe arthritis in the back area!
    I went to see a specialist for my condition as prescribed by my Dr., but the only treatment the specialist wanted to offer at
    the time was a weekly epidural, in which lasted a whole day 1/2 to 2 days, so I decided to go back to my Dr. and see if he
    could just treat me with pain medication, and return back to work, I did not like the idea of posibly being paralyzed by taking
    the injections into my spine on a weekly basis, with no more relief then I was recieving! I worked all the way up until September
    of 2015, I had taken on another job in December of 2014 that caused my back problem to worsen to the point I was having a hard
    time trying to work, with the pain and all, due to the change in job habits, and more lifting of heavy weight items, and standing
    on my feet for longer length of time! Upon going to the Dr. in September 2014 he wanted me to go see a back specialist, and was
    going to put me out of work until I was able to see the specialist, and go from there! I was made an appointment to see the
    specialist but would be like a months timing so I told my Dr. I wanted to continue to work until I knew exactly what was ahead of
    me, and he allowed me to return to work per my asking, even with the severe pain I knew a full check is better than 60% of your
    pay! However in Oct I ended up going to the ER only to find out that my gauldbladder had went bad, so on Oct 10th 2015 I had
    emergency surgery to remove the gauldbladder, and was put out of work at that point, and have not returned since due to alot of
    other health issues to follow! My already high blood pressure increased, so i now have 2 diffrent meds for it, I had already
    had a case of cellulitis, and now it had returned and grown myrsa in which stopped all other procedures until it was cleared up!
    I was scheduled for a F5 and F4 injections to see where and what the back surgeons plans would be, also i had been scheduled for
    vascular surgery on the left leg due to poor circulation, and swelling, it was put on back burner! Once the myrsa was cleared and
    the procedures could move forward I had both shots in the back, and upon seeing the surgeon he said he could do a procedure in my
    back that would relieve only the sciatica, but not so much help for the back pain in which I had the higher problem of, he also
    stated that due to me having contracting myrsa I stold a higher risk for infection for the procedure, so I am yet to do it if
    its not going to help relieve my back pain! I have had the vascular surgery twice, with no follow ups due to the Dr. relocating
    and not making follow up appointmen, I have had some type of itchy condition that my personal Dr. is treating, and I am also
    scheduled for a sleep test! I filed in November for my disability, and was turned down, so hired a atourney who made an
    appeal on my behalf, in which it also was denied, I am currently awaiting a ALJ hearing in which I have been told could take
    up to 18 months, Any suggestions while I wait! I am currently awaiting to go to do the sleep testing, and taking additional meds
    for all the other conditions, and an increase was added for the extra back pain, which is tolerable as long as I am not doing
    to much stooping/lifting of heavy objects/ or setting constantly, so Im in pretty fowl shape awaiting the ALJ hearing, and to
    see whats going to go wrong next! Any suggestions while I wait??

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tim,

      While you wait for the hearing, stay under the care of appropriate physicians so your condition and treatment can be documented and updated before the hearing. Also, I suggest that you contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to see if you qualify for retraining for lighter work. This could be helpful if you are ultimately turned down for disability benefits. On the other hand, it could also be helpful to your claim if DVR evaluates you and declines to give you services because of your medical problems.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  33. Jay says:

    Kay,

    I love the service you are providing by answering some many questions. It is very admirable. If you could answer a couple quick questions that would be REALLY helpful and very much appreciated.
    In December 2013 we obtained full legal physical custody of Ashley at the age of 12. She was not a family member and Social services recommended US to become basically her parents. We knew she had a learning disability, but we found out about a year and half later that she was intellectually disabled with an IQ of 61. We started realizing it was more then just a learning disability a month or two in but were kept getting told by Social services and her teacher that she just needed more time to adapt. We were never thinking about giving her up, we just wanted answers and help. We did not find out the Truth till we moved from SC to FL and took matters into our own hands. So technically since Ashley is not adopted her application we put in for benefits for her was all based as I guess they described as single. We have been denied 3 times and now waiting for a adjunt hearing . I dont understand why it is taking so long since it has been almost 2 years and also since it pretty cut and dry. She is technically in the eyes of SS she is single at 15. They did not ask our income information at all! Also she is what use to be called mentally retarded with her IQ level. We just need help with some transportation and after school care. So today we got some weird letter saying “We know raising a child with special needs can be challenging” and saying there are programs that can help with a list of things health care costs day care etc. and a number for HRSA and a number for health care which we already have thru my wifes job as a family plan. WHAT IS THIS LETTER SUPPOSE TO MEAN? I feel it is almost a little slap in the face. Do they send this before the main hearing? Do they send this before they send a letter delaying the process even more? Sorry for the long Rant

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jay,

      The letter may be intended as some sort of social services outreach. It would not be in place of appeal rights nor should it delay a hearing. Your income will not be considered in determining the minor ward’s financial eligibility.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  34. Brian G says:

    Jan. 2014 First applied for disability in wisconsin. May 2014, denied. Applied for reconsideration. Dec. 2014, denied again. Applied for hearing right away. One year later, Dec. 2015, my attorney receives letter from ODAR asking for updated medical records and a brief to see if my case can be settled OTR. He notifies me Jan. 2016 that everything has been sent in. And now we sit. And sit. My attorney thinks we should hear something this fall. Does this even sound right? Shouldn’t ODAR have sent us something about the OTR decision or given us a date by now?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brian,

      Your attorney is familiar with hearing office time frames in your area, so there is no reason to doubt his estimate.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Amanda Poore says:

        Hi Kay. Im sorry I can’t figure out how to start my own question. My husband had his hearing on 4-27. The VE said there were 3 jobs he could do. None of them near us or in his line of work. When asked if there were any jobs that he could work and miss 2 days a week for therapy she said no. He called today to check the status and was told it is in decision writing. His exam from the social security disability examiner was very much in his favor. Do you think he has a chance of getting approved? Do approval letters take longer to write than denial letters?

        • Amanda Poore says:

          I also forgot to mention that we have to move out of state because we are loosing our home. If it is in the decision writing can we change our address or will that hold it up.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Amanda,

            Changing your address will not delay anything. Just be sure that your report the change of address to both your current local Social Security office and the hearing office. Also put in a change of address with the post office just in case.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Amanda,

          Approval letters do not take longer to write than denial letters. The testimony of the vocational expert (VE) is helpful to your husband’s claim. If the judge believes that your husband’s medical condition requires him to miss work twice a week, his claim will probably be approved.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • tasha lambert says:

        Hi kay i just have one question how much can i received in ssi For my kids if i have 3 kids that have a disability
        im already getting ssi for 2 an appealing a ssi case for the 3 one if the judge approve does she meet the ssi standards
        Thanks Tasha

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Tasha,

          Without information about your family’s income, I cannot offer an estimate; however, I can say that if the third child is approved and the other two are receiving the maximum $733, the third child will also. If the two are receiving less than the maximum because of parental income, the two will receive an increase and all three will receive the same amount.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  35. David says:

    Ms. Derochie,

    First, thank you for your candid responses to everyone questions. I have to say it has been the most honest and informative site I have found to date.

    I am trying to better understand the process and ensure my appeal is not lost in the shuffle.

    Board of Veterans Appeal with Judge on 17 December 2015
    Additional Information provided to Judge on 17 February 2016, as requested.
    Latest Progress in eBenefits on 15 April 2016 states, “With Veterans Law Judge”

    My original claim dates back to January 2009.

    Question is, what kind of timeline am I looking at (best guess) for a decision letter or some form of notification?

    Is there a number I can call to check on status?

    Thank you ahead of time for your assistance and time! :-)

    Respectfully,

    David L Barnes

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear David,

      The Disability Advisor is not in the position to render an opinion on a case which is active before a judge. Each case is unique and each judge or panel of judges operates on its own discretionary timetable. A judicial appeal to a judge is a serious and complex process. A pro se claimant (one without an attorney) is held to the same standard of knowledge as an attorney when it comes to setting in motion a judicial appeal. If you don’t have legal assistance, it might be a good idea to engage an accredited VA attorney.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  36. Kimberly says:

    Hi Kay

    First off thank you for taking the time to answer questions!

    I had my hearing Wednesday the occupational expert didnt suggest any jobs, the judge didnt ask her any questions and after the judge had me leave he told my attorney off the record that I was in “dire need” i just wonder if this all sounds like he will be approving my claim. I dont understand if he felt I was I dire need why not say that with me in the room and why not approve me right away. Also why wouldn’t the occupational expert suggest any jobs? She just listed my jobs…their codes.and numbers associated with skill level..physical level etc I would have thought the judge would have asked her if she didnt state any on her own. The judge was right I am in dire need!

    Thank you for your time

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kimberly,

      The judge is apparently making the decision off the medical records that either you are so disabled he does not need the vocational expert’s opinion to approve or that the information in file does not support sufficient severity to investigate vocational factors. In other words, the decision–approval or denial–will be made without the vocational input. If you are denied, it could be good grounds for appeal. I don’t know what was behind the judge’s remark that you were in dire need. I also don’t know why he had a sidebar with the attorney, but it seems that sometimes judges will talk with the attorneys and tip them off to an upcoming approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kimberly says:

        Well i have solid medical records dating back to jan 07 every month seeing a doctor..i even attempted a call center job while waiting for the hearing that lasted less than 2 weeks I just couldnt do the work. I have severe neuropathy and atrophy in both of my hands and arms as shown wirh an EMG..back issues supported by MRIs..shoulder issues supported by MRI..surgery on the 25th. Severe depression based on the evaluation the state had me go too. I so tried not to let my aniexty show but it wasnt easy at all and the judge saw me shaking uncontrollably…i couldnt sit or stand for any length of time and felt disrespectful sitting and standing constantly however my attorney said she felt he was going to pay out on the claim? His denial rate is 18%..i dont want to assume my attorney is saying she believes an approval is coming that isnt the case.

      • Kimberly says:

        I also meant to ask..i keep reading people are checking statuses online..how do I go about checking mine

        Thank you

        Kimberly

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Kimberly,

          At the hearing level, the online information is not helpful. You can get a status on the hearing decision by calling the hearing office if you don’t have decision in about six weeks. If you applied online, you already have an online account at http://www.ssa.gov. If you did not, you can go to that site and set up a “My Social Security” account, which will allow you to monitor activity on your account after it leaves the hearing office.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  37. Milinda Weldon says:

    My question is: I have been moved to the critical stage in the decision hearing. My hearing has been changed three times due ti conflict of scheduling. What are the chances of the judge looking at my case and making a determination of no hearing at all. I have not worked in two years due to PTSD and Temporary Disassociation with Reality along with severe depression and major anxiety

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Milinda,

      I think your claim will go to a hearing; otherwise, a decision would already have been made on the record.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  38. brenda white says:

    Hi kay I’m writing you to ask you for advice on my case…I was told the judge made decision on my OTR and that my case is with the writers is it.possible he ruled in my favor Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brenda,

      Yes, it is probable that your claim was approved because otherwise you would have the right to have a hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  39. Laura says:

    Hi I just called for the status of my alj hearing i had on 3/31
    They told me it is waiting for the judge to proofread and edit and if I dont hear by 6/1 to call back and recheck status. Depending on how much the judge is backed up it can take upto 4 weeks for her to get to it.
    Can someone please tell me what this means, I have no idea, and my attorney is on vacation.
    Thanks in advance

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laura,

      It means that you will be getting your decision letter with at least five weeks (four for the judge to review it and one for mailing).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Laura says:

      thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I cannot stop stressing out about this. I run to the mailbox every day hoping my decision is there. i’m so scared and nervous that I’m going to be denied. I have many medical problems, heart disease I need a knee replacement, asthma COPD, and morbid obesity. My dr said I am temporary disabled until After weight loss surgery and everyone says because I have a solution to my medical problems I will be denied. The VE found two jobs for me but when the judge asked about hypotheticals she said there was nothing in the community for me. my lawyer did very little talking, and said I covered everything, and was please with a VE’s decision. and my getting my hopes up thinking that I might be approved, or should I just expect denial?
      Thank you I apologize for this being so long I’m just so stressed

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Laura,

        Your judge was at the hearing so there is no reason to doubt his opinion. It is possible to be approved and later have treatment that results in recovery and have benefits stop. However, if you have been disabled more than twelve months, you would not be denied because you might get better.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  40. Jennifer says:

    I had my hearing in January and it’s still with the decision writer. My local office won’t tell me the decision. The VE named off some random jobs and then said I couldn’t do my previous work or anything in the economy due to my problems. Is this good?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      The local office does not know what the decision is because the decision has not been finalized with the letter. If the judge believes that your problems are as great as you claim, then with the vocational expert’s testimony, your claim is likely to be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  41. Blessed says:

    Kay was wondering at hearing lawyer wanted to change onset date he says all went well, a few days later he submitted the new onset date and said alj requested new medical records on some new problems I am having called the 800 number they said case pending decision she said she can’t say anything but everything looks good just curious as to what that means.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Blessed,

      Well, “everything looking good” sounds as if the person was trying to give you the clue that the appeal will probably be approved, assuming the requested records continue to support approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  42. joyce m jones says:

    I had a scheduled hearing for june 21 2016 , but, 2 days after my attorney called me wit this date theycalled me back to adice hearing judge died,now I am waiting to be rescheduled and it has approx. 3 weeks and still waiting for a new date. I s this normal to wait to rescheduled so long?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joyce,

      Rescheduling due to the death of a judge is not a normal situation. The other judges already have hearings scheduled and all of the deceased cases have to be reassigned so it is hard to predict how long you will wait for a date.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Travis says:

      Dear Kay,

      I had a hearing 2-11-16.
      At the hearing my lawyer ask for 2 weeks additional for medical records..its been now 94 days and I still do not know any decision ..

      • Travis says:

        Dear Kay

        This is my 2nd request.. It’s been 94 days since my hearing.. After the hearing my lawyer said 90 days in court. My lawyer ask for 2 weeks additional for records.. My lawyer said I did good at the hearing . And my doctor made me permantly disabled.. But I’m 39 years old and feel that’s my promblem..

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Travis,

        If you have a question, please post it and I will try to respond.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  43. anonymous says:

    Dear Kay,
    I had a hearing almost 3 months ago. I feel it went well, although I feel the judge was not a happy person. I have a Lawyer and when I signed on with them I had filled out a paper for direct deposit, I have since changed my banking institution. I’ve read contradicting details of how people receive their back pay. Some say they get money after a award letter and some say before they get the letter. I’m worried it might be a problem with this old information. My lawyer says we can give it to them afterwards. What should I do?

    • anonymous says:

      Also, what is typical of reviewing back pay Ns monthly payments?

      • anonymous says:

        Receiving and*

        • anonymous says:

          I called today & finally they said the judge made a decision and it with a unassigned writer. I hope this process is going to take 3 more months. I am encouraged she at least made a decision.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Anonymous,

            The letter writing can take from a week to two months, but often seems to run three or four weeks.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Anonymous,

        Monthly payments usually start before back pay.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Anonymous,

      You will get your hearing decision long before payment starts. If you are approved, at that time take your approval letter from the judge and your new banking information to your local Social Security office. If you are approved for both SSDI and SSI, ask that they update the banking info on both claims.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  44. Karen Tincher says:

    Dear Kay,
    I had a hearing on 2-1-16 that seemed to go well on 4-1-16 my lawyer contacted me and said the just wanted to change my onset date which I agreed to as of 4-15-16 my case has been with decision writers any ideas of how much longer until I hear something I’m going crazy here I have bad anxiety and this is not helping

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Karen,

      It can take a couple of weeks to more than a month for the letter to get through letter writing and be signed off by the judge. The fact that you were asked to change your onset date is an indication to me that your claim will be approved with the onset date you agreed to so there is probably no reason to be nervous about the decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tim says:

        My hearing was 2-24-16. The ALJ left my case open until 3-23-16 to allow additional medical records to come in. I have been told by my attorney the judge made his decision and is being written. Online it states a decision has not been made. Weeks previous it stated that ODAR had not made a decision. The ODAR portion has been taken off of my status online. Do you have any idea why that has happened ? Also, could this mean I will be denied ? Thank you so much.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Tim,

          Your online record does not have detailed information about the progress of your hearing appeal. If the hearing office told your attorney that the decision had been made, that would be accurate. You are probably just waiting for the decision letter to be written up. None of the information you shared indicated either an approval or a denial.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Tim says:

            Notice of decision came today. Fully favorable. Stressing and trying to read between the lines does more damage than good. It did for me. Nothing matters until you get the letter. Thank you Kay.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            You are welcome, Tim. And, you are right.

      • stacy green says:

        Hi kaye i have a couple of questions

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Stacy,

          Please post your questions so I can try to respond.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • stacy green says:

            Im sorry didnt see where yu responed ok i was denied on my claim last june im appealing the case 2 months ago i brought evaluation papers to the ODAR spoke with the supervisor ask her how to speed up the case she told me to write a letter askin the judge fo an OTR I DID IT call two weeks ago SUPERVISOR at odar told me that theJudge made a decision an the letter is wit disability attorney to call back in 2 weeks shoul i take this as good news

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Stacy,

            A decision on the record (OTR) has to be an approval; otherwise, you would get a hearing.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • brenda white says:

            Hello kay i just call the ODAR OFFICE an was told my letter is waitin to b mailed out can you explain the process

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Brenda,

            Apparently the judge has signed off on the decision letter and it should have been mailed within a day of when you were given the information.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  45. Renee says:

    Just called the SS office for my area to check on my husband’s disability claim. It has been 3 months since his hearing in front of alj who said we would know something by 3/15 which we did not hear anything. I called and they said decision writer just got the case this week and they can not tell me how much longer it will be before we know the outcome. Will it take 3 more months to find out?

    thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Renee,

      Unless the hearing office is terribly backed up,your husband should get a letter in about a month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sue says:

        Hi Kay,
        I just received an unfavorable decision, in the letter she said she gave little weight to doctors I have been seeing for years, and considerable weight to the medical experts. I was a government employee and retired with a disability pension. The ime was 8 pages long and cited a lot of bloodwork and regular visits. She gave little weight to his evaluation – she is wrong, I am disabled. Should I continue or throw in the towel, btw I had a lousy attorney. I will have to get a new one if I choose to proceed. Thank you.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Sue,

          If you believe that you are unable to work in any occupation, I recommend that you appeal. The guidelines on what can be submitted for an Appeals Council appeal are very specific, so do use an experienced Social Security attorney to prepare and submit the appeal.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Tammy says:

            I had my hearing back in May 2015 I still have not heard anything from anybody I called to check the status and they said it is in the decision writing process what do you think this means am I denied or am I going to get get approved?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Tammy,

            The judge rendered a decision. It could be an approval or a denial. Now a detailed letter is being prepared that will tell you the decision and the basis for the decision.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Sue says:

            Thanks Kay, I had a doctor visit Monday and she advised me to appeal also, she agrees I cannot work in any area.
            Sue

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Sue,

            You are welcome. I suggest getting a statement from the doctor regarding her opinion and the basis for the opinion to support your appeal.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  46. At there Mercy says:

    How is it that when you contact someone from the Social Security office you get a different answer to the same question. (They tell you to call back in a week or 2 for updates), or its being processed, they need 3 signature’s and only have one so far, you have to wait until you start your monthly social security before you get any back pay(which is still another month away), ect…
    I had a fully favorable decision back in the beginning of February and have not received any back payment nor a letter to say how much is awarded.(they said it has been sent out)
    This is very frustrating because of my very limited budget that I am on.
    Your at there mercy.
    I know people who had hearings after me and court rulings after mine and they have received all back payments.
    Is this the norm when dealing with Social security?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear At Their Mercy.

      The general guideline for receiving payment after receiving an approval letter after a hearing is sixty days for Social Security monthly benefits to start if no SSI claim is involved. It is correct that usually the monthly benefit starts before the back pay, which can take a month or two longer. How long it actually takes depends on how heavy the workload and how big the backlog is in your regional payment center, which, like all the payment centers, is understaffed. The people you are talking to are saying the same thing in different ways: they don’t really know when the payment center will get to it. However, if the computer system shows a letter has been sent, you should get it fairly soon.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  47. Lori L. says:

    Hello
    I was told by my attorney that I was partially approved for disabilty from my hearing judge (hearing date was 3/24/16). I have not yet received my letter. I was approved for disability but denied back pay. They moved my onset date from 6/1/13 to 1/1/16 so I now have to wait 5 months for my first payment. Is this normal? It also had something to do with turning 55 in May. My attorney said I can appeal this decision but it would take another 2 yrs and I could be denied completely. He said he thought the judge doesn’t like to give back pay.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lori,

      I don’t know how often later dates of disability are established, but your attorneys assessment of the situation seems correct. Your reaching age fifty-five would change the age-considered factors in whether you can work in an occupation that you have not done in the past.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  48. Rickey says:

    Hi Kay,
    I first signed up for SSI April 2008,but had to reapply again in April 2010 because my lawyer advised me to drop the hearing because of the alj that I was to go in front of then.So I reapplied and hired a new lawyer.This lawyer has stuck with me through 2 alj hearings with the same judge one for a regular hearing and the other for a remand.I was denied again so the us district cour remanded it for a 3rd time.I went to see the lawyer this past Monday and was scheduled to go in front of the alj tomorrow (25),but this past Friday I got a call from the lawyer telling me that the alj would approve me if I accepted the deal to go back to July 2014.I accepted the deal even though Im gonna lose a possibility of losing the months from April 2010 but there was no guarantee the alj would had ruled in my favor so taking the deal knowing that I have the security sooner than later.My question is since I’m not in the county that the decision was made how long do you feel it will take before my local Social Security office receives the award notice & when would I recieve a copy in the mail?When do you think I would start drawing a check & what about the back pay?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ricky,

      If you applied for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and have kept Social Security apprised of your new address, the hearing approval should be transmitted to a local office in your county and there should be no delay due to your move in getting SSI benefits started. If you were approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) the benefits are paid by a regional payment center so no delay should occur due to your move as long as they have the correct address for you.

      I cannot estimate your benefits. SSDI benefits are based on your work earnings record and your age at disability. SSI payments can be different each month and are based on your income, assets, and living arrangements each month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      S

  49. Brandi says:

    Kay,

    Thank you for writing this article. This has great information and has provided some much needed insight.

    I was awarded with a favorable decision after my hearing this Monday. I’ve been in a 2.5 year battle with denials and reapp’s. I have been unable to work for several years due to my disability.

    Most employed individuals receive an annual letter from SS letting them know how much they would receive if they were to be awarded disability benefit.

    Do you know if I get the amount that was offered when I first filed or do I get what it says is available now that I haven’t worked for several years.

    Also, do I receive back pay from the date I applied in the state of Ohio?

    Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to assist me with.

    Brandi

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brandi,

      Your benefit will be somewhere in the ball park of the estimate at the time you became disabled. Benefits will begin to accrue the later of the sixth full calendar month after your established date of disability and twelve months before the date of the original application that is now being approved in appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • karen m gamble says:

        Dear Kay

        I need some advice….I have several issues which to name a few are lower lumbar fusion, orthoscopic surgery on my knee, breast cancer, neuropathy in my feet and hands, carpal tunnel, high blood pressure, depression, and restless legs to name a few….I was unable to sit through the whole hearing without having to stand….the judge asked the doctor sitting in the hearing if I would be able to work customer service and he said yes light duty….but I tried to explain that my hands go numb excessively due to the neuropathy but my oncologist failed to reference my hands in the neuropathy but I have also tested for carpal tunnel which is included in all my stacks I medical records….my atty in turned asked if I could work if I required standing and moving and the doctors response was no…..should I be concerned with whether or not my case will be approved? My hearing was 3/28/16 before leaving the hearing the judge requested that my atty find and send over the EMG over with 7 days….his office had it there in a couple hours.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Karen,

          If the EMG supports significant carpel tunnel, your claim might be approved.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • karen m gamble says:

            The EMG showed that I do have carpal tunnel. I should also mention the fact that I am 54 years old does age factor in to the decision?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Karen,

            Your age is considered in evaluation your ability to move to a new occupation.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

    • jop says:

      Dear Kay,
      HEy I had my hearing on Jan 27 2016 I have 3 screws in my pelvic and PTSD depression and anxiety in not able to sit or stand for no long than five to ten min. They asked what job could be performed with geting up and siting down at my paste and there was a camera job and a document job which you had to have a degree for it and the judge asked about a judge with zero tolerance around people and there where none. I still haven’t heard any thing. Jus wondering if you think I have a good chance for a approval.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Jop,

        If the judge finds your medical records support the limitations you are claiming, there’s a good chance the vocational expert’s testimony will allow your claim to be approved.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

      • Mrs.rucker says:

        What does it mean that the doctor is going over my case at the disability adjucation

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Mrs. Rucker,

          What you were told means that the disability examiner wants input from a staff doctor either to review a recommended decision involving complex medical issues or to gain a better understanding of your medical condition before making a decision.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  50. beliving for the best says:

    Hello,Kay I am believing for the best.I had my dads hearing 3/07/2016.it’s been six weeks and I was told the judge has to sign off on it.after my hearing my lawyer stayed in and I went out least then a minute later he came out and told me I was approved and took me in a little room and went over my benefits with me and his fees how can he now this.also is it good to have a decision so fast thanks believing for the best.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Believing,

      Apparently, the judge told your attorney that he or she was going to approve your claim and that is good. It can take sixty days or longer to get the formal decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Amy says:

        Hi. I had a hearing on March 17. My attorney had pretty extensive medical records and notes from my doctors. The disability office also had one of their professionals also attend the hearing. The judge asked the professional questions about whether or not I am able to work, and she told him that I can not work anywhere at all. I know it’s only been 36 days, but I’m just wondering; Is it a good sign for me that their professional told them that I am in fact disabled and unable to work?

  51. cheryl says:

    ok I had my hearing on Jan 15 2016 I haven’t heard anything as of yet I know the VE was on my side with 3 questions asked to him and his reply was no to all 3 when the ALJ was done she said I totally believe you but if you get denied its because of medical does that mean I have lost? it has been over 90 days and when the attorneys office called they were told it hasn’t been reviewed so I’m confused and I’m not getting any where please help

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cheryl,

      I think that the judge will re-review the medical to see if it sufficiently supports your statements about your limitations. If the judge thinks it does, you will be approved; if not, your claim will be denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Sue says:

      Hi,
      Thank you in advance for answering so many questions. Its awesome. My question is if I die before my case has been decided, will my family get my back pay?

  52. Heather says:

    I’ve been diagnosed with Basilar Artery Migraines, occurring 4-5 times a week, and after having gone through the initial application and reconsideration processes, the DDS failed to request or even review the neurologist and other specialist records they were notified of and sent (in my state, the records you send in are not reviewed). I requested a hearing, due to the failures of the DDS to request and review all the records, and the paperwork I received in the mail from the adjudication office says that my case can be pulled and reviewed in advance and they may make a decision without my having to go before a judge. How often does this happen? Are there any statistics or evidence as to what types of instances this occurs? Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Heather,

      If the judge thinks that the appeal can be approved without a hearing, he or she will review the claim file to see if a favorable decision can be made “on the record.” If so, you will not have to go the a hearing. If not, you will have a hearing so that the judge can gather more information and so you have the opportunity to argue your case.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  53. Tami says:

    I was admitted to the behavioral unit at my local hospital for suicidal ideation in Oct. 2015. I also have anxiety disorder, depression, mild cognitive impairment, essential tremors (really bad), parkinisom symtoms???, and I was told at the hospital, bipolar. I called the ODAR office in Dec. and they told me a decision had been made and was with the decision writer. I was hopeful this was a good sign of approval. In Jan. I received a letter wanting more medical records. I called again and was told the judge decided he wanted to see me after all. I have a hearing scheduled for next month. What I want to know if this is a bad sign he wants to see me? I’m really worried about this. I don’t care what the VE or judge thinks, I KNOW I can’t work. I rarely leave my house now as it is. Thanks for any info.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tami,

      Apparently, the judge started to approve your appeal without a hearing based on the information in your claim file, then had second thoughts and decided he wanted to gather more information at a hearing. (Most hearings appeals to have hearings.) Be sure that the judge medical documentation of your condition and treatment since October before the hearing if possible. If you have not had a neurological work-up for the tremors, it could be helpful to your claim to do so.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  54. FAITHFUL says:

    Almost forgot this question. Since he was 15 at the time I signed him up and it tranferred over in his name as an adult. If he wins the case how will this be paid out as far as back pay, etc? He is still living at home and being assisted by me, his mother.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Faithful,

      If the appeal is won and the appeal is on the original 2010 denial and the established disability date is as far back as 2010, benefits will begin to accrue in 2010.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  55. FAITHFUL says:

    Hello Kay.
    Thanks for hosting this website and providing answers as best you can. I have several questions. To begin I applied for my son SSI in 2010 at the age of 15.5 years old. His diagnosis from a Behavioral Center/Psych was ADHD, Anxiety, Depression and a cognitive disorder. He was denied through 2013 when a Federal Judge reversed and remanded his civil case.
    He does have a Lawyer and his hearing was in Feb 2016. Now he is 21 years old and his new findings also include PTSD (possible). 1 week after the hearing we received a letter from SSI stating they wanted to request adding his certified income record into the case. 2 weeks after the hearing he was assigned an appointment with a State Psych (requested by his lawyer prior to hearing but never happened until after hearing). 1 week after this appt. we received a letter proposing to enter this record into the case(dated 3/3).
    Since then we have have received nothing. Per his lawyers the results of the pysch visit was good but may not be dispositive was the wording. This of course did not really sit well in our mind when the lawyer for the firm that appeared at the court hearing stated he thought it went amazingly well and the judge asked questions to the VE that would have normally been asked by our lawyer.
    I called the ODAR today and was told a decision has been made and sent to the writing team but have not been assigned to a writer. What would be an estimated time from this point to receive a determination? The rep said call back next week when i asked should i wait thirty days to call she stated no it should not take that long. With a decison being made this quick after the hearing in this civil case does that possibly mean good news. Any thoughts to this?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Faithful,

      I can’t predict whether your son will be approved or denied, but it seems the claim is being thoroughly investigated. I would think the judge’s decision will be mailed out in less than a month based on what the clerk told you.

      Now that your son is an adult, if he is found to be mentally capable of directing the use of his benefits, his all his benefits will be paid to him. If not, you will be asked to serve as payee and manage his money for him.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  56. anonymous says:

    I had a hearing almost 7 weeks ago. I’m curious if the judge takes into consideration all the medications I take? She did not ask me what I take. I have multiple medical & mental issues. I’m fairly confident I will be approved, as I was represented by a attorney. I’m also wondering how often calling to check on the status of my case would be appropriate? Thank You

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Anonymous,

      Calling every three to four weeks would be acceptable. If the list of your medications is in your medical records, the judge should take the medications and how well you respond to them into consideration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  57. David says:

    Hello. I finally had my hearing with a judge in November and have been waiting for her decision. I just found out a decision was made weeks ago and it was sent to the decision writer. How long can I expect the decision writer process to take before I receive the decision in the mail?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear David,

      How long a decision is in writing depends on the workload in your particular hearing office. Given how long it has been, they must be quite backed up. I would think you’d have the decision letter this month. If you do not, call again and ask whether a check can be done to be sure your claim is just waiting its turn and has not dropped through the cracks.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  58. Jim says:

    I have a hearing on 4/4/16 i am 56 yrs old and have had 3 concussions in the past year and also had foot surgery that does not allow me to walk more than a few blocks without having pain and i am unable to sit or stand for more than a few minutes without pain and numbness. I also have an enlarged prostate that causes me to urinated frequently What are my chances of getting approved

    • Jim says:

      I am also being treated for stress and depression along with anxiety

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Jim,

        Please see my reply of yesterday to your first post. Be sure to report for your claim all your medical conditions including your mental health diagnoses and all your care providers.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jim,

      I am not able to predict whether or not you will be approved. It will depend on how severely your concussions have affected your cognition, how well you are able to document your pain levels, and on your work history and transferable skills you have attained from that work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  59. Lynn says:

    I had my ALJ on 2/29. The VE gave 3 jobs I could do. When the judge asked if any of those jobs would allow for me to be gone multiple days for fatigue and pain, would they? The VE responded with no, in her expert and personal experience, there were no jobs that would allow it.
    What are my chances of being approved?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lynn,

      If the judge finds that the documentation of your claim supports your needing to be off work as much as you claim, your appeal is likely to be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Gregory bloom says:

      Hi my name is Gregory I applied for disability on April 27, 2015 I have CHF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE KIDNLEY PROBLEMS AND DIABETES.so far I have been denied to times so far. I went in front of the ALJ on February 8th 2016, still have not heard from them. I have to kids and we been homeless since September of 2015 ,don’t know what to do anymore do I have a good case?

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Gregory,

        I do not have enough information to know whether you have a good case. If your medical conditions are severe enough that you cannot work in any occupation that without your medical conditions you would be able to perform, your claim will be approved.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  60. max says:

    another thing to my last comment judge actually gave us another 2 weeks to send the last mri that i had done 3 days before the hearing.i got the report and it shows that nothing has changed in my health nothing has gotten better its just the same of the mri of 2015 witch it shows my neck shifted 10 cm and my lower and upper back have nerve compression but no doctor will do surgery for my neck because of how bad it is

  61. max says:

    hello i just went to my hearing on march 14 the vocational expert told the judge that i wont be able to do any of my pass work but that he found 2 that i might be able to do but at a 75% chance of me lasting on the job.can anyone tell me if it looks good for me

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Max,

      I don’t know whether or not you will be approved. I think that it will depend on the how the judge regards a 75% chance of being about to sustain work in the identified jobs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  62. Helene Harrison says:

    Dear Kay,

    How long does it take to receive a hearing date after you’ve received notification that the disability board is ready to review your case?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Helene,

      You appeal will be reviewed by the judge assigned to the appeal in preparation for the hearing sometime between the notice you got and the hearing date that was set.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  63. David says:

    Hello. I finally had my hearing with a judge in November and have awaiting her decision. I just found out a decision has been made and it was send to the decision writer. How long can I expect that process to take before I receive the decision in the mail?

    • David says:

      Why isn’t my question being answered?

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear David,

        I responded on March 25. Here’s what I said: How long letter preparation takes varies a great deal from one hearing office to the next based on workloads. There is some possibility you will have the letter within a month.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  64. Guest000o says:

    Hello Kay had my hearing 3 weeks ago everything seems very favorable. My parents helped us a lot last year so they will be claiming my 3 children on their taxes for 2015 I have income but it is tax free va benefits so for tax purposes it will be 0. The only reason I am filing taxes is because I have 2 homes and one is a rental property. In the event that I am approved SSDI do you see any issues with my parents claiming my children on their taxes, and then me receiving aux back pay for them for 11 months of 2015?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Guest,

      Your children are presumptively your dependents for the purposes of Social Security, so who claims then for dependents on their taxes will not affect their eligiiblity for Social Security dependent benefits. I suggest that your parents check with the IRS or a knowledgeable tax accountant to determine whether they qualify as their dependents for tax purposes..

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  65. nadia says:

    Hello my ssdi hearing has been assigned to a judge.How long does it usually take to get a hearing after it has been assigned?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nadia,

      Your hearing date should be scheduled within a month of two. The hearing date is usually about three weeks after the scheduling.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Curious George says:

        Hello Kay,

        I was not sure how to add a new post so I just replied to your last comment. I had an appeal hearing October 27, 2015. After a few months of waiting I finally received word that my case with Judge and as February 2016 the decision has been written and being edited?

        My first questions is how long does the editing process generally take? My second questions are the facts from http://www.disabilityjudges.com accurate. According to it’s website Hearing Wait Time is 20 months
        Dispositions Per Day Per ALJ 1.51
        Average Processing Time 665 days
        Cases Pending 10670
        Dispositions 71
        Hearings In Person 100%
        Video Hearings 0%

        Does the processing time (665 days) mean the length of time from start to finish including waiting for a scheduled hearing date, hearing and then a decision?
        My Judge was Janice Ulan and she has an approval rating of 55% and 26% denial rating.

        The judge was informed by the Vocational Expert that there were no jobs that I could perform full time or part time due to my disability. The judge also acknowledged that I have not work since 2013. I filed my first claim for SSA and SSI in 2013 and was denied. I filed again in 2014 and was denied once again and at which point I hired an attorney and filed and appeal, and was granted an appeal in 2015. Can you please help me understand what this means. My attorney isn’t too helpful with answering my questions and I am beginning to think I might have hired the wrong law firm for representation as I am being told, ” you will know something when we do”.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Curious George,

          The total days is an average and includes the number of days between filing the appeal and getting the decision including the days waiting for the hearing. I don’t know the accuracy of the statistics. I do know it is not a government site. It isn’t possible to predict how long the edit of the letter and subsequent signing of the letter will take, but it is possible it could be less than a month. Just a note: even though it is encouraging that the vocational expert testified in your favor, it is true that your attorney will be notified of the judge’s decision at the same time as you are.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Curious George says:

            Thank you Kay. I appreciate you taking time to listen as well as responding to my concerns. I will give an update once I receive an update.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            You are welcome.

          • Tammy says:

            Hi Kay, was not sure how to ask a new question. I had my hearing 4/2016, the judge ask my attorney to send in my lump-sum work comp settlement agreement, is it a good sign my ssdi will be approved? VE said no jobs available in national economy and my attorney was present and did not speak because of my medical records and I was able to answer all alj questions. Why would alj need to see my work comp agreement? Thanks

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Tammy,

            I am not certain why the judge asked to see the agreement; usually that would be submitted to the local office.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  66. rena jackson says:

    I am 60 year old grandmother of two suffered 3 heart attacks 2 strokes anxiety,uncontrollable high blood pressure, diabetes, severe depression, and much more.I have been going through this since 2008
    understandably they turned everyone down at initial. about to be homeless again, no one will hire me why arethey doing this to me I have work 30 plus years . My attorney does not seem to care they have all my records. this is torture. can you explain

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rena,

      I cannot explain exactly why you were turned down, but it is possible that your conditions were not explained and documented clearly enough. The attorney you hired for the appeal should be able to determine the best way to present your case. You can ask the attorney to submit a dire need request with the appeal to hopefully speed up the process a little.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  67. Susan says:

    My son had a hearing with alj on Jan 27. About a week later I was called and asked to bring my son to there doctor again for an exam. We completed the appointment with there doc who is actually a psyricatrist. She has documented mild and moderate limitations for my son. He currently has autism adhd and emotional issues. I got another letter from the judge asking to put the info from there doctor in my sons record. I agreed but I still haven’t heard anything back. Do you think this could be a good sign?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Susan,

      What you describe sounds like normal handling of the consultative examination report. Given that the findings were mild to moderate limitations, it is hard to know whether your son will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  68. Megan Bowden says:

    I have a question. I am going to a hearing this week, I can’t work due to anxiety. The Social Security office sent me to their own doctor a year ago, and she said I was unable to work. Will this help my case at my hearing

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Megan,

      If the doctor’s report was written up as clearly as you say, the report should help your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  69. Gloria Young says:

    Kay,

    I called to check the status of my case and was told the judge was reviewing it. How long does it take to get a decision if he is already viewing it and how often should I call to check the status. I just called last Thursday.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gloria,

      I can’t predict how long the judge will take. I suggest checking again in three weeks.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Gloria Young says:

        OK. I called the ODAR office today and was told a decision has been made and was the the underwritter. Can you give me an estimated time that it usually would take for me to hear something? I think I understand that after it is written, it has to go back to the judge for approval BEFORE they mail me anything, it that part correct?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Gloria,

          Yes, once the letter is written, it goes to the judge to review for accuracy. Hopefully, you will have the letter in a month, but how long it will take depends on your ODAR workloads.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Diana says:

      Can you contact Social Security and see where the processes at when you have an attorney?

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Diana,

        Theoretically, your attorney is supposed to make all inquiries; however, you can try to inquire. Sometimes you will be told even though you have hired someone to represent you.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  70. Yvonne says:

    I got denied by the ALJ and I had evidence from two orthopedic doctor’s saying I had severe carpal tunnel syndrome and I had three emg’s stating that i had severe carpal tunnel syndrome, I was wondering if you can get disability for carpal tunnel? I had to file a appeal and I know that takes up to eighteen or twenty-four months and I already been waiting since 2009. Can the appeals court over turn the ALJ? I am so confused

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Yvonne,

      Please see my reply of yesterday addressed to Confused, which is the name you used to post your question.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Yvonne says:

        Sorry about that Kay, I didn’t see that my question I ask you had post. Thank you very much and I hope and pray the appeals process is not that long, my attorney told me it could be from 18 – 24 months to hear from them, but can the appeals council over turn the ALJ? I have been waiting to get approved since 2009 and someone told me they don’t go back that far anymore for back payment, is that true?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Yvonne,

          If you win your appeal and the application that is approved was filed in 2009, the benefits could go back that far. The Appeals Council can reject the appeal, overturn the hearing decision, or remand (send) the claim back to the judge for additional investigation. Of appeals that are not rejected, remand to the judge is the more common action.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • James says:

      I finally got update about my hearing Kay
      It was on 1-7-16 and the decision was signed
      By the judge on March 4th and is currently in
      The mail!!! A day after my hearing.. my doctor
      Sent a 4 question paper if I comply with my
      Bipolar medication Seroquel. All 4 questions
      We’re favorable according to my attorney..
      The ve said no jobs very boldly and he made a
      Sarcastic remark after saying good luck telling
      Me good luck finding a full time job, which my
      Lawyer said he responded well, let me gather
      My composure she’s I broke down explaining
      The side effects of xanax hydrocodones and
      Seroquel taking me away from my family due
      To no energy or ambition or just feeling sick
      Please let me know what your opinion is Kay’

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear James,

        The information you provided and your attorney’s opinion lead me to think that your claim will be approved.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • James says:

          Thanks so much Kay! Godbless

        • James says:

          I actually got a denial today….
          He stated that I went to jail for
          6months and was released on
          Good behavior (I was actually in
          The hole for a fight when I was
          Bailed out!) I give up, I ain’t waiting months for a appeal when life’s just not worth living

    • James says:

      Also. In the past three weeks my judge
      Approved 19 cases and denied only 9…
      His statistics have gone up this year to 39%
      Approval and 38% denied.. is this good?! Thx

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear James,

        It could be that the judge has received some additional training that has changed his record, or it could be a coincidence that more approvable claims have come up on his docket.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  71. Confused says:

    I am confused I got denied by the ALJ and I had evidence from two orthopedic doctor’s and three emg’s stating that i had severe carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands and elbows and I can’t have surgery anymore in either hands and elbows and there is nothing more the doctor can do for me but give me pain medication. Can u get disability for carpal tunnel? And now I had to do a appeal and that could take another 24 months and I have been waiting for disability since 2010 and I just don’t know what to do anymore

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Confused,

      It is possible to be approved for carpal tunnel if severely affects the use of your hands and there are no occupations that you can perform within your limitations.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  72. broken says:

    my court date was on 1/11/2-16 my lawyer contacted me the day before hearing and said i did not need to go judge ordered a favorable decision. my questin is how long can i look at before i recieve my benifits? im loosing everything here. thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Broken,

      I can’t predict how fast you will get a letter; but if the judge has already made the decision in his or her mind, hopefully, you have a letter within a month. The guideline (sometimes met and sometimes not) is to have payment started within sixty days of the letter. Once you get the letter you can ask your local office to send in a dire need statement to the payment center. That might speed things up a little bit.

      I suggest that you talk to your creditors and tell them you have been verbally approved for benefits and will definitely have money coming in to get things caught up. Say you will update them monthly. Hopefully, they will hang in there with you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • hopeful 726 says:

        I have been told my file is with the final decision writer. What exactly does that mean and where will it go after this?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Hopeful,

          Assuming your claim is in appeal at the hearings level, the information you received means that the judge has made his or her decision and the decision letter is being written. As soon as the letter has been completed and reviewed and signed by the judge, it will be sent out to you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Donovan says:

        Hi Kay, my name is Donovan. I didn’t see a place to start my comment but I went to my hearing with the alj on December 8, 2015. I have nerve problems in my lower back which causes me to fall sometimes. I have doctor paperwork backing up that I can’t do any lifting over 10lbs, no bending, extended sitting nor standing, no reaching, limited walking as well as I need a cane do to one leg is shorter. I have neck and shoulder problems that cause pain when I stretch. I am sensitive to vibration as well. At 39 I only have a 8th grade education. When the judge asked the ve if there was any work I can perform with those issues and he named 3 maybe but I had rebuttals. He then asked if I was to maybe work could I work a full week without being out and ve said no. He then went on to speak something about onset Dats and retroactive dates. I have only done construction, warehouse and production work and the ve said um not able to do those anymore. Do you think I will be approved?

        • Donovan says:

          I forgot to mention my doctors even documented that I have scoliosis and that it was from the injury

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Donovan,

          If the judge accepts the limitations you are claiming, I think your claim will be approved based on the testimony of the vocational expert.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • lovely23 says:

      Hi Kay I had an interview for ssi I went to my appt .I recieved a letter from ssi asking to pick a bank stating where I want my payments to b deposited also the mam from Harrisburg said to wait for my decision within 4 to 6 weeks am I approved?

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Lovely23,

        I am unable to understand your situation. Could you please clarify? Was the interview after you had been waiting a while for a medical decision or was it part of your initial application? Once I know that, I may be able to provide some guidance.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  73. Jenny Chlopek says:

    I have a question or two.I had my second hearing on July 24th 2015 because the first hearing on September 27th 2013 was denied and so when my lawyer appealed my case , it came back in april of 2015 the the appeals Council thought that the judge made a mistake so we had a second hearing last year. The judge I had for the second hearing was the same as the first hearing and she told me it will take about 2 months for her to get the decision. but I called my lawyer around mid December 2015 and he is told me that the judge had moved out of Raleigh North Carolina and had taken my case along with others with her.so my question is since its been about 5 months when do you think she will make the decision? why is it taking her so long to make the decision after she told me it would take her two months to make the decision and send a letter out to me?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jenny,

      I suspect that the move to another hearing office has slowed things down. You can call the new hearing office and ask for a status to be sure it is in their system.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Dave says:

        Had a Hearing September 1st still waiting on decision is this at all normal

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Dave,

          Ordinarily, you should have heard by now. I suggest that you call the hearing office and ask the status. If the decision has not been made and is not in letter writing and you have an attorney, I suggest that you discuss the delay with your attorney.

          If they say the decision was made and a letter sent and you should have received it by now, ask for a duplicate letter with a date written on it indicating the date it was resent. If it is a denial, notify your local office that you didn’t get the original letter and had to request a duplicate. The reason to do this is to protect your sixty-day appeal period that begins with the date you received notice of denial.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Dave says:

            Did all that I guess their was late evidence filed and some medical interagatories entered in January 8 still no desicion made as of now I actually contacted congress and senate to expedite this no word as of yet

          • Dave says:

            In final review now what not sure what that is or how long it takes anyone have any idea please chime in

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Dave,

            If your claim is being reviewed by the Disability Determination Services (DDS), it means that you are close to getting a decision, probably within a month.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Renee says:

          My hearing was sept 1st i called yesterday and they said it was in the mail

  74. Humble D says:

    Hello I have live in NYC and have been waiting approximately 20 months for a hearing I’ve been out of work since 8-9-13 due to a back injury which I’ve been seeking treatment every 4 to 6 weeks since my injury my question to you is all of my medical records have been submitted to my case file I called the 800 ssa number to see if there was a hearing date set and she told me my case was assigned to a judge who was reviewing my case and it may not be a hearing and I should get correspondence shortly can you tell me what this means?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Humble,

      If the judge decides there is enough information to approve your claim, he or she will do so without a hearing. If a hearing is needed to make a decision, you will be notified of the date about two to three weeks in advance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Humble D says:

        Thank you very much for your prompt response and information I appreciate this

      • hopeless waiting says:

        Hello Kay,

        I had an appeal hearing October 27, 2015 and my case is still under review. It was my understanding that an appeal decision was about 90 days. In my case it has been longer than 90 days… should I be worried?

        Thanks

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Hopeless,

          All processing times are estimates and some claims and appeals pend longer than the published guidelines. However, I suggest that you inquire about your appeal just to be sure that it is still on the radar and either being worked on or waiting to be worked on.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Hopeless says:

            I call SSA and was told a decision has been written but it is being edited?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Hopeless,

            This means that there was an error in the decision letter so the judge sent it back for correction before signing it.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Hopeless says:

            Kay, thank you for your response. I do have another question. Since it has been well over 90 days since my disability hearing before the judge should I be concerned. I am hearing denial decisions take longer to process?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Hopeless,

            I do not know whether there are any statistics on the time between a hearing and getting a decision and approval or denial.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Syeda White says:

            Hi I had a case hearing January 29 of this yr for my son the judge gave my lawyer 29 days to get more paper. If its not in by then what happens next

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Syeda,

            Please see my response of yesterday.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  75. Katrice says:

    Hello,

    I have a few questions about my disability SSI case. I had my hearing with the ALJ on November 25, 2015. The judge asked the medical person that was there if there was jobs that I can do for my age and education and the lady said yes. Then asked if there was jobs for a person in my condition and any that would hire me and she said Absolutely Not. The judge then requested my info from my last jobs as to how many hours I worked and the reason for stopping. The jobs sent the information over to my lawyer and it was turned in on about the 18the of December 2015. I called the Judges office about 2 weeks ago and was told that the Judge made my decision on the 6th of this month and it is with a writer. Does this sound like a case I am winning?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Katrice,

      If the judge finds that the evidence supports the limitations you are claiming, it is likely that your claim will be approved based on the vocational expert’s opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  76. Chris t says:

    Dear Kay, I have a couple of questions. My husband had a court date in April 2015. Once he got their his attorney was ask to come and speak with the judge. The judge told him that he would not be holding the hearing because he needed more medical evidence. We got four notices of doc. Appointments which he went to in July. We then got a notice that they rescheduled his appointment for January 29. We had a meeting with his attorney and he said that the only problem he sees is that the reports are conflicting. For example he went to a doctor doctor for an exam and he said he basically asked alot of question and wrote in his report he could sit for two hours at one time and stand for an hour. Then the other doctor did an exam on his feet and back. He has nerve damage in both feet, legs, and he has an amputated toe due to diabetic foot ulcers. In his back he has scoliosis and osteophytes in his spine. He also has carpal tunnel in his right hand and he’s right handed and
    severe polyneuropathy in both legs and feet.said he couldn’t stand for more then 15 minutes at a time and could sit for no longer than an hour and needed to change positions hourly. He said it’s a case of the right hand doesn’t know what the left hands doing. He said we need to have our doc look at all four reports and do one report over all the reports. My question is that court is in a couple of days. Will they except that doc report if we put it in the file right before the hearing and if not if we want it put in will they reschedule his court date all over again and do you think it would be worth rescheduling it we are in a lot of date and are almost homeless. Please help

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      I recommend following the attorney’s advice even though there is no way of knowing whether the judge will read the additional report before the hearing or reschedule the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  77. Robert says:

    Good morning,

    My wife had her SSDI case heard on 11/20/2015. My wife suffers from 2 strokes, a blood disorder, memory loss, nerve damage which affects her right and left hand. The VE went through many scenarios of possible work, when it came to seeking working with hand issues the VE said there are no jobs. That was followed up by the ALJ stating he needed more information on my wife’s hands, and new meds that the doctors put her on. The 30 days was over on 12/20/2015 with new evidence supporting my wife’s claim which was asked by the ALJ. Do you think this is a good thing that they VE felt she was disabled, and is it good that the judge was asking for more records. My wife has been dealing with this since 2011 now.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robert,

      The judge requests additional information about your wife’s hands to be sure that your limitations are as great as claimed. If the records support the limitations, her claim is likely to be approved based on the vocational expert’s testimony.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  78. shane says:

    my hearing was 12/22/15 and sent to the writers two weeks after my hearing asking for no additional information on my case. I called the social security office today 1/19/2016 where I had my hearing and the lady said they already made a decision and its being edited and my case was moving very fast. what do you think?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shane,

      I think it is fortunate that you are getting a decision so quickly, but there is no way to know from the speed of the decision whether the decision is an approval or a denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  79. Anne says:

    I had hearing the middle January 2016. My attorney asked all the questions. We had all the medical evidence and psychological too. I have bulging discs touching my spinal cord and also MDD PTSD Anxiety and Panic Attacks……The ALJ stopped the questioning, said he had heard enough. Then asked the VE about past jobs, my attny., asked a hypothetical about missing days at work and he said I would be unemployable. The ALJ ended the hearing by saying Thank You and stopped the stenographer, and we left. My attny. said he thought it went well and we just have to wait 4-6 weeks for a letter.
    How hopeful does this scenario sound?

    Thank You for you attention

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Anne,

      Given that the judge stopped testimony in the middle of both the medical and vocational testimony, I would say there is possibility of approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  80. Sunshine says:

    I had my hearing 75 days ago and I called last week and they told me it was back with judge at final review. At the hearing the VE said that there are jobs for me to do But then asked If I could do them with a severe back pain and a severe foot pain and the VE said No then my case ended for the day….. Is this a good indication?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sunshine,

      If the judge found that your claim had evidence to support the level of limitations you are claiming, it is likely your claim will be approved based on the vocational testimony. The “final review” is the judge looking over the decision letter for accuracy before it is sent out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Shannon says:

      I have a question? I had my appeal hearing dec 4th….I’m 35 years old and have bipolar,psychosis,PTSD,major depression with psychotic features, anxiety disorder and hirneated dics in my kneck and back and the vocational expert says there is no work I can do… And the social security psychologist said agreed with all my diagnoses and my doctor and psychologists all agree I can’t work because all five of my meds require me not to drive are do any kind of work do I have a shot to win???

  81. Mary says:

    I HAD MY HEARING NOV 20TH RIGHT WHEN THE HEARING BEGAN THE JUDGE AND MY ATTORNEY WERE DISCUSSING WHETHER I WOULD TAKE A DIFFERENT ON SET DATE I AGREED ON 2 YRS BACK ….I WENT THE 20TH THE JUDGE MADE A DECISION ON DEC 3RD AND IT WENT INTO WRITING PROCESS DEC 10TH DOES THAT LOOK GOOD ON MY PART?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mary,

      The fact that you were asked to change the disability date is an indication that your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mary says:

        Thank you Kay

        • Kay Derochie says:

          You are welcome, Mary.

          • James says:

            Kay,

            I’m the family member & representative for my older brother. He had is hearing with the judge on Dec 8, 2015. The judge stated I the record that the decision was favorable. Given that, what is the time line for benighted to get deposited as well as back pay? The judge did say he would expedite his decision, citing this case should’ve never been denied from the get go. Can you help? Feel free to text direct @ xxx.xxx.xxxx or email at xxxxxxxxx. thank you!
            James

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear James,

            I respond to questions only on this website. I have removed your contact information to protect your privacy.

            The guideline is for judges to get the hearing decision out within sixty days, but it sounds as if your brother’s judge was going to try to speed things up. He might call the hearing office to see if the decision has been made and a letter is in preparation. It can take another sixty days after the letter is received for payment to start.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

      • Sunshine says:

        mine asked about the date i was disabled. and he told me that it will go back to that date? is that a good indication?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Sunshine,

          I don’t understand fully what your wrote. Could you explain what you mean so I can try to respond.

          Thank you,
          Kay

          • Sunshine says:

            the date of once i was disabled. but i was disabled at birth so he said we were gonna go back to this date is that correct?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Sunshine,

            Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits begin the later of the sixth full calendar month of disability and twelve months before the month of application. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits begin the month after application unless you applied on the first of the month in which case benefits begin the month of application.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

    • Laurie Miller says:

      I went before Judge for my dissability, the Judge asked if okay to set date at 2011! I had written leter from psychiatrist, not able to work a letter from last part time jobs office manager, my attorney didn’t submit why I take the pain meds! I received a letter from Judges office giving me 25 days to submit, I wrote my lawyer and dismissed him! I submitted my diagnostics! Its been about 9 months and I still have not heard anything! Looking bad or good!!

      Thanks Laurie Miller

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Laurie,

        I believe that the judge was going to approve your claim with a 2011 disability date if you agree to the change from a date you claimed. I can’t predict the outcome of your claim given that you declined the proposed date. You should notify Social Security that you dismissed your attorney.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  82. Jamie says:

    My husband had his hearing 12/7. Today he called the hearing office and was told a decision was made yesterday and that he would get a letter soon but they wouldn’t tell him if it was approved or denied. Then he called the 800 number and they said it looks like it has been denied. Would they have old info and have been referring to the initial claim or do they have the hearing outcome at the general 800 number so soon?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jamie,

      The 800 number probably would not have the hearing decision until the decision letter was prepared, finalized, and sent.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jessica says:

        The 800- number knows as soon as the decision writers get done with it, is what our attorney told us, My Husband had his hearing 09-15-15 and Here it is Jan-22 and it’s Decision Writers, it’s all a waiting game and I just wish they would let us know something…

  83. In Pain says:

    I had my court date the other day. Even though my lawyer seem to have high hopes. I didn’t. I have deep depression, I had a stroke, weakness on the left side of my body, and I suffer from migraine headaches. And in 2014 my daughter was murdered. Which sent me into a deeper depression. What do you think.

  84. Cindy says:

    Hi Kay,
    My hearing was on 10/13/2015 over the phone due to me having knee surgery and not being able to move. The judge asked the VE if under my conditions I could perform certain jobs and she said yes. Then my attorney went and asked hypothetically if I could perform certain job duties under my condition and she said no. After a 20-30 minute phone hearing the judge requested more medical documentation from my doctors and we had to submit it withing 30 days. We did submit and I called and the said a decision was made and is with the writers. Is this a good or bad thing?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cindy,

      It is good that a decision has been made. Once the letter is written and reviewed and signed by the judge, it will be mailed to you. This can take a couple weeks or a month or more.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  85. Marie says:

    Hello. I hope this is the correct place to ask my question. Had my hearing on 7/31/15. It’s now 12/12/15. Called about a month ago, and was told all medical evidence was just submitted and the file was sent to her desk on 10/29/15. How much longer should I wait, before getting legislation involved? Almost homeless; very frustrating! Thanks in advance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marie,

      The guidelines are that the judge has sixty days to make the decision and the letter then has to be written, so ordinarily you could be looking at January for a decision. If you are in danger of being evicted, you can file a statement of dire need, which might or might now speed things up. (You would be in line behind other appellants who have also requested dire need processing.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  86. lab50 says:

    Hi. I hope you can give me an idea as to when I might hear word of the judge’s decision. I had my hearing with the ALJ, my attny, a job specialist (I assume hired by the court) and a court reporter/recorder. At one point during the hearing the judge asked if I was agreeable to an adjusted onset (of disability) date. I said yes. The judge seemed sympathetic and the job expert testified that I could not perform any work. Does this sound hopeful for an approval and if so, when might I hear? My hearing was Sept. 30, 2015. Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lab50,

      The fact that the judge asked you to adjust your disability date is an indication that the claim will be approved. You can call the hearing office to find out whether the appeal has moved to letter writing. If so, you will probably get a letter within a month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • lab50 says:

        Thank you so much Kay. I’ve been waiting on pins and needles. Still very anxious and worried but your reply helps a bit. I will repost when I hear something. Thanks again.

      • Eva Kelly says:

        Please Help Kay,

        I had my hearing 9/10/15, a dire need letter sent to them placed my case in critical and moved my case from pending after hearing to in the process of writing. Well it’s been in the writing process for 2 months now still no letter. So I called the office listed on the letter spoke with customer service told same thing it is with the judge in writing process. So Jan 10 will be 5 months; and you can only imagine what is going through my head. Why is it taking so long? My LTD insurance company stated that they have never had a case after a hearing with more than enough proof that I have been disabled according to their standards using the same as SSDI that I’m totally disabled the VE stated no jobs; Doctor letters and records prove totally disabled I’m lost for what is happening? please help

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Eva,

          It sounds like work backlogs in your hearing office. You might try calling the office and asking to speak to a supervisor to remind then that you submitted a dire need statement and ask whether the letter can be expedited.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Eva Kelly says:

            Thanks Kay…Since I first submitted my info I found out shortly after after reading your advice To others. I called the hearing office and found out that a decision has been made and has been sent to judges to write it up…I reminded to rep of the dire need and she explained she was updating case file know reminding the writer of the emergency, and I should get a letter soon and she couldn’t tell me a timeframe..she was helpful I did find I was approved right ok…Then because I know I always get a different answer when I call the national Ssdi # I called them and the rep told me that he saw the flag for dire need and that at this point I should receive my decision in 10 days. I thanked him then rested for that moment. I’m only anxious now because I want to know if I’m approved or denied which is still a wait and have patience lifestyle.

          • Eva Kelly says:

            Kay I forgot to ask after the info I just wrote should I still call and ask to have the letter expedited. The national rep did say He was also flagging the hardship and was sending notices to the hearing office. This was yesterday the 30th.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Eva,

            Your request will be applied to your appeal in the stage it is at, so you have already requested an expedited letter writing.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Eva Kelly says:

            Thanks Kay have a blessed New Years

          • Kay Derochie says:

            You are welcome, Eva, and thank you.

  87. Jennifer says:

    Hi I have a question I got my letter oon letter. from the appeal on November 09,2015 and my case wad remanded back to the judge . What is the wait on getting my second hearing? I have been waiting since October 16,2013.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      Second hearings come up faster than first hearings, but the actual time varies greatly depending on the workload of the hearing office. It may take half of less the time for a hearing date than you waited for the first hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  88. Yvonne says:

    I have a quick question, I went to my hearing August 12, 2015 and I haven’t heard anything yet and my orthopedic doctor said I have permanent nerve damage in both hands and wrists and I already have two surgeries in both hands, can you get ssd for permanent nerve damage in both hands? And the VA at my hearing said the only job I can do is working in the mailroom but my attorney told her I couldn’t use my hands for that job, so I was wondering if I would get approved for ssd?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Yvonne,

      I can’t predict whether or not you will be approved. It will depend on how the judge assesses evidence and the testimony inlcuding that of the vocational expert and your attorney.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Yvonne says:

        Thank you Kay, I fought to mention I have PTSD and I take five different medications and I wanted to know if I can call social security and find out what the status is on my case

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Yvonne,

          The hearing office will have more detailed information about the status than the local office, which can only tell you the appeal is still pending.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  89. Nicole says:

    I have a question
    I went to court about 6 weeks ago to present my case to the judge..I received a letter from them a couple weeks later that I needed a physical evaluation..they scheduled my appointment with the doctor of their choice…after my court appearance…whats that mean..good or bad sign. Im still waiting…its been a little over a week since the appointment.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nicole,

      The examination was requested because the judge found that the information in file did not answer some questions about your condition. Consulting physicians usually have three weeks to submit a report; and after the report is received, it will take a while for the judge to return to the case and complete the review.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Nycole Matthews says:

        HI my name is Nycole I went to my hearing November 10th my attorney told me I was approved after my hearing. It was two ladies seating in on the hearing else well the judge ask one lady will I be able to work she said no. Should my attorney know that fast at the hearing he told me after the hearing I was approved in Congratulation Matthews.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Nycole,

          Unless the judge said that he or she was approving your claim, your attorney’s saying you are approved is his or her opinion based on past experience and what happened at the hearing. You can rely to a certain degree on the attorney’s opinion, but you won’t know for sure until you get the decision letter.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  90. Sarita says:

    I probably have the same questions as everyone. My hearing was Aug. 11.2015. I haven’t heard anything yet. I called around the 2 month mark and the lady told me 2 1/2 months. Now it’s pass that. I read that if you have children, they will ask for their birth certificate. Well, nobody has done that either. Should I be expecting a denial? I don’t think it would take this long to write up a denial. I don’t know what to think. It’s been 3 months going on 4. I have a lawyer but I don’t want to bug them or SS Can someone ease my mind?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sarita,

      The guideline is for hearing decisions to be made within sixty days, but a substantial number take longer. How long the decision takes is not a sign of either approval or denial. You will not be asked for non-medical information or documentation, such as your children’s birth certificates until you have received a written approval decision from the judge.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  91. Steve says:

    I had a hearing in June 2014 and when I got the decision in Oct 2014 the judges decision in my denial was the she “didn’t find me credible” I have a car accident in the company truck and had 4 surgeries, including a plate put in my neck with 6 screws. The surgeon for the neck surgery gave me 100% disability, I also had shoulder surgery for a torn labrum. My attorney put in an appeal Oct 2014. How long does it typically take for a decision? My attorney thinks I have a strong case for SSDI. The accident was in 2011 so back pay maybe a hold up. What do you think my odds of a favorable decision are?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      It can take up to two years for the Appeals Council to complete the review. Then, the typical favorable outcome is remanding (sending back) the claim to the judge for additional investigation or consideration, which usually results in another hearing. Your attorney knows the details of your claim, so I suggest you rely on his or her opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • James wolfe says:

      I had a hearing this yr and my lawyer called mein sept and told me the judge ruled in my favor and the award letter was stitting on judges desk waiting for final draft and I should have had it by October 2015 ok here its the middle of nov and still have nothing. Should. I be concerned. ?

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear James,

        You probably don’t have to be concerned; it could be that the judge is busy and hasn’t gotten to it or that there was an error in the letter and it had to be sent back to letter writing be edited. A note: it is unusual for a verbal decision to be given out, even to an attorney

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Quinn Young says:

      I went to my disability hearing on November 19th, 2015. The occupational specialist says there’s not a job I could do. The judge has already made a decision, but they won’t tell me over the phon. Does it sound like a favorable decision? How long should I have to wait if he’s already decided, he told me in the hearing I’d know in ten days? Thanks

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Quinn,

        There is no way to know what the judge’s decision was. You will receive a letter as soon as it is written and reviewed by the judge for accuracy. It can take a few days to a month or more for the letter to be written.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  92. Mary W says:

    Just a curiosity question. My deposit day hopefully will be the 3rd Wednesday of each month. If I get approved would that be the day they deposit back pay?

  93. Mary W says:

    Is the hearing office the same as the SS office (1-800-772-12130?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mary,

      No, the hearing office phone number is not the same as Social Security’s call center number. The call center or your local office should be able to give your the phone number of your hearing office for your area.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mary W says:

        Thank you Kay,
        Is the hearing office that can you when the judge has signed off or if its at the writer etc. because the SS office doesn’t seem to have any of that information?

        I’ve have read all your post and am trying to ask questions you haven’t answered yet. Thank you for helping all of us understand. You give us more than you know, we are alone and scared and you help us to understand the process.

        God bless

        • Mary W says:

          Sorry my meds keep me from completing thoughts so I type how I think. Sorry for the mistakes hope you can make sense of my previous question.

          • Mary W says:

            I call the ODAR office and they informed me I should not ask them any questions or ask for copies of my file with out talking to my attorney. He did say it hadn’t left his office. He would not tell me if the judge signed off or not :(

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Mary,

            Because you have appointed an attorney to represent you, the hearing offices often won’t release information to you. I am not sure what “hasn’t left his office” means, but I think it is saying that the decision has not yet been made. You can ask your attorney to inquire further.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Mary,

            I think I understood. Please see my reply to the first post.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Mary,

          You are welcome, Mary. The hearing office has the detailed information about whether a decision has been made and the appeal passed to the letter writing department or it is still pending the judge’s decision.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  94. Winndee says:

    Hi Kay!
    PLEASE HELP!! I do have a attorney on my case,he was recommended by my workers comp attorney. I received a letter stating that a judge WAS appointed to my case on 3/15/2015. I live in Orange County Califorina. How long does it normally take from the time a judge is appointed to your case, until you ACTUALLY get a hearing date? I am a 40 yr old ER/Trauma RN who had my back broken at work. I have under gone 3 back surgeries, I’ve been diagnosis end with FBSS (failed back surgery syndrome) along with other issues. I just found out I have 2 complete fractures where they did the surgery (a laminectomy and fusion with instrumentation of L-4 to S-1) given I am now in need of ANOTHER surgery, will this speed things up??
    I have 2 minor children ages 14 & 17. My 17 year old will be 18 on 2/14/2016 but is still in High School and is under my custody and care. Will she still be eligible for my benefits?
    Sorry SO many questions! I just can’t seem to get them from my attorney!
    Thank You!
    Winndee

    • Winndee says:

      I forgot to mention I was injured 10/17/2010, and my workers comp case is still open, as I have the new fractures and need another surgery I am not PNS. Does this sound like a case I will win? Our ONLY source of income is Welfare! $703 a month in Cash Aid and $467 in Food aid! This has been dragging on forever! Will I get a court date any time soon seeing as a judge was appointed 3/15/2015
      Thank You Graciously for your help!
      Winndee

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Winndee,

      It typically takes a year from filing a hearing to getting a hearing. I do not know the lapse time between assignment of a judge and the hearing date. Your attorney will get about a three-week warning.

      Your newly discovered fractures and upcoming surgery will not necessarily give you an earlier hearing date; however, be sure that your attorney knows these developments so medical records to support the information can be submitted to the judge. You might also ask the attorney whether your appeal is a good candidate for a decision on the record without a hearing.

      If you are approved, dependent benefits will be payable to your older child to the earlier of age nineteen or when she leaves high school. You will need to file papers proving she is in high school after age eighteen. Her benefits likely will be paid directly to her if she is age eighteen by the time the claim is approved and payment issued.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  95. Jackie says:

    Dear Kay,
    I had my hearing on October 7, 2015. I did not have a lawyer. I need to have neck and back surgery (51 yrs). I have disabling diagnosis’s from medical and mental health professionals. I feel confident I will get a fully favorable decision. My question is, I was able to get my case declared as dire need and a hearing was set for me within a month (saving me another year of waiting) is a dire need case also moved through the decision making process faster? In other words, will I wait less time for my decision that the average case? Thank you

  96. Randal says:

    I had my hearing Sept 14th The judge needed more paper work was gave to her the next day, My lawyer said I had a Solid 50/50 chance lol Is this good or bad

  97. Terry Dees says:

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I had my hearing on September 16,2015 and I am waiting on the decision. My question is this: I had my sister who was to be my council and when we got in the hearing room for the video hearing the judge advised us the she did not need to be my council that she needed to be my witness as she stated that she could take her testimony which she did after she interviewed me first without her in the room. Then I had to leave the room when she took her testimony. Is that a good sign? Also the VE stated that I could do some jobs but when the judge asked him could I do them with my mental condition he stated that there would be no jobs I could do. Is that a good sign that I will be awarded the benefits? Please advise as I am nervous about the decision?

    Thank you for your time and support……..

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Terry,

      I believe that for your sister to service as your representative at the hearing, you had to file papers with Social Security appointing her to represent you. If the judge believes that the limitations from your mental illness are as severe as you are claiming, your claim may be approved given the vocational expert’s (VE’s) testimony.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Terry Dees says:

        Yes I had to file papers for her to serve as my rep. The judge told us that it would be better for her to be my witness rather than to represent me. I called the other day to do a status claim and I was told that it has been given to the writers. Is that a good sign? Also it will be 2 months on November 16th. How long does a written denial or decision take to receive after a hearing?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Terry,

          The decision has been made on your claim and the letter is being written. All decisions, approvals and denials, have letters written so the appeal’s being in the writing department is not a sign of anything. The guideline is for you to receive a decision within sixty days after the hearing, but sometimes it is longer.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  98. Victoria says:

    My husband had his hearing on July 30, 2015. His lawyer advised us that the decision wait time is between 60 to 120 days. I had to testify at the hearing on his behalf and the lawyer said that my testimony had a tremendous impact on the decision being favorable. My question is whether or not if our son will receive benefits. Could you explain the law as it pertains to dependent children of a disabled parent. Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Victoria,

      If your husband’s earning record is high enough, Social Security dependent benefits will be paid. Your husband can request an earnings statement (not a benefit statement). It will show whether his family maximum benefit is higher than his own benefit. If it is, your son will receive benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • brina thomas says:

      Hi today I filed my appeal because I was denied because my son didn’t have an IEP from his school but he finally gotten one so how long does it take for me to get a hearing date. Thank you

  99. Rebecca DeMoss says:

    Hello,
    I had my SSDI hearing and I am awaiting a decision. My question is this. If I am 51 years old and the vocational expert said that I could do some jobs and the judge asked him even with all her limitations the VE said NO..do I have a good chance of approval due to my age and the VE saying NO to the judge? Thank you so much in advance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rebecca,

      If the judge determines that the evidence submitted for your claim supports the limitations that you are claiming, then your claim is likely to be approved without considering your age.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  100. Teretta says:

    I was wondering I had my hearing on Sept 24th and I had no vocation expert to testify at my hearing. Why is that? Do the judges usually conduct hearings without one.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Teretta,

      If the judge expects to be able to make a decision without a vocational expert (VE), one might not be present. If you are denied, the absence of a VE’s testimony might be grounds for requesting an Appeals Council review.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • teretta says:

        Hello Kay I was found fully favorable October 13 now I am waiting for my award letter but the SSA website is not updated is this usually the norm?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Teretta,

          Yes, it can take two months or longer before your benefits are calculated and the website is updated with claim information.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  101. de says:

    Hi Kay,

    I just had my hearing today 10/05/2015. I did have rep. A couple of questions I hope you can answer. 1. My hearing took about 1 hour 20 minutes, my rep said that was good because the judge listen to what I had to say and did not cut me off so to speak, so my question is that good? 2. After the judge questioned me about my work history as an activity director, he stated ” I can tell you are very passionate about your prior work and if you would be able to do it you would be there now” So question was that remark from him good? 3. The VE stated that I could not work my prior job, but came up with 3 jobs ( telephone operator, receptionist and a call center) The judge asked her then with those jobs is there like a certain amount of calls or that, that I would have to meet and if having to take long breaks, if I did not or could not meet quota I would be let go and the VE said that is correct, so would that be in my favor. Then the judge asked how long I have worked with the elderly, I told him since 1983 when I was in the 12 grade, and he responded so you been in healthcare over 30 years. Is that good.Now my onset when I filed was 04.01.2015 My last job actually fired me because of absenteeism and not being able to fulfill some requirements. Would that go in my favor?

    Thank you.

  102. Juliet says:

    Hi Kay,
    My disability attorney said that the administrative law judge requested the official last day that I worked. Why would he need this information?

    Thanks,
    Juliet

  103. angel says:

    I had hearing in May still haven’t gotten decision. When I call it still say pending I’d it normal to take that long

  104. Clare says:

    I have a question, which I am sure you get a lot. I had my hearing back in April of 2015 and I have called the hearing office and they keep telling me it is with the ALJ, does this mean a decision has been made or still reviewing my information? Everything I have heard they said between 60 and 90 days but it has almost been 6 months now….. Please advise… Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Clare,

      If the appeal has already gone to letter writing, then the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made the decision and it is back to him or her to review the letter and sign it. If it hasn’t gone to letter writing, then the decision has not been made. I suggest calling the office to clarify.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  105. Crystal says:

    Hi! I am wondering, I noticed a few times it is said not to call the 800 number to check the status. Well I just found this site today and I have ready called that twice (hearing was Aug 11) the first time the lady was very nice and gave me a little info, then yesterday the lady was not so nice and said call back after Nov 1 if I haven’t heard anything..
    Was it a bad idea to have even called? If yes why?
    Thank you!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Crystal,

      Calling 800-772-1213, which is Social Security’s national call center, does not have any negative impact on your claim. The call center can perform many service functions and can provide certain types of information; however, for pending claim status, all they can do is look at minimal computer information and refer to general processing times.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  106. sarah says:

    Good afternoon
    My ex has been trying to file disability for over 2 years now. He is about $30,000 behind in his child support and I have been told that if approved, my children will get their money and his benefits. He had a ALJ hearing back in April of this year and from what I’m being told, no decision has been made yet. Does it normally take this long to hear back once the ALJ hearing has taken place? This has been drawn out for so long now and of course he wont tell me what’s going on. I have to hear about it through my attorney.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sarah,

      Some hearings do take as long as your ex-husband’s.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Steph says:

        Hi Kay
        My husband is a disabled veteran. He suffers from a bunch of injuries including severe PTSD back injuries knee injury shoulder injury asthma short term memory loss sleep apnea etc. The hearing was June 16, and we still haven’t heard anything back yet. The specialist ruled out any jobs that he can do because of Dr appts therapy not to mention the physical part. She said NO job will allow him to take 2-3 days off of work a week. We called and we didn’t get an answer. Its been longer than 60 days at this point. Our lawyer said the onset date was 2012 but she disagreed and said the onset date was 2009. Does that mean that’s how far she can pay?
        Thanks

        • Steph says:

          What do you think will happen? Will we be approved or denied and how much longer do we have to wait?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Steph,

          This is a response to both your posts of today. Assuming that “she” refers to the judge, then I would expect you will be found to be disabled. If your claim is for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, benefits will begin to accrue the later of the sixth full-calendar month after the disability onset date that is accepted by the Social Security Administration and twelve months before the month of the initial application approved in the appeal.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Steph says:

            What could be taking so long to make a decision? We’ve called and they don’t have any information for us when we call. As of today its been 76 days since the hearing. Is that normal? O believe we qualify for ssi which ever one is for not low income families. The attorney felt the hearing went great but no letters or anything from them yet? Is it normal for them to take this long after a hearing?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Steph,

            Workloads generally govern how long it takes to get a decision. It is not unusual for decisions to take longer than the sixty-day guideline. At this point all you can do is to wait. The disability benefit that does not also have a low income/asset requirement is Social Security Disability (also known as SSD or SSDI).

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Steph says:

            Ok so I took your advice that you gave to everyone and called today. Apparently she said the judge made a decision its now being written up. What does that mean? Approved or denied?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Steph,

            The information you received means that the decision is being put into letter form. Both approvals and denials have to be written up into a letter.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  107. bill says:

    Kay, i was wondering if my attorney can drop me as a client if i want to switch to a video hearing for ssd. Also if a video conference is a good move because i jave waited 13 months already and it is looking like around 7 or more months wait to see a alj in person. Thanks

  108. sharon says:

    Hello Kay,
    I have a question, I call the SSI office asking information for my Hearing and they told me is being assigned to a judge, to wait for a letter.
    Does this means they made a decision or I still have to see the judge?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sharon,

      I believe that the letter being referred to is a letter telling you that the appeal has been assigned to a judge and the date of the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • fonda says:

      I had my hearing on July 21 and I amended my disibility date from December 2013 to July 2014my attorney said I won is this true and when should I get a letter

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Fonda,

        Usually when you agree to a later date of disability onset, it means that the judge will approve the claim with the later disability date. The guideline is for the decision to be rendered within sixty days of the hearing, but it can take longer.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  109. Torre says:

    Hello Kay,
    My question is.
    I call the to find out about my hearing day and the told me, My case is in the final step, Can you explain this to me?

    Thank you
    Torre

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Torre,

      If “final step” means final step in getting a decision to you, it means that your claim has been approved on the record, that is, based on the judge’s review of the claim file; and you will not have to go to a hearing. If “final step” means final step in getting a hearing date, I do not know exactly what it refers to; but apparently, a date will be set soon.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  110. Juliet says:

    Kay,
    As usual, thank you so much for your help!!

  111. Rod says:

    Hello Kay
    I spoke with the hearing office last week and they said the decision is no been made yet. My hearing was on April 28 2015- I was told I had a really tough Judge, but my lawyer told me that everything went really good. My lawyer was given 21 days to bring some paper work and he did he even send me to another psychiatrist because of my ptsd and psychosis among other things the va rated me 100% disabled. But I am confused on why my decision has not been made yet is that a good sign? I been waiting a long time and I don’t know what else to do.
    Thank You

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rod,

      In theory, the decision should have been made within sixty days of the judge’s receiving the additional information after the hearing, but some decisions pend longer. Right now, it is just a waiting game.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • mary says:

      Hello Kay

      My Lawyer told me after my hearing that my case maybe
      dismiss if so will I hear from social security.

      Mary

  112. Madeline says:

    Hello Kay,
    My question is. I call to find out information of my hearing day and they told me, my case is sitting down, waiting for a judge to be sign.
    Can you tell me what this means?
    Thank you
    Madeline

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Madeline,

      The judge has made a decision on your appeal, the letter has been prepared, and now the letter is will be reviewed for accuracy. If it is all correct, the judge will sign it and it will be mailed to you. If there are any errors, the letter will be sent back to the letter writing department for correction, after which the letter will come back to the judge for signature and mailing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Madeline says:

        Hello Kay, Thank you for the answer, but I’m a little confuse, this means that the judge made a decision without a hearing? and those this means Is favorable?

        Madeline

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Madeline,

          If in fact the decision has been made and is just awaiting the judge’s signature on the letter and you have not had a hearing, yes, it means that your claim has been approved. The reason is that a judge can approve by reviewing the written record but cannot not deny without a hearing.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  113. Chris says:

    Hello Kay

    Not sure if you know, however I spoke with the hearing office and they said the decision has been made, and the writer is drafting the letter etc. My hearing was on July 14th 2015-I am in Connecticut. I was told I had a really tough Judge, however the VE stated that on my first issue-Central Sleep Apnea-I could not work and on the second issue-my back injury I might be capable of doing light work-however my lawyer did both a hypothetical utilizing how I lost my last job and then the VE agreed I couldn’t work if that was the case. The lawyer then showed how I lost my last job (between the CSA and my injury I simply couldn’t do it). My lawyer was even confused and he does this all the time. He said he couldn’t tell. I know you can only go by the info I share, but my 2 questions are: if he made the decision in 3 weeks is that a good thing? Also second one-now it’s with an underwriter, about how long does that usually take?
    Thank You
    Chris

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      How long the judge takes to make a decision is not an indication of either approval or denial. How long it will be in letter writing depends on the workload in that particular hearing office. If it has been assigned to a specific writer, it has moved along a bit in the process.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Chris says:

        thank you so much for your response Kay :) The hearing was weird, he asked if I went to the Casino (we have some in NY on the border and a couple upstate CT), I answered honestly (no I hadn’t) but was surprised he asked that-was it normal? I truly almost never go out and I was honest about that too. My problem is I’m , I have Central Sleep Apnea,so I have to nap 4-6x a day and use a CPAP machine and also I’m in incredible pain and discomfort from a spinal injury-however I am told I look like I’m 30 and I look physically healthy-so it’s hard because I look fine but I’m not-even during the 20-30 minute hearing I had to get out of my chair every 5-10 minutes to relieve the pressure from my back because I can’t sit. He also asked if I had a FB page-which I do, it’s set to super private due to an ex-husband and I use a different name as well (my maiden name for FB,the one from my late husband is my legal last name), asked if I had pictures on it (??) and the details of how I managed to attend my son’s high school graduation (I answered, again honestly)-I had called ahead and they had made arrangements to drive via a golfcart anyone disabled down to the football field where the kids were graduating and drove me back when it ended and I went straight home afterwards. I really am restricted to the point my son does my shopping and my kids do most of the housework (I tried to control myself but I did get teary when he asked about that-I feel so useless as a parent due to my broken body)-my concern was whether or not he believed me. I have heard horror stories about people watching people who are in the process of attempting to get approved for SSD/SSI or those who’ve been on it-does that actually happen? I mean I have nothing to hide but it kinda upsets me that someone feels like they have to watch me. Thanks again for your helping me with these questions. :) Chris

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Chris,

          The judge was trying to determine whether your activities match your allegations of being very limited. It sounds as if you answered honestly and with sufficient detail, which is all you can do.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • kareen says:

      Hello Kay my lawyers called the hearing office today n were told my case went to the writter does this mean the judge made a decision? N if so how long before I get a letter. I’m so anxious I applied June 32013.thanks kay

  114. tndarlin says:

    Hi , I went for my second hearing last Friday , the first time it was sent to the appeals council , after about 18 months they sent it back to the judge for a different decision they didn’t agree with the judges decision and she didn’t take the severity of multiple sclerosis to heart , I have multiple sclerosis , and some other issues
    the vocational expert said there is no jobs I can do with my balance , what are my chances of being approved ? ive been fighting this for 5 years …

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tndarlin,

      Your chances are better than before the remand to the judge. One can never know for sure until the decision is rendered.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  115. Michelle says:

    My husband had a hearing in Virginia on December 16, 2014. We are still waiting for a decision. My husband’s attorney has sent several request via facsimile requesting an update on the status of his case and we are still waiting.
    Is there anything else that we can do.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michelle,

      It sounds as if your attorney is doing all that can be done. You might ask him whether it would be helpful to have your congressman follow up, but don’t take that action without discussing it with your attorney first.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  116. steve says:

    I went infront of an alj on june 30th 2015 they had a medical expert that put my neck and lower back under classifacation 1.04 but the judge still didnt make a decision on if i was approved or denied yet when can i expect the decision letter or you think i get payments first my lawyer said if i get listing 1.04 i will be golden

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      The judge is supposed to make the decision within sixty days of the hearing, but sometimes it takes longer. You will get a medical decision letter from the judge. If it is an approval, it can take another approximate sixty days to be paid if your claim is for Social Security and thirty to sixty days if it was for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you filed claims for both, the SSI will be paid first. You are likely to receive payment a week before the award letter that includes the amount of the benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  117. Michael says:

    Hi Kay

    I just had my SSDI hearing today 7/27/15 I did not have a lawyer. And all my medical care comes from the VA. So I presented my case file and answered all the questions the law Judge and VE asked of me.
    The VE was unable to come up with a job I could do based on my medical condition’s. Is this a good sign that I may be approved? The Law Judge didn’t ask for any additional evidence or medical exams.
    What do you think?

    Thank you for your advice
    Mike

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michael,

      If the judge believes that the medical documentation that you submitted supports your claimed limitations, then your claim is likely to be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  118. Jason Higgins says:

    How long does it take the decision writer to write the letter. The judge in my case gave her decision on July 2, 2015.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jason,

      The time in the writing department varies greatly depending on the volume of decisions coming through. When it has been assigned to a writer, you will know it is progressing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  119. Pamela says:

    I had a hearing June 16 2015 how long do it take for a judge to decide on the case because my daughter is 8 and she has a bladder problem and she has had 6 surgery and my lawyer said she didn’t have to be approved but for 3 dominion but she was approved for 4 does it make any difference on how quick the decision is and when should I receive something everything is due and I need to make some hours on my job

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pamela,

      The guideline is for the judge to make a decision within sixty days of the hearing, but it can take longer. After an approval letter is received, it can take another month or two for benefits to start. You can call the hearing office to see where the appeal is in the process.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  120. Elaine says:

    Hi me and my son just had our hearing after year in half of applying and being denied. How long does it usually take to hear a judgment from the judge for both me and my son. My son has autism, adhd,and odd will he even be able to receive ssi?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Elaine,

      Whether or not your son is approved will depend on how severely his conditions affect his ability to function as compared to what would be expected for a child of his age. The guideline for receiving a hearing decision is sixty days, though it could take longer.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Rebecca says:

        Hi Kay,

        I have a few questions. I received a notice of award 2 weeks ago, which I am truly thankful for it says my entitlement date is july 2013 and they found me to be disabled on September 11, 2012. It tells me the beginning and current amounts to be paid and then it says why we cannot pay you starting july 2013. We need more information before we can start your payments again. What does this mean? I have been waiting for something else to come in to explain what I have to do but nothing has come and I know I should have called but I have a hard time talking to people on the phone and in person. Someone said it could be because I need a representative payee could that be the hold up? I made a account on the ssgov website and it says that I am entitled to benefits but they have been suspended since July 2013. Also, the amount that they gave me is just for me, How do I get benefits for my children? Also, medicare has billed me $419 for the next 4 months how do they expect me to pay that when they are not giving me any money? Thank you in advance for any information you give me.

        Sincerely,
        Rebecca

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Rebecca,

          Try to get a relative or friend to go to the Social Security office with you to find out why your benefits are suspended and what you need to submit to get them started again. Your children’s benefits should be started automatically if you listed the children on your application, but their benefits probably won’t start until yours are straightened out.

          It might be that a payee is needed for your payments to be released. Just in case, try to take the person you would want to be your payee to accompany you to the office. (That person may have to file to be payee for the children, too.) When you are at the office, discuss the Medicare situation and the need for benefits to start to pay the premiums.

          Another possibility is that you may have also been medically approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and updated financial information needs to be provided before that payment can be made. If that is the case, your Social Security would be held until the SSI was paid so that the Social Security could be offset (reduced) by SSI paid for the same period.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  121. Ruth says:

    Ruth. Hi i went in from of the judge and she sent me to seen a doctor from SSS .I went and still wenting for a answer. To see if a denied or approved . How long is the decision it take . I need the help soon . How so cant get help to see a doctor ? I was getting Medicaid but my daughter turn 18. They take it away. And now I haven’t to see a doctor and me sick condition is getting worse. In be passing 6 mosths a but this already.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ruth,

      I suggest that you call the hearing office if it has been more than six weeks since you saw the Social Security doctor. They will be able to give you a status report.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  122. Jason Higgins says:

    Dear Kay
    I had my first hearing in November 2014 and I waited for the judge to make her decision instead of making a decision she wanted me to have another hearing on March 18, 2015 I have been diagnosis with bi-polar and several other mental ailments. I called the social security office last week before the holiday and was told the judge has made her decision and it is in the underwriting office.
    I called today and was told that I would have a decision mail to me within the next 10 days. I am very nervous do this means my case has been deny or what

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jason,

      The information you received indicates that you will be getting a decision letter soon; it does not reveal whether your claim will be approved or denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jason Higgins says:

        Thanks Kay

        One more question

        How long it takes to update your status on the my Social Security online account. After the decision has been made

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Jason,

          I don’t know the answer to your question. My observation is that it seems to vary quite a bit.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Jason Higgins says:

            Hi Kay

            You give wonderful answers to questions.

            What is a decision writer and what is the function of that person as it relates to getting your social security letter.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Jason,

            The judge makes the decision and provides the information to go into the letter; then the writer does the clerical work of creating the letter. The letter goes to the judge for review and signature. If any errors were made, it goes back to be edited; otherwise, the judge signs the letter and it is sent out.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  123. Stan says:

    I’ve had my disability hearing about 10 days ago….. Yesterday I received mail stating that my benefits will be garnished. I don’t even know if I have been approved…. from what I understand, all back pay will be taken. My children are 18 and 16….. I am behind a lot….

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Stan,

      Given the timing of the notice as related to the date of your hearing, the notice may not mean that your claim has been approved. It may just mean that the Social Security Administration has received notification of a support order that requires garnishment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  124. Melissa Pritchett says:

    Hi, When I first filed for disability in Jan 2012! s.s. sent me to their psychologist who said I have PTSD, that’s worse then my therapist said I was. I went to court Feb 11, 2015 and there was no vocational expert there. The judge sent my file to a second psychologist. Its now July first and I am still waiting for an answer.
    My questions are: Why would he need 2 of their psychologists to say the same thing? and is that normal? And is it normal to take this long?
    Last the judge asked me my height and weight, Why?
    Thanks Melissa

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Melissa,

      The judge may have wanted a second examination because of the amount time between the first one and the hearing. If you are substantially overweight, the judge may have asked your height and weight so that he or she could determine whether you also have a medical diagnosis of morbid obesity, which together with certain specific medical findings can be the basis for disability. I suggest that you call the hearing office to find out whether the second medical report has been received.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Melissa Pritchett says:

        Thank you so much, That put my mind at ease. I did get a copy of the report from the second psychologist, His report seemed to be in my favor. He agreed with every thing in my file. He even said things I knew nothing about that makes my case even stronger. So I guess I still wait:(
        thanks Melissa

  125. rogerroger says:

    Ok if it is approved u said it will b sent to another office after he signs off on it . When they tell u it was sent out in the mail does this mean it will come straight to you . Or go to another office first and than to u ? Because I read some of your messages to other people on here and u said something about 10 days longer after it is mailed out . sorry kay im just stressed out .. thank u so much

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rogerroger,

      If the letter was sent out in the mail, it means that the letter is coming to you. Each situation is different, but I would think that you would receive the letter within a week of the date they said it was sent, even if it took a day or so to get through their mail room.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  126. Rebecca G Horton says:

    I had my disability hearing before an ALJ on June 1, 2015 and will turn 62 on September 23. Should I apply for early retirement while I am waiting on a ruling? I have been out of work for 3 years and I am in desperate financial need as I cannot afford my medication. I have applied for medicaid and have been denied.

    Thank you for time and consideration.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rebecca,

      Given your financial need, it may be best to apply for early reduced retirement. If you are approved for disability, you will be paid the difference between that reduced retirement and the higher disability benefit and there will be no permanent reduction in benefits. I suggest that in the meantime you contact the pharmaceutical company that makes your medications to see whether you can get some at no cost. Some companies will temporarily supply essential medications to those in need.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  127. Billy says:

    Dear Kay
    I had a hearing back in March 17th 2015. I went in for BPD had a therapist and physiologist feel out the RFC forum and both had them marked from moderate to the worst some worse then others. Hearing lasted 15 to 20 mins. As of May 27th it was in unassigned decision writing. My lawyer never spoke in the hearing but one time to ask if the letter from past job was needed and alj said no. The letter was talked about the first few mins and by the end he did not want it why is that? The other question is it normal for it to take that long in pre hearing when the file was closed on March 18th? The lawyer said we won at the hearing how do they know? He was in there 3 or 4 mins after the we was dismissed I went out to wait on him.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Billy,

      Of course, I cannot be sure, but I think it is likely your claim will be approved. Apparently, when more information was presented during the hearing, the judge was able to arrive at a favorable decision without the letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  128. N.Need says:

    Hi Kay,

    I had my hearing back in Feb 2015, here it is June and I have not rec’d a notice of Approval or Denial, what I did receive was a phone call from the processing center letting me know that I was approved and they no longer mail out paper checks and did I have a bank account so my funds can be directly deposit into my account.

    My question – is this normal procedure to hear from the processing center with the break down of my back pay and monthly benefits before receiving a notice of decision from the hearing office and also she stated I should have my funds in about 15days could this be true? I’m in Calif.

    Thanks Kay!!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear N.Need,

      You should have received a letter from the hearings office. I suggest that you call that office and tell them you never got a decision letter and ask that a duplicate be sent to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  129. EDITHMorrison says:

    I had a hearing on May12,2015 contcted my attorney they said the judge made a decision how long does it take to get the letter? Should I contact social security with my bank information? how long does it take to get backpay they owe me back from May 2013 when I first filed.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Edith,

      It can take another month or more after the decision to get the letter. How long it takes to get benefits after that depends on whether you have applied for Social Security Disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or both. It can be a month to three months after you receive the judge’s letter.

      As soon as you have received the letter, take it and your bank information to Social Security. If you have been medically approved for SSI (the letter will say), ask for an appointment with the local office for a financial update interview before going in with the bank information. You can call 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  130. spirit says:

    Hi, my name is spirit, I attended my daughter hearing on 05/26/15 , the judges are trained very well they don’t show no sign of emotions, and that a great thing, my daughter is 13, she has a heart condition, laxity-liagements, and scoliosis and they found a spot on her lungs, her bone cracks every move she makes, I’m not for sure of she will get denied, but if so I will let God handle it , and try a again, and if it in her favor, I still know that God is in control, my lawyer told me it would take up to 3 months which I understand, he also ask me to bring in anything else afterwards pertaining to her cardiology appt , I turn her paperwork showing she has therapy every MONDAY,I’m just waiting for other result, so maybe they are I need of more information, I know it’s going to be a while before I received a letter, would it be wise to call at the end of next month to check the status, or just wait til August.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Spirit,

      If you haven’t received a decision by July 26, call the hearing office and ask the status–that is whether the decision has been made and the appeal is in letter writing stage or still awaiting a decision. You might be asked for something else, but usually additional evidence, if needed, is requested at the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  131. rogerroger says:

    I went for my hearing for my ssdi on april 1,15 today is june 2,15 and I called near the end of the month and they said the judge has not made a decision yet than and than I called a week later and they said judge has made a decision and I called about another 2 weeks later a they said it was back from the writers and it is on last step waiting for judge to sign it.. Ok in court the judge was very nice and did not talk to me a lot my lawyer done most of the talking and I answer on him .. and ok and the ve said they was no jobs I could do . ok I am only 37 and I have a metal plate in my left scapla , and I also have 2 rupure discs in my lower back that cause my right leg to hurt , I also have sleep apena , and I have 50% lung capacity, and scars in my lungs and also my right hand hurts a lot it even cause my joints to swell and I have ex-rays of my hand mri of my back and cat scan of my lungs all prove that shows everything im saying whats wrong with me, oh and I also postive resting tremors and also have major depression and anexity

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rogerroger,

      Do you have a question? If so, please post it and I will try to respond.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • rogerroger says:

      and if the judge approves when does it go to another office after he sign it after he get it back from the writers ? And also can u see it on your ssa account online ? thanks Kay

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Roger,

        The letter will be sent after the judge signs off on the letter. I am not sure what you would see online. If the appeal is denied, it might show the claim as closed. If it is approved, it may not update until payment is made. You might check with Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 regarding how the online account is updated.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  132. Randy Greenwell says:

    Hello,
    I’m trying to guage if I’ve won or lost my ssdi case I just had.
    I’ve heard if you get a quick decision it’s usually good and my attorney says she knows the decision has been made and they are writing it up. Whatever that decision is.
    I also hear if the VE says there are jobs you can do even if they aren’t the ones you’ve done before…that the ALJ will automatically side with the VE and you’ll lose.
    Any thoughts?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Randy,

      If the vocational expert (VE) testifies that there are jobs you can do even with the limitations you have, your claim is likely to be denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jared says:

        Even if the VE testifies that there are a couple of jobs you can do with limitations, then your attorney asks one hypothetical question and the VE says “No, it would not be tolerated” ??? One hypothetical question that ruled out all jobs seems that it would help the judge rule in your favor? Am I wrong?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Jared,

          If the judge determines that the limitations your attorney expressed in the question to the vocational expert (VE) are supported by the evidence in file, the VE’s negative answer could be the basis for an approval.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

        • Ann says:

          hi i went to my son hearing and thed judge said we will here from here in 30 to 60 days and we still didnt get any letter or nothing yet so is this a good thang or bad thang

          • Ann says:

            and the court date was on may 5 2015

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Ann,

            The length of time a decision pends is not an indication of approval or denial. You can call the hearing office to find out where the appeal is in the process.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  133. henrietta goodson says:

    my daughter 26 years olds this is her third hearing for ss claim , she had a hearing on feb 18 15 . she had a learning disability and bi-poler with psychotic feature since she was 9. the appeal counsil sent it back for a remanded twice can she be approve this time.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Henrietta,

      As long as the appeal is still alive, which it is, there is a chance for approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  134. ALEXIA LUMPKIN says:

    HI,KAY
    I AM WAITING ON A DECISION FOR MY SON HEARING I HAD THE HEARING DEC.2 ITS BEEN 5 MONTHS NOW AS OF APRIL 25,2015 NOW BEFORE I SAY ALL THAT I HAD CALLED IN THEY TOLD ME THAT I WAS MISSING A PAPER FROM HIS SCHOOL I TURNED THE PAPER LIKE 2 MONTHS AGO SO I AM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT NOW HOW LONG ITS GOING TO TAKE THEM TO GIVE ME A DECISION AND IS THIS A GOOD THING OR BAD THING FOR ME AT THIS TIME.

    • ALEXIA LUMPKIN says:

      OH I ALMOST FORGOT I DON’T HAVE A LAWYER EITHER.WILL THAT MAKE MY DECISION HARDER FOR ME.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alexia,

      How long a hearing decision pends is not an indication or approval or denial. The decision could go either way. Whether not having an attorney will affect the outcome of the appeal depends on how well you were able to present your son’s claim at the hearing. I don’t know how it will take for you to get a decision. You can call the hearing office to see whether a decision has been made and the appeal has progressed to the letter writing department. (You will not be told the decision by telephone.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  135. Binny says:

    Hi Kay,

    First of all, thank you for answering all of these questions! I have learned a lot about SSDI by reading this thread. I had my second SSDI hearing on February 11, 2015 with the same judge I had my first hearing with (no VE or MD was present) and was denied. During the second hearing the judge asked me questions and I responded. These were both video calls. At the end of the hearing the judge told the lady recording the meeting that the VE that was on hold was not needed and the judge wanted my case to remain open while waiting for the most updated files from my doctor. The files were faxed to their office and I received a copy and said I had nothing to add. So here I am 10 weeks later and I call the ALJ’s office and I am told that the judge now wants a VE to answer questions and there will be another hearing. I told this person that my house was going to be foreclosed and he said to send in the papers in order to try and speed-up the hearing. I sent in the paperwork and have heard nothing. This is so exhausting and painful. I have anxiety, major depression, and bipolar disease. I don’t know if I can handle another hearing. I do not have representation. There is only one other way to save my family’s home and I am very near that choice. Anything advice you could offer would be appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Binny,

      My advice is to hang in there. The fact that the judge is calling on the vocational expert after getting the medical records is a good sign. It may mean that he believes that you are as limited as you say you are. Talk with the mortgage holder and ask them to hold off of the foreclosure because if you are approved you will have the money to bring the mortgage current. You might also consider taking in a boarder so you can pay something on the mortgage. Tell them that you call them every two weeks to give them an update on the hearing status.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  136. Pamela says:

    Hi Kay,

    I just got a call from my Attorney that my ALJ is moving and that I have the option of a video hearing or the case will be handed to a new judge. My attorney advised me to not chose the video hearing because this attorney has a approval rate of only 20% even though my case has very strong documentation we don’t want to risk it. What else can be done to expedite this hearing? Is there anything I can do except wait? I was told it will still be in a critical status and the hearing date will be 30-90 days. Thanks Kay

  137. Richard says:

    dear Kay,
    its been six weeks sense my hearing, so I called the local ssi department in Auburn Maine today, at first she couldn’t find anything and then she said I was denied, was that her way to get me off the phone? I have read in some of your post that they will not tell you over the phone

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Richard,

      The Social Security Administration, including its hearing offices, seems to have a policy of not giving out claim decisions over the phone. I suggest that you call the hearing office and ask the status of the appeal. If you are told that the case is closed, request the date that the decision letter was sent to you. If it has been more than ten days, ask for a duplicate letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  138. JF says:

    I had a hearing on November 6 2014. I am still waiting on a decision. It has been 5 months now. The wait is not what is driving me crazy. It’s these medical evaluations they keep sending me to that is keeping me up at night. Since the hearing, I have been assigned to go to three medical evaluations. And at each medical evaluation, the doctors ask the exact same questions every time. So whoever is requesting me to go to these medical evaluations is just getting duplicates. I suffer from Polymyositis which affects my muscles and joints. I also suffer from Lupus. I am not able to drive because my arms are too weak to turn the steering wheel and my legs are not strong enough to lift up to put on the gas or brake petals. I can not lift my arms. I have suffered from this since I was 19 years old. It has gotten worse each passing year. I am now 32 years old and I have gone as far as I can. I just can’t work anymore. Due to this I also suffer from depression, anxiety and am taking medication for that as well. I guess my question is, what are they trying to get at by making me go to all these medical evaluations??? I feel like I am being discriminated against because of my age. Which isn’t fair. I suffer just as much as, if not worse than most 65 year olds. At the hearing, the judge asked the VE if there were any jobs I could do, and she rattled off like 4 or 5 jobs that are impossible for me to do. Especially since I have little to no use of my hands. I saw above where you told someone that if the ve lists any jobs, the case will most likely be denied. Which worries me. Because trust me when I say, I am in very bad shape. If they are going to deny me, why make me go to all these medical evaluations? I was told by my lawyer that I have a strong case. How can I have a strong case if the ve lists that many jobs? Any help or advise you could give me would be appreciated. By the way, it took me two hours to type this and correct mistakes and one of the jobs the ve stated was a Clerical Assistant, and one of the main job responsibilities of a Clerical Assistant is typing and using a keyboard. Doesn’t that seem strange to you?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear JF,

      Social Security law says that unless you are of more advanced age you must be disabled not only from occupations you have done in the past but from all occupations for which you have the education, experience, or transferable skills to perform.

      Testimony of a vocational expert (VE) often includes two questions, the first being whether there are occupations you can perform given your education, work experience, and transferable skills. If occupations are identified, then the judge usually asks the VE whether you can perform those occupations with the physical and mental limitations that you have. That is the point at which the VE considers medical issues such as reduced use of your hands. The judge probably did not ask the second question because your claim file didn’t have adequate documentation to clarify your limitations at the time of the hearing and that is why you are being sent to exams. You are claiming disability based on multiple conditions so presumably the multiple consultative examinations has been performed by doctors with different specialties.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  139. Michelle says:

    Hello. I had my ALJ hearing on December 22, 2014. On March 27, 2015 I was told that my case has been closed on March 23,2015 and the decision has been printed and I should receive notification in 1 week, I have not received anything yet and social security or my attorney can not tell me what the decision is. I did set up an account on mysocialsecurity website and during the entire waiting for decision process it says I am not receiving benefits and also would not show me estimated benefit amounts it just said that it is unable to show me estimated benefit amounts because I applied for social security. Now since my case has closed it still says that I am not receiving benefits but it also shows estimated benefits for retirement, disability, etc. I am 39 years old. Does this mean I have been denied because it shows me that information now when it didn’t before? Is there anyway to find out what the decision is before getting notification in the mail? Any information you could give me would be great. Thank you.

    Michelle

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michelle,

      It is possible that your appeal has been denied; however, you will not know for sure until you get the letter, which should come any day now. If it has been denied, you can discuss with your attorney the prospects for requesting an Appeals Council Review of the judge’s decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  140. Margaret Lamb says:

    I applied for Disability, got turned down, did the reconsideration appeal, turned down for that, and now I am waiting for a hearing date to be set before a judge. Was requested to, and accepted a video conferencing. I am in Bowling Green, KY, and I am over 50.
    Would you by chance be able to give me any insight as to this post letter I just received? It reads, Your client’s request for a hearing has been transferred to the National Hearing Center from the Louisville KY Hearing Office.”
    Would that mean in any way that there may be a shorter time frame, or just simply that it has been moved around within the offices lol?
    Thank you so much for your time.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Margaret,

      There is a chance that your wait for a hearing date might be shorter than if the appeal were kept in the original office because usually hearing venues are changed because the original office’s workload is high and another location is not as booked.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  141. Sheila says:

    Hi Kay,

    My daughter is 15.She has narcolepsy, auditory processing disorder and dyslexia. I applied for disability benefits for her in 2011 and never heard anything back from them. I would call every few months and was always told it was pending. This went on over a year.I finally decided to contact the Nashville office to see how much longer it would take.They told me her claim was denied the following year and a letter stating it was sent out. I never received the letter because it went to an old address. They had my updated address on file. I had to start over and reapply for my daughter. We just had the hearing February 5th and I’m still waiting for a decision to be made. I pray she is approved because my daughter can not make it on her own. She is still unable to count money, nor tell time. She cannot read well or read with comprehension. I have to constantly repeat everything to her and she still does not understand what is being said. Her brain just doesn’t process what’s being said well. She receive assistance at school, assignments are modified and allowed extra time on test and assignments. She has an IEP in place. To me, she is still not doing good just not allowed to fail. My question is when or if approved for benefits. Is there anything I can do about getting the back pay from 2011 when I originally filed. The social security office had all of my updated information but sent the denial letter to my old address and when would call and check on the status. They kept saying it was pending. I was never told it was closed. I would greatly appreciate any advice you have on the matter. Thanks and have a Blessed day.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sheila,

      I am not sure there is anything you can do now. You could have filed an appeal late and asked for it to be accepted late because the notice was sent to the wrong address even though you had reported the new address. The appeal might have been accepted. The other thing you could have done would have been to ask he judge to reopen the prior claim if he ruled in your favor because of never receiving a denial letter; however, that could be a bit risky. If you have an attorney, discuss the issue with him or her.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  142. Ronnie moulton says:

    I had my ALJ hearing on sept.9th 2014 in okc. Here it is 6 months later & I still haven’t received a letter ! If I call ODAR they tell me I’m not allowed to call them , when I call the law firm I hired all they say is I will receive a letter before they do! And when I call the social security office no. The law firm gave me to call all they can tell me it’s still pending! I guess my question is how can I find out what the status is & if 6 months is a long time to be waiting ? Thanks Ron

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ronnie,

      You can ask your attorney’s office to call ODAR to find out whether the decision has been made and the appeal has moved to the letter writing department or is still waiting for the judge’s decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • MrDee says:

        Hello,

        I had a disability hearing October of 2015 and my case is still under review with the judge. Should I be concerned?

        Thanks

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Mr. Dee,

          Although the guideline is for a decision within sixty days, some pend longer. This is not a sign of either approval or denial. I suggest that you call the hearing office to find out where the appeal is in the process of decision and decision letter writing.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  143. Cydnie says:

    Hi Kay,

    Thank you for your advice. I did in fact call them, because feeling in limbo was really weighing heavily on my nerves. You were correct, it was in fact the timing of the letter…my disability has been approved.

    Thank you again!
    Sincerely,
    Cydnie

  144. Cydnie says:

    Hi Kay,

    Thank you for your quick response. At the top of the letter it says Social Security Administration retirement, survivors, and disability insurance. So if I’m to under what you’re saying correctly is that because it says Social Security retirement, survivors, and disability insurance it’s referring directly to my disability? Sorry if I seem like I’m not grasping things very well, I’m in the middle of a heinous migraine.

    Thanks,
    Cydnie

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cydnie,

      Yes, you understand correctly. I suggest that you call Social Security to discuss the discrepancy between the letter and the payment and ask for an explanation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  145. Cydnie says:

    Hello,

    Seven months ago I applied for disability. I hadn’t heard anything, and then last week money was deposited into my checking account from Social Security disability. This week I received a letter stating I have met the “medical rules.” on the second page it says they have not decided if I have met the, “non-medical rules.” I understand what the medical, and non-medical rules mean. My question is, would they go ahead and deposit money in my account if I hadn’t already met all of the criteria for medical and non-medical? Is it possible that they could take the money back?

    Sincerely,
    Cydnie

    Sincerely,
    Cydnid

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cydnie,

      I suggest that you look at the letter that says it has not been decided whether you have met the non-medical rules to see whether the letter refers to Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If it refers to Social Security, it will say Retirement, Survivors, Disability across the top. If in fact, the letter does refer to SSDI, then I suggest that you contact a Social Security office to find out whether the payment was released in error or the timing of the letter is incorrect and should have gone out sooner and that you will get an award letter with a breakdown of the benefit amounts.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  146. Christy Roche says:

    Hi Kay my son had hearing on 10/08/2014 and judge requested records from his surgery. Well he finally received everything and its been about a month or longer since he received all the records. About how long does it take for the judge to make a decision and what’s the next step.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christy,

      It can take two months or more after the judge receives all the information to get a decision. After the judge makes a decision, the decision is passed to the letter-writing department to prepare the letter. The letter goes back to the judge for review for accuracy and signature. Then it goes out. If you haven’t gotten a decision in another month, you might call the hearing office to see if the appeal has moved to letter writing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  147. N.Need says:

    Hi Kay,

    I had my hearing on Feb 26, 2015 and the judge ask the VE one question and that was can I return to my previous job and the VE response was no. The judge had no further question and my attorney did not cross-exam the VE. After the hearing my attorney told me I was approved, but I did not hear the judge make a decision…my question is could this really be the case, that I’m approved? I’m 55 years old.

  148. Juliet says:

    Hi Kay,
    I was in touch with you recently. I had not gotten a decision letter after seeing an Administrative law judge in August and the only thing that I had gotten from SS was an authorization form for me to sign to allow them to obtain medical/education information, in January. I worked as a registered nurse until Feb. 2013.
    I got a letter from the administrative law judge today requesting that I meet him again on May 8th. Is this a normal procedure and what are some reasons why a second meeting before the judge.

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Juliet,

      Apparently, after getting the additional information following your first hearing, the judge has some questions he wants to ask in person or he wants to get additional testimony from a vocational expert for which you would need to be present. I assume that you still have your attorney representation. If so, the attorney will accompany you to the hearing, so you might talk with him or her first to get additional perspective.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Juliet says:

        Thanks Kay. You are very knowledgeable. I had neglected to tell you in my last posting that the alj had requested that a vocational expert be present on May 8th. However, this expert is a different one from prior.
        Thanks again!

        • Kay Derochie says:

          You are welcome, Juliet.

          • Juliet says:

            Hi Kay,
            I had a supplemental hearing on May 8th and was sent to an occupational, etc. Psychologist on the 8th of June. He asked simple questions and I feel like he wasn’t nice at all. I am not sure if he was trying to get a negative reaction or what. It has been over two months and I have not heard anything from the alj. My attorney doesn’t recommend that I call SS because he feels that I would get conflicting information. However, I haven’t been getting any updates on the status of my case whatsoever. My question is that whenever it takes a long time to get a decision, does it usually means denial in most instances?’
            After the supplemental hearing in May, my attorney told me that it went well. We never would have believed that I would be sent back to another doctor. SS had initially sent me to a psychologist, then they sent me to a general practice MD, in which I found out on the May 8th visit that he was in favor of my disability due to my lower back issues.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Juliet,

            The length of time a hearing decision pends is not an indication of whether it will be an approval or a denial. I recommend following your attorneys advice about contacting a local Social Security office or the call center. You could ask your attorney if he is agreeable to your calling the hearings office to ask the status of the hearing decision. That will tell you whether the decision has been made and it is in the letter writing process, which can take a while, or still waiting for the judge to review the consultative exam report and complete a decision.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  149. chris says:

    Hi Kay, I had an ALJ hearing on 11-6-14 at that time the judge said he does not give decisions unless he has info from a CE (certified examination) . I had this done the next week. In Dec my disability rep called me and said the exam went in my favor and that she was going to ask the judge for a decision without a further hearing. On 1-6-15 my rep spoke with the judges clerk to see if the judge would go ahead with this motion given all the information gven upon results of the CE. On 1-14-15 my rep called me and said that she had talked to the judges clerk and the judge was going to approve my case without any further hearings. It is now 3-2-15 and I havent heard from anyone or recieved anything in the mail. Have you heard of this before? I also had to send in the foreclosure letters from my mortgage co to expedite the process. Will this really speed up the process or not?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      Impending loss of a home is grounds for an expedited decision; however, there may be other expedited cases in front of yours. It can take sixty days or more to get a written decision after the hearing or after post-hearing evidence, such as a consultative examination, is received by the judge.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  150. Very concerned says:

    Hi I have not been scheduled a hearing for a ALJ and am currently waiting. I would like to know what are my chances of getting approved since I do an attorney and a listed impairment.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Very Concerned,

      I cannot predict whether you will approved. There must be something about your medical records that does not clearly show that your impairment meets the listings. To be in the listings of severe conditions, your diagnosis must also be accompanied by certain test or clinical findings that are listed in the Blue Book of listings.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Very concerned says:

        Yes my test meet the clinical finding now, but could it be that when I initially applied it did not meet the requirements but over the past two years my condition has worsened. Also could my education affect my chances of approval.

        • Very concerned says:

          Let me rephrase my question. If I have a listed impairment with all clinical finding and test that fall within the blue book of listing can my education affect my chances of approval?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Very Concerned,

            Please see the answer I just posted in response to your first question.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Very Concerned,

          If your condition wasn’t as severe when you applied as it is now, it is important to be sure that all your current records and test results have been submitted so that they can be considered. Your education will be considered in the decision if your condition isn’t severe enough for an approval based on medical alone. Usually the more education you have, the more transferable skills you would have to a new occupation that could be done with physical limitations.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  151. Nick m says:

    Hello. In your best estimation when would an appeal hearing be scheduled after a denial would be made? Would an appeal take place in your best estimation weeks or months after one may be denied for benefits?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nick,

      If your initial claim is denied, the next level of appeal is a reconsideration, which is a file review and not a hearing. If the reconsideration is denied, it can take a year or more to get a hearing date.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Nick m says:

        In PA isn’t the reconsideration portion skipped? If so when is an appeal scheduled after a determination is made in your best estimation. Is an appeal hearing scheduled weeks or a month after a determination is made?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Nick,

          You are right that in a few areas, the reconsideration level of appeal is skipped. I do not know whether Pennsylvania is one. It is likely to take the same amount of time to get a hearing date after the denial of an initial application as it does after a reconsideration denial–about a year.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Tina says:

        Dear Kay, I had my hearing on August 3 2015. The be said there was no jobs for me. I’m 41 and have been diagnosed with copd,asthma,emphysema,major anxiety,major depression,stinal stenosis,degenerate disc,disease,menopause,high blood pressure,4 knee surgeries,failed fusion of cervical adhd ,ocd,ptsd,and gi problems. I have a lawyer bit everytime I call its like were still waiting. Today I called and they said it was pending decision writing.what does that mean? What are the chances of me being approved? Its driving me crazy waiting! Thanks,tina

  152. cody says:

    Hi I had my hearing on jan 15 2015 the judge said i was approved for ssd benefits but it is now march 1 2015 and i still haven’t received my notice of decision letter when should i receive it since he already said i was approved

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cody,

      It can take sixty days or more to receive the formal decision letter. You can call the hearing office to see if the decision has been made and the appeal is in the letter writing department. After the letter is written, it goes back to the judge for review and signature.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  153. Nick M says:

    Hi.. I just filed a claim over the phone for disability benefits a week and a half ago, in PA. SS said they will send me a eligibility determination by june 22 2015. I currently am on unemployment… I told SS that I was on unemployment.. I was wondering if I should stop receiving unemployment benefits because I would rather try for disability. When I contact legal advice and called SS I get mixed opinions on whether I should stop my unemployment. I only receive about $440 a month for unemployment, and its my only source of income. What in your opinion would be the best way about going about this. Also I would like to know an estimation of when I after I receive a notice of determination when a appeal hearing would be scheduled. Do appeal hearings happen weeks after a determination or months.
    Please help,
    Nick

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nick,

      Claiming unemployment requires that you claim you can work and that you are applying for jobs. Claiming Social Security Disability is claiming that you cannot work. The two would appear always to be incompatible. However, if you believe that you can work a limited amount with the ability only to earn less than $1,090 gross a month; it is conceivable that it could be appropriate to apply for both. Please note that my opinion that it could be okay to file for both is based on logic; it is not an informed legal opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  154. irene fields says:

    I went to my first “video” hearing in Nov 2014. The judge was behind so he called me and and asked me a few questions. I did not have an attorney and He said he was resetting my hearing for a new date and He recommends that I get an Attorney. I did but still have not had my hearing. is there a time frame here? It was the judge that wanted to reset the date not me. My attorney does not want to do a video hearing he wants to us to be in front of a judge. does this mean I have to wait another year?

    • irene fields says:

      FYI this was a Disability hearing I seem to have left that part out

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Irene,

      I am in agreement with your attorney that is better to have a face-to-face hearing. I doubt you will have to wait a year for the hearing date to be set.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  155. rhonda says:

    I am 55 years old

  156. rhonda says:

    My hearing was on November 25th 2014. I am years old and I have Bi Polar and Anxiety and is not able to maintain employment. While at the hearing a VE was present and she was naming a lot of jobs that she felt i qualify. My Lawyer asked her if I am able to do the jobs and she told him based on my condition i am not able. I called the hearing office ans was told it was in disbursing in Baltimore MD, then when i called back they said it was in writing with a Attorney does this mean i have a good chance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rhonda,

      The information you are receiving seems a bit muddled. Sometimes a judge will consult with an attorney about points of law before the decision is made. Also there is a writing department in which a hearing decision letter is drafted after the judge makes a decision, but I have not heard of a decision being “in writing with an attorney. You might try calling and asking for an explanation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  157. ricky says:

    The alj gave me a fully favorable decision on October 28. I started to receive my monthly payments in January, got notice of rewards but it did not state my back pay amount which i understand some don’t. What i don’t understand is i can never get a consecutive answer about my back pay from calling the ssa plus i don’t understand what the hold up is on my back pay. I had to get a rep payee which i did so everything is done on my part. It seems to me that the more back pay that is owed, the longer the wait is to receive it is. I understand the ssa is under staffed but if they can get your monthly amount started why can’t they release your back pay? Most disabled persons have to wait many years to even get approved because the system needs to be redone. Having to go through 2 denials just to get approved by a judge is crazy. If the judge agrees with your case then why doesn’t the case get approved before the hearing? If it was there wouldn’t even be a back pay issue. Plus why is there a 2 year wait on medicare? if a person is disabled then they need medicare as soon as possible for their ailments. I just don’t understand why my husband, who has been waiting for 4 years, finally gets his disability and then has to wait forever for his back pay which should have been paid to begin with. Thank you for your time

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ricky,

      Many years ago Congress passed the law that gave people receiving Social Security Disability benefits Medicare after two years of entitlement. Congress could change that law and you could approach your state senator to request that he sponsor a bill to do so.

      Social Security back pay is usually taking three months from the time that the first check is paid. If you did not also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), ask the local office to check to be sure that they transmitted information to the payment center that SSI is not involved. Other than that, the local office has no control over the back pay and the people you are talking to are guessing how long it might take.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  158. T T H says:

    Hello,

    My hearing was on 12/23/14. I filed for a hearing on 8/16/12. I am 100% Service Connected Disabled Veteran for PTSD, Bipolar, Depression and Anxiety. I also have chronic diarrhea. During the hearing, I was mostly asked about diarrhea, they did not ask me about my emotional problems. I am not concerned about the diarrhea. The VE stated that I could be a “Janitor that wears a diaper.” Does my 100% rating have any relevance to SSDI? A decision was made yesterday, and was sent out to be written. Any advice on time to write the letter, or what I may expect?

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear TTH,

      Social Security’s rules for disability are different from the VA’s, so being approved for VA benefits does not mean you will be approved for Social Security. If the decision is unfavorable and the decision does not address your mental health conditions, you could have grounds for appeal with the Appeals Council. It can take from a couple weeks to a couple months for the letter to be written, depending the the backlogs in your hearing office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  159. Pedro Labarta says:

    hi kay my hearing was in 10/27/2014 i am still waiting i was represented by an attorney and she told me that day that it was a favorable decision when will i get my award letter and my back pay .

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pedro,

      I can’t predict when you will receive the decision from the judge. I suggest that you call the hearing office to find out where your appeal is in the decision process. It typically takes one to three months to get benefits started, depending on whether have applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or both.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  160. don says:

    Hey Kay ,my name is dont I had a court hearing in california november 6its been over 90 days and I still haven’t got a response is it too soon to call the hearing office or the 800 number

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Don,

      It is not too soon to call the hearing office to find out where in the process your appeal is now. The 800 number for Social Security won’t have that information.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  161. Diamond says:

    Oh I forgot to mention I live in philadelphia pa please Kay. Help me out thank you so much and have a wonderful day

  162. Diamond says:

    Hello everyone just need a little help okay my daughter had a mental evaluation January 15 I just wanted to know how long should I have to wait to get a decision back.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Diamond,

      It could take a few weeks or a couple months to get a decision after the evaluation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  163. Dan says:

    Dear Kay,

    Ive been going through this process for 2 and a half years. my question is this. I’ve been checking my ssa account since my hearing, and its always showed no estimated amount until today. it says you are currently not receiving benefits. and now it shows an estimated amount. does this mean I lost my hearing?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dan,

      I suggest that you call the hearing office to find out whether the decision letter has been sent. If it has, the change in status on your account could mean your claim has been denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  164. Tonya says:

    Dear kay,
    I have a question I went befor the judge on November 20,2014 at that time she said she wanted a copy of all my medicine that I took by December the 3,2014 I hope my attorney got them to her on time how would I know I was hoping I would know something by February 2015 I just not sure how it went I dont feel that it went as well as it could have have but I was scared to say anything unless I was being talked to do you feel I may by then or is that to soon…… also I have a 14 year old son who is with his dad in Alabama im in El Paso Texas she did ask me about my kids and I told her that he was with his dad his dad does have cousty of my son can I get his check and but it in the bank for him so when he gets older he will have it I ask this because his dad will not take it he feels like he is taking away from me it just my son will be 16 in 2 years and he could get a car or something with it I was just wondering what you think thank you for your time Tonya in El Paso

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tonya,

      You can ask your attorney the date the list of medications was sent to the hearings office. You can also call the hearings office and ask if the list has been received. It is hard to predict whether you will have a decision by February, but it seems possible. Your Social Security benefit will not be reduced by your son’s dependent benefit and you will not get more just because your son doesn’t receive benefits due him, so his father should apply to receive the check for his son. If he doesn’t need it to support the child now, it can be saved for college or trade school training costs after he graduates from high school. If his father still won’t apply, you could try getting Social Security to pay the benefit to you for your son’s later education.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  165. Stacey says:

    So I would lose a lot of my backpay because of SSI?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Stacey,

      Receiving SSI does not cause you to lose back pay. The total amount of back pay is the same. Is just that part of the back pay is paid as SSI and any amount greater than the SSI back pay is paid as Social Security Disability (SSDI) back pay.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  166. Stacey Houston says:

    Hello I have a couple of questions. I have received my fully favorable decision in the mail already and it was dated November 25, 2014. I am wondering how long it will take for my benefits to start? Also I have already went to the social security office for a interview for SSI. How long will it be before SSI starts? Also will I receive backpay anytime soon you think?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Stacey,

      It can take a couple weeks to a month or more after the interview for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to start. If you were also approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), it will start after the SSI has been paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Stacey Houston says:

        Ok thank you. One more question if the SSI starts first then the disability will start after the SSI, will I be paid backpay for both SSDI and SSI?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Stacey,

          Your Social Security Disability (SSDI) back pay will be reduced by the amount of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) back pay for any months in which the benefits overlap.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  167. Christy says:

    Hi Kay my son hearing was scheduled for 10/08/14 the lawyer requested information from his new doctor regarding surgery he recently had and records for Speech he takes weekly now. He decided to leave the case open for 30 days but it took a little longer. I called the hearing office a few days ago and was told it was in Post Development never heard that before. Can you please give me some insight on exactly what stage is that and she said you have to give them 30-60 days to process everything. I do have a lawyer so who do I contact to check the status the hearing office or my lawyer its about 60 days from the hearing date. She also made a statement that my lawyer is waiting just like im waiting is it a bad idea to contact hearing office. I dont contact them often but its been about 2 months almost and the other reps will tell me if it was something that they was waiting on but this particular rep said she didnt know. Can you please help!

    • Christy says:

      Sorry the judge requested records from new Dr’s

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christy,

      Post development means collection of additional evidence and review of the evidence after the hearing. Some attorneys don’t want their clients to check with the hearing office for a status report (all you will get is where the appeal is in the process, no details) and will not do so themselves, so I suggest asking the attorney if it is okay with him or her for you to call given it has been two months since your last call.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Christy says:

        Hi Kay I have another question the lawyer also requested the medical records since 10/14/14 does it take 30-60 days from that date to process everything and if everything received should i be getting a letter soon

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Christy,

          The time frame can vary greatly so it can take thirty to sixty days to get a decision after everything has been submitted.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  168. Jennifer says:

    I am sorry I wasn’t clear. There was a vocational expert during my hearing. I believe my lawyer was not happy with the expert and asked the judge to hold the case open so that she could get an independent expert who has worked on my Long Term Disability case. Something happened that that was never done. To me, it sounds like the lawyer dropped the ball. I have not gotten any sufficient reasons to justify what happened and how this may have impacted my case. This is it for me. I have no money to continue this process, so I did not know if I could do anything as to lawyer negligence, perhaps…

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      I don’t know if this is possible; but if the judge has not rendered the decision (it could sit on his desk a long time) maybe you could still have the vocational expert render an opinion and submit it to the judge with an apology for the late submission. I suggest that you talk with your attorney about this possibility. I can’t advise you about what you can do about possible negligence. You would need legal advice about that.

      Sincerely,
      Kay
      Kay

  169. Carrie says:

    Thank you Kay

  170. Carrie says:

    Hello Kay please help I called odar office and they said dec 4,14 my decision mailed but today I still haven’t received it yesterday I called 800 and I ask them what my decision and the lady told me she can’t open it until Tuesday she said if I don’t get by Tuesday call them my question is how come they can’t tell me or open it is that a bad or good thing it sound bad actually I had a alj hearing sept 3, 14 and now still waiting for letter what could be wrong I feel it’s denial it took to long

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Carrie,

      Many hearing decisions pend as long as yours did. I believe that what the representative meant was that she could see in the computer that a decision had been made but approval or denial had not yet been posted where she could see it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  171. Jennifer says:

    I went before an ALJ on October 21, and as of December 4, my case is in the writing department. When do you think I will get a decision? Also, what is the next step if I am denied? I was unhappy with the way my lawyer handled the case. It seemed as if she did not have a good relationship with the judge and the person who was supposed to do a vocational review for me never did that. What can I do? Thank you for your time!

    • Jennifer says:

      I wanted to clarify one thing in my initial response. My lawyer had asked for my case to be kept open 10 days and then she was going to get an independent vocational review. This never was done, and the lawyer’s office cannot give me an answer as to why it wasn’t done. Thanks again!

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Jennifer,

        Please see my response to your prior post. I don’t have anything to add related to the additional information you are providing.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      The vocational expert was not called upon either because the judge thought you were disabled without that testimony or the judge didn’t think the information in your claim file supported the limitations you were claiming. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal to the Appeals Council. Some specific guidelines must be followed in that appeal, so it would be helpful to have an attorney prepare the appeal. Alternatively, you could file a new claim with a later disability date, but you would lose back benefits and also to get Social Security the new disability date you claim would have to be while you were still insured for Social Security Disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  172. Paul says:

    Hello Kay,

    This article has been amazing for helping me cope with waiting on my husband’s decision. He had his hearing with the AJL on October 16 and we’re currently waiting for December 16 so that we can call for an update. There is one item that has me concerned a little bit and maybe you can shed some light.

    The hearing went long, about 45 minutes. From what I understood from our lawyer, the ALJ asked for an MSE to follow-up on one of my husband’s mental diagnoses (Asberger’s Syndrome) and that a 10 day period was put into place to collect more documentation and for that exam. This 10 day period is long over at this point but we never ever got notification or were made aware of a place & time for an exam. Does this mean the additional documentation prevented this from being done? Was a ball dropped somewhere?

    Aside from that, things sound great. 45 minutes is long and that’s nothing but good, I guess. I was told the VE listed him as unable to perform menial tasks that he did before the onset (cashier, light stocking, store associate, etc). Lawyer said his testimony was distinct and detailed – I guess a good many applicants can stumble over themselves & that doesn’t fare well with judges. Lawyer was a less experienced sub for the county assistant DA we hired, but she sounded smart – said that there’s a good chance of approval and that the ALJ would have made ‘no’ clear if it were ‘no’. Based on this information, what do you think? I know you can’t give professional opinion but I’m curious still.

    Having to support our household with one income, I may need mental help next, lol. nah..I’m just ready for this check. It would seriously change our lives for the better. Thank you for your response.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Paul,

      I can’t predict whether your husband will be approved. I do suggest that you contact your attorney immediately about the documentation that was to be submitted and the examination that was to be scheduled to be sure the ball has not been dropped and, if not, to find out what the situation is surrounding the appointment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  173. Dominique says:

    Hi I had my hearing on oct 24th and I called today to check the stays they said the descion hasn’t been sent out yet to call tomorrow what does that exactly mean my lawyers said he’s not the judge but he thinks I’m gonna get approved but I’m still anxious about it

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dominique,

      Apparently, the decision letter is close to being released and the person you talked to thought it would be mailed by tomorrow and, thus, told you to call so you could be told that. You will not be told the decision until you get the letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  174. cornell says:

    Hi kay i thank you for you help nd support. I received my approval letter and it is fully favorable. Here is a break down for the folks waiting for benefits. I applied in jan 2012 was denied within 6 months and received a appeals hearing aug 2014 received my decision letter dec 1 2014. Hope this helps for those wondering how long the process takes. Thanks agin Kay

  175. bonita says:

    Had hearing on October 1,2014 decision letter was mailed on November 26,2014 how long before payments

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Bonita,

      If you were approved for both Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the SSI will be paid first, after you have an interview with the local office. The Social Security can take from one to three months after the SSI is paid and will be reduced by the amount of SSI paid for the same months. I suggest that you call the local office saying you have a hearing approval letter and request an appointment to provide any additional information that is needed to get payment started.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  176. cornell says:

    Hi Kay I received a fully favorable decision and was wondering how long do you think it will take for them to deposit money into my bank account I have everything set up with social security office. Also I was approved for ssdi and was working too so my back pay if I made over a 1000 I want get paid for that month is that correct?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cornell,

      I need more information to respond. Were you approved for both Social Security (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Also, please retype your last sentence; there appear to be typographical errors that keep me from understanding it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  177. DireNeed says:

    Kay, my husband had a hearing scheduled for October 30, 2014. However the day before the hearing his lawyer got very sick and was unable to attend the hearing. The hearing was postponed to January 16, 2015. Of course this has not sat well with my husband and me as we, like others, have been on this long journey with no second income for over 2 years and are about to loose everything we have. I contacted our lawyer explaining this to him and how disappointed I was in the delay. He submitted a dire need OTR request to our judge and said he hoped to have a decision from the judge within a few weeks. That was a month ago. However, the lawyer’s case worker did tell me that the judge requested additional information from our lawyer but was not a liberty to say what was requested. I contacted the lawyer to make sure he submitted the paperwork but he did not tell me what additional documentation was needed either. Is this a good sign? Or could this be a sign of denial for the OTR and we have to go to the hearing?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear DireNeed,

      It is a good that the judge expedited your case trying to gather information before the hearing (or perhaps make a decision without a hearing.) His doing so is not an indication of what the decision might be. I do not know why the attorney didn’t say what was requested.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  178. michelle says:

    I have a question i went to my hearing in sept.2014 and the vocational expert said there was only two jobs I could do due to my copd one was a government job which was ruled out by my lawyer and the judge and the second was a packer which the judge ruled out…then the judge sent me to more Dr’s and they said I do have copd emphysema do u think I will be approved and if so how long before I know foe sure?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michelle,

      Whether or not you are approved will depend on whether the judge believes that the medical evidence shows you are as limited by COPD as you claim. Decisions can take two months or more. You can check on the status by calling the hearing office every two or three weeks.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  179. Sherry says:

    I recently had my hearing and just have a quick question or 2. When the ALJ was asking the VE the hypothetical questions the VE responded that there were 2 jobs I could perform with my limitations. When the ALJ said I could ask the VE questions I only asked one which was ” Would these jobs make accommmodations for a person who cannot sit for more than 1 hour, stand for no more than 30 minutes and must rest thru the day?” to which the VE responded “No”. With the VE’s response being no does that rule out those jobs and if so does that better my chances of winning my case? Thank you.
    I forgot to mention I am in Ohio

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sherry,

      The VE’s response to your question would establish that you cannot work with the limitations that you listed. If the judge believes the information in your claim file supports that you have those limitations, your appeal will likely be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sherry says:

        Thank you for a quick response Kay.
        In regards to my limitations, the state doctor they sent me to 2 yrs ago is the one who came up with the stated limitations.
        I do have another question. I received a CD at my hearing and upon looking I found things in my medical records that my Doctors failed to tell me therefore were not included in my claim. Does the ALJ look at these also and take them into consideration when reviewing a case or do they just look at what is on the original claim?

  180. shannon says:

    hi im shannon i have a question for you. i got my decision on my SSI case it was fully favorable and I already went to the meeting at my local Social Security office I was just wondering how long does it take for a check to get in in the mail

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shannon,

      It can take as little as a week and as much as a month or longer depending on whether the office has all the information needed to calculate the benefit and depending on the workloads and backlogs in the office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  181. Harold M. says:

    Hello, I received a bench approval at my hearing on 11/5/2014, after fighting for 3 years; I was wondering whether or not I need to contact my SSA office to verify banking account info and to make sure my dependents are included in any potential retro/back benefits owed…I’m not sure how long the process takes to get the award letter when you get a approval at the hearing as opposed to waiting a few months for the decision as in the majority of cases

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Harold,

      As soon as you get the written approval from the judge, contact Social Security to check the things you mentioned. It will take one to three months aftert the approval letter is issued before benefits start.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  182. cornell says:

    HI Kay I have a quick question. I contacted the Hearings Office today to check the status of my claim and I was told a decision has been made and it is being edited, how much longer do you think it will be before I receive the letter its been in the writing/editing stage since nov.7th 14? I just need some reassurance that Is on its way within 2-3 weeks because funds are low and Christmas is coming soon.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cornell,

      I can not assure you how long it will take for the letter to be edited and sent. If it is an approval, after the letter is finalized, it goes to another appeals office before it is released to you. If you are approved, it will take more time after you get the approval letter to have benefits released. This means that you should not count on receiving income by Christmas.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  183. RP says:

    My husband had a hearing in July this year, in August 2 guys came in our neighborhood showing pictures of my husband asking our neighbors questions, andwe are still waiting on a decision on his case. the lawyer said it was the state bureau checking on him as requested by ssa and they sent in a report. Is this normal to do before a decision is made?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear RP,

      This type of investigation not routine, but it is sometimes done. Apparently, the judge wanted to know if your husband’s observed activities matched his alleged limitations.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  184. Rickey says:

    I also had to send all of the medicaid dates to my lawyer to sumit. They ran from June 1, 2008- February 28, 2015.I don’t know if that helps or not.

  185. JOHN says:

    Hello I came across your website and just have a couple questions I had my hearing before the judge I received my decision which was unfavorable, but I have a few questions about it. First I do have a lawyer but they will not call me back and not answer any questions so us it to late to get a different attorney if I want to take this to the next step? Next if I read over the decision it says they took in consideration light weight to my doctors forms is this allowed and if not what else could it go by? I don’t understand what else they could be asking for I don’t know what else I could to provide? If I go to the next step I believe you said appeals council will it take years foe them to make a decision as well?? Thanks for your help I have no one else to ask. Also the VE at the hearing said there was no jobs for me then when I get the decision it says there are several jobs I could do how can they do that?

  186. tiredofwaiting says:

    Had my hearing. Judge fired off a bunch of questions at me. Attorney asked me a to describe my day. Then the judge questioned the VE. VE went on about how I could perform three jobs then the judge said given the limitations can the claimant do the job. then the VE went on and on and finally said no because no employer would allow an employee to consistedly miss work on a weekly basis and not have a issue with that. then the judge said good luck to you. I’m confused. i was in there less than 30 minutes. my attorney never asked the VE any questions but said it went extremely well. The mere fact I told him it was extremely difficult for me to be around people do to my severe depression and insomina and then i’m forced to come in to a hearing that lasts less than 30 minutes ….after waiting for a yearand continuing to wait for benefits… someone really needs to address that this is not a game … we are shamed in those hearings… for their amusement.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tiredofwaiting,

      Apparently, the judge got all the information that was needed to make a decision in a short time. If your attorney’s assessment of the outcome proves true, there is no harm in the short hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  187. John says:

    Hello I have a question I have seen the judge and the decision was unfavorable, but when I read through the papers it says they give little weight to my doctors papers why would they do that cab they do that? It says they found my conditions severe but I guess its not supported by documents what else could they want? I have a attorney who is not doing a good job I have left several messages at their office and they won’t even call me back is it to late to get a new attorney? I have two doctors one for physical and mental they both filled out forms saying I could not work what else can I do? Also if I take it to the next step will it be a few more years fir the next step? Also the VE said they was no jobs I could do now the decision says there are several jobs I could do why would she say in front of the judge I couldn’t do anything then in the paperwork 86,000 jobs? I’m so confused lost and depressed any help would be appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear John,

      You do need to talk with your attorney about the specific grounds for appeal including the VE testimony discrepancy. I cannot advise you regarding whether you should change attorneys. Review the paperwork you signed with your current attorney to see what the provisions are regarding criteria for termination. If you decide you want to terminate, before you take action, be sure another attorney would take your case at this late stage because it would be best to have an attorney present your appeal to the Appeals Council. Again, I am not suggesting you should change attorneys.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  188. Rickey says:

    Hi Kay
    I was diagnosed back in December 2007 with a variety of mental illnesses like PTSD & PDD among other things.NC Vocational Rehabilitation done an accessment on me & sent me a letter telling me that I could no longer work that they couldn’t help me to go to Social Security to apply for disability. I haven’t had a good work record due to my disability. I tried to work but could never handle the jobs.The last real job where I worked more than a month was in 1987.So since I didn’t have enough work credits I had to apply fot SSI.I hired an attorney to represent me in 2008.Also in November 2008 I was awarded Medicaid & still have it to this day.In March 2010 I recieve a letter telling me of my upcoming hearing on April 1.2010.The lawyer at the time wanted me to drop the case because the ODAR judge wouldn’t rule in my favor because that judge didn’t believe in mental illness as a disability. So I had to sign the paper resending the right to a hearing then and to start all over.The lawyer sent me to another lawyer.I started the process over March 2010 & on July 19, 2011 I got my chance to go in front of a ODAR judge.The lawyer told me it all went well & if everything goes right I should be drawing in late fall of 2011.The judge tore me to shreds never taking anything that the drs were saying or voc rehab only the lie from the so called accessment that the social security dr did on me which only 2 questions were asked so that dr said there was nothing wrong with me but for the past 25 years I’ve been in concelling due to my disability. The lawyer filed an appeal to that decision which that was denied.The lawyer sent it to federal court & had me to refile another claim to social security.In May I got my remand letter for another hearing which was held June 25.I was originally told up to 120 days but now the decision could be anyone’s guess.Why the back log? Haven’t I suffered enough? The lawyer told me if the same judge keeps denying me that he would keep appealing it til it goes through.I started this at age 40 so now I’m 47.Could my age play a huge part in this? Will I have to wait til I’m in my 50′s to finally get approved? This has been a nightmare with all the stress & anxiety that I already deal with on an everyday bases.There are times I want to just go crawl in a hole & die but I hold out.I wrote you earlier before my hearing.I contacted the ODAR office in September telling me that I would get a decision in a week.I called my lawyer & they weren’t pleased by me contacting ODAR in which the lady at ODAR evidently lied cause no decision as of yet.Everything is still pending. Do you see a decision possibly being made soon & with the time that’s past by does my outcome look more unfavorable?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rickey,

      As you describe your denial, the judge did not believe your claims about your limitations. If that is true, I would say your age is not a factor; however, consult with your attorney for his or her opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Rickey says:

        Hi Kay
        My case was sent back to the same judge as a remand.My lawyer has told me that there’s enough evidence in my medical records for me to be approved.I called ODAR yesterday & they tild me that the case is still pending that its with the letter writers.The reason for the remand was because the judge failed to take into consideration the medicaid that I’ve had since November 2008 that they pre dated from June1, 2008 in which I’m still recieving.When I had my hearing in October 2008 all of my evidence wasn’t in then but I was granted disability through social services.The Social Security dr that I was sent to in 2010 never did any assessment on me. He only asked 2 questions & wrote up a report that I didn’t have a disability & that’s all that the judge believed.The judge was nice & I felt like he was gonna be fair to me.I’ve lived most of my 47 yrs with trauma right after another since age 5.Im really lucky I’ve even survived & I find it extremely hard to live from day to day not knowing if someone don’t come up to try to harm me.I relive past traumas on a daily basis.Its not been easy.I feel like a failure in life but its not my fault. I can only hope that the letter writers will finally see what I live with & grant me a favorable outcome.My behavior specialist believes I deserve to get it.How long does it take the letter writers? I was told they got it or had it since September.Does the long length hold any merit to it being approved or denied? Thank you Kay.Have a great evening.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Rickey,

          The judge has already made the decision; the letter writer just prepares the letter based on the decision the judge wrote. After it gets to the letter-writing department, it has to be assigned to a specific writer. The delay is not related to whether the decision is an approval or a denial; it is probably related to work backlogs. If the letter has been assigned to a write, you might receive the decision within a month.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  189. please help says:

    Hello Kay I am not sure what is going on I have been talking to you about my brother and his case under the name praying everyday but my questions keep disappearing, anyway the last thing I heard from you was if the paperwork was sent to Virginia is this a sign of approval? If my brother applied for SSI and SSDI does the paperwork come back together or separate? Now SSI do you have to be disabled to receive this or what does it go by? Thanks again Kay you have truly been a blessing for a lot of people. Have a good day

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Please Help (Praying),

      Please see my previous responses about your posts. The medical decision from the judge will be in one letter for both SSI and SSDI. Payment for SSDI is handled by the Social Security payment center. SSI payments are calculated and released by the local office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  190. PRAYINGEVERYDAY says:

    Just so you know one minute my comment is not on there and next it is not I am not writing that just to write it was deleted twice now all 3 come at this same time. Sorry

  191. Marilyn Sullivan says:

    Hi Kay,
    My hearing was June 14, 2014 as of today’s date November 6, 2014 the judge still has my case and hasn’t rendered a decision. Everything I needed my attorney presented to the judge at the hearing including doctors letter with all my medical limitations. What could possibly be taking the judge so long to make a decision it will be 5 months since my hearing very soon.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marilyn,

      I am unable to answer your question. You might call the hearing office and ask. When you say the judge has not rendered an opinion do you mean the hearing office has told you that or do you mean you haven’t gotten a decision? If the latter, it is possible the decision has been made and the appeal is in the waiting its turn in the letter writing department. The hearing office can clarify where it is in the process.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  192. Laura says:

    Hi..
    I had my court hearing in front of a judge through close circuit tv and i didnt have a lawyer. Now I’m not sure not having a lawyer was a good idea. If I get a denial letter will it be to late to get a lawyer for the appeal?
    Patiently waiting, laura

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laura,

      If you are denied, you can hire a lawyer to assist with filing the request for Appeals Council Review. 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

  193. marcy says:

    hi i have a question i applied for disability..its only been a little over 2 months talked to my caseworker threw disability to give her more update on my health record she said she didnt need no more information that she already made her decition..but had to send it one more higher up( what does that mean?) to see if the agree on her decsion..then ill get a letter with in 2 weeks for my decission is this a good sign??marcy

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marcy,

      At this point you cannot really be sure of the nature of the decision. If you are denied, you can appeal. It is usually best to obtain an attorney for your appeal. 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

  194. cornell says:

    Thanks Kay you are such a comfort on the website to people waiting on disability thanks for your time and hard work because you keep people calm until the wait is over :)

  195. cornell says:

    I have a question I been waiting for my award letter for 3 months. Had my hearing in August in Indiana. I call the hearing office and they tell me its in the underwriting stage meaning decision been made its being written up. So How much longer you think I will have to wait before I receive a letter. I have not money and may have to move Christmas is gone down the drain for my kids unless I receive money before December this is so ridiculous kay the best of your knowdlege do u think it will arrive befor dec or payment atleast? My hearing was August 15 2014 went to underwriting oct 15, 2014

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cornell,

      If the appeal has been assigned to a letter writer in the writing department, you have a shot at getting a decision within a month. How long it takes to get money after that depends on whether you are approved for Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, or both. It also depends a great deal on current workloads. In summary, you might see some money in December but I wouldn’t count in it. If your possible move is because of being evicted for failure to pay rent or your utilities are shut off, you can submit a dire-need statement in the hopes of being paid more quickly. If you haven’t already, check to see whether your state has cash assistance for families with dependent children.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  196. Prayingeveryday says:

    Hello first I want to say Thank you, you are truly a blessing for people in desperate times. I just have a few question’s, first this is about my brothers case, he had a hearing with the ALJ in July 2014 and is still waiting for a decision in the mail I know every case is different, but my question is others I know have went before the judge and got approved for benefits in what seems to be just a few weeks. The people I do know of that have been approved so quickly have had no children living in the home my brother has two school age children he is responsible for so would that make a difference in the time frame he has applied for SSI AND SSDI? Also since the hearing was in July can we still submit additional information to the judge like a dyer situation letter and so on??
    Thank you again for everything. Have a great day!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Prayingeveryday,

      Family composition does not affect the amount of time it takes to get a hearing decision. The variation has more to do with the judge and the specific hearing office’s work load at the time. I suggest calling the hearing office to find out if a decision has been made and the appeal has gone to the letter writing department. If a decision has not been made, ask to submit a dire need statement and how to do that. I am not certain whether at the hearing level there is a certain form to be completed or a letter will suffice. Usually dire need means danger of eviction, no utilities, or homelessness. If your brother has not done so, he can apply for food stamps for the family and his state might have cash aid to families with dependent children.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Prayingeveryday says:

        Thanks Kay for replying to my question and the great information you truly are a blessing for people. Being a person in this situation is really a true test of strength and hardship on families. I feel so sorry for people its very hard to read these stories, but I know you do help and give comfort. Thank you for everything keep up the good work.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          You are very welcome. Disability Advisor and I are happy to be of service.

          • Prayingeveryday says:

            Hello Kay one more question my brother called the ALJ office today about his case and they told him a decision was made and they had sent his paperwork to Virginia so they could get it processed do you have any idea what that means? He lives in KY by the way. Thanks again

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Praying,

            The judge has determined that your brother is disabled and the decision has been sent to the hearings office in Virginia for review of the judge’s decision. If the review doesn’t find any problems with the decision, your brother’s approval will become final.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Prayingeveryday says:

            Hello I meant to tell you he does have a lawyer and they we’re not sure the reason for that either??

          • Prayingeveryday says:

            I sure hope for his families sake he got approved. Keep up the good work Kay thanks again for everything.

          • Prayingeveryday says:

            My brother was wondering do all cases have to go thru Virginia is this a sign of approval? If you apply for SSDI and SSI when the decision is written does the paper work come together or separate? What is SSI based on if your medical condition or money based on household?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Praying,

            Typically only approvals are sent to Virginia for final review. The medical decision for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will come in the same letter. The award letters with benefit amounts will come separately. SSI is based on your medical condition and your family income.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  197. brenda says:

    hi, today i talked to the social security office and they said alj made decision the day after my hearing and that it was awaiting signature of the underwriter…what does this mean and how long could it possibly be before i receive the letter and start receiving benefits? thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brenda,

      I believe that your appeal is awaiting a writer, that is the person who prepares the letter. Then the letter goes to back to the judge for review and signature. It can take from a couple weeks to a couple months depending on backlogs in the writing department and the judge’s schedule.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  198. Heather says:

    I went to the alj on June 4th. I have not received anything from social security yet. I called my lawyers office and they told me there was nothing they could do we just had to wait. They advised me not to have any contact with the social security office. Is there anything that I can do to find out something?

    • Heather says:

      I’m sorry I failed to mention, I am in Virginia.

      Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Heather,

      I suggest clarifying with your attorney whether they object to your simply calling the hearing office to find out whether the decision has gone to the letter writers. This would be a routine inquiry that the judge would not know about.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  199. jermaine says:

    I am waiting on my award letter since aug. I called the social security office today and they said it was assigned to a write what does that mean? I had my hearing aug 14 do u think I will receive my letter within the next couple weeks. One last question I filed feb 1 of 2012 will I receive back pay from the time I filed till now?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jermaine,

      The information that you received indicates that a decision has been made by the judge and a letter is being written. It can take as much as a month for the letter to be written after it has been assigned to a writer and to be reviewed and signed by the judge.

      Social Security benefits begin the later of the sixth full calendar month of disability and twelve months before the month of application. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments would begin February 2012, assuming the judge found you to be disabled at that time.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  200. rob says:

    hey i have a QUESTION can u drop your medicare coverage and keep your medicade? and then if u want can u reinstate your medicare anytime u want to? because doctor donm’t take medicare but only takes medicade so i have to drop my medicare because they don’t take it and can’t bill my medicade if medicare is primary so if i drop my medicare can i pick it back up anytime i want too?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rob,

      I suggest that you contact your Medicaid office to be sure, but I think that Medicaid requires you to maintain your Medicare Part B because Medicaid pays only what Medicare does not. As far as Medicare goes, if you stop it, you can re-enroll for Medicare Part B only during the open enrollment period in the last quarter of the year and coverage starts the following July. You will also have to pay a higher premium as a penalty for not paying premiums continuously.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  201. Jill Banks says:

    Hello I have a question:

    I went before the ALJ yesterday and the judge said he is keeping this at a 12.05c. What does this mean? Also my attorney said that it was looking great in my favor. The judge was extremely nice and I came out of court feeling good about the hearing. My attorney was all smiles!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jill,

      I believe that 12.05c is a code for a certain mental condition. If you want more specific information, I recommend that you talk with your attorney or physician.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  202. Shakeia says:

    Dear Kay,
    I went to my ssd hearing with my lawyer on august 14,2014
    I called my local ss office and was told that the alj has made an decision and it was on his desk waiting to be signed. I was just curious as to how much longer will it be before I get a letter in the mail?
    Ive been waiting 4 years and really praying that I get a favorable decision. I feel really nervous about the outcome. It’s like after the hearing time stopped. How much longer can I expect to wait?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shakeia,

      Assuming that the letter was correctly prepared and doesn’t need correction, I would think that the letter will be sent out within a week or so.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  203. Roger says:

    Dear Kay,

    Thank you so much for this website. I really appreciate the effort you put in to helping us cope with “the wait”. This whole system has been totally brutal–my initial application was in May of 2012 and I had my hearing at the end of August 2014. It’s disheartening (and makes me angry) to think of how many people have died or have taken their lives because the government did not declare them disabled, when they indeed were. I feel for people out there. I myself have lost a lot in this process and am barely surviving as is.

    I’m not going to get into the details of my disability, but I think my hearing went well. My judge has a 62% approval rate, which I believe is quite high. My doctor attended my meeting and at the conclusion, the judge said he wish more doctors would attend and how rare it is. My doctor and the SSA doctor seemed to agree that I was indeed “moderately to severely” disabled on 3 or 4 out of 5 sections, or so my doctor says. The vocational expert was not even asked to speak. Is this a good sign?

    My attorney seems to think I was awarded disability and spoke like that after the hearing, but said that no proper decision had been made and I would need to wait roughly 30-90 days (please, God, make it 30). He is with a very reputable law office; should I trust his words, in your opinion? Do you think that the vocational expert’s lack of testifying is a positive thing? I’ve lost a lot of trust in the last two years–trust in people, in our government–but want to trust my attorney so much.

    Two more tidbits: I have been receiving SSI since October of 2012. If/when I receive backpay, will the SSI that I have already received be deducted from the monthly SSDI backpay amount? What, on average, is the typical amount awarded each month?

    Also, I applied as a minor (under 22) for when my disability started. I believe that they found my disability to have begun prior to age 22, though I am in my late 20s now. Is there anything I need to know about this re: backpay, monthly payments, duration of decision, time of onset…etc.? It seems to be a more complicated case than most, and I hope this does not mean a longer waiting period. I also am not sure about whose SS # they put my case under to award backpay…either my mother’s or my father’s. I am hoping my mother’s, as she has worked since she was 14, and would mean a higher monthly income and would help out. Do you know how they figure this out?

    Thank you so much, Kay!

    Roger

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Roger,

      You raise several questions. It is possible that the judge did not ask the vocational expert to testify because he is convinced that you are disabled and have been since before age twenty-two. This leads to the second issue you raise. It sounds as if you are applying for Disabled Adult Child’s benefits which require an individual to be unmarried and to have become disabled before age twenty-two. You will be paid on the account of the parent who either is receiving Social Security Disability or Retirement benefits or is deceased. If both parents are either deceased or getting benefits, then you will be paid under a combined family maximum on both parents’ records. The amount you receive depends on your parent’s or parents’ earnings records and whether they are living or deceased. Accordingly, I cannot estimate the amount you might receive. Your retroactive benefits will be reduced by the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) you received for the same months as the Social Security is paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  204. 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

      • Stressed and Nervous says:

        I was denied the judge felt I could do my old jobs even though the VE said there was no jobs I could do. I appealed it and I call and they said the appeal process has finished and it’s been sent to a location other than my local branch. They also told me I should be receiving a letter any day what does that mean? I ask for a number to contact someone and they gave me the number to my local office but yet the Appeals council sent it somewhere different

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Stressed and Nervous,

          It is possible that the Appeals Council has remanded your claim to the judge for additional investigation and reconsideration of the decision. It is also possible the Appeals Council denied the review and the file was sent to storage. You will have to wait for the letter to know what the situation is.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  205. 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

  206. 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?

  207. 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

  208. 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

  209. 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

  210. 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

  211. 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

  212. 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

  213. 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.

  214. 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