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What happens if the Social Security Appeals Council orders a second disability hearing?

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Learn why the Social Security Appeals Council may send your disability claim back to the law judge for more investigation and possibly a second hearing.

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Watch the Video: "What happens if the Social Security Appeals Council orders a second disability hearing?"

When Your Appeal Goes Back
to the Hearings Level

Sometimes when the Social Security Appeals Council reviews your appeal of a hearing denial, they will decide that some aspect of your case was not fully investigated and will return your claim to the administrative law judge who handled it previously, with instructions about what aspect of your claim needs additional investigation. This is called remanding your case. Remand sometimes results in a second hearing.

Reasons Why The Appeals Council Might Return Your Claim to the Judge

The Social Security Appeals Council might notice that some vocational aspect of your claim was not addressed, so it might tell the judge to ask the vocational expert some additional questions or to call an expert witness if one did not testify previously. In another circumstance, the Appeals Council might point out that some questions about your medical condition and limitations were not answered by your medical records or the hearing testimony. In this situation, the Council might request that the judge send your claim back to the Disability Determining Services to set up a consultative examination for you. Once the requested additional information is obtained and a second hearing is held, if needed, the administrative law judge will render a new decision.
For more information about Social Security Appeals Council reviews, see our article “What Is a Social Security Appeals Council Review and What Can I Do If the Appeals Council Denies My Claim?”

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151 Comments

  1. Ray Anthony says:

    If the order is for a new decision, under what circumstances would the judge give the old decision?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Thank you for your question, Ray.

      When your disability claim is remanded to the administrative law judge for a second hearings-level review, the judge will render the same decision if the additional information the Appeals Council requested the judge get supports that you don’t meet the Social Security’s definition of disability.

      • Ray Anthony says:

        My remand was predicated on the alj not listening to Social Security’s own doctors, discounting my doctors, what hope or chance to have with this guy? My remand hearing is in June, any chance something may happen by then, pre-conference hearing, anything positive?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Ray,

          The fact that your claim was remanded to the ALJ is positive in itself. Remand does not happen very often. You might be contacted before the remand hearing, but not necessarily.

          If you do not have an attorney, you need to get one NOW. It is important to have someone who knows the protocol for remand hearings help you with your appeal. If you don’t have an attorney, I recommend calling Disabiltiy Advisor (888) 393-1010 immediately and letting them know that you have a remand hearing scheduled for June. They will put you on a fast track to be prepared for the hearing. If you win benefits, their fee, which is set by Social Security law, will be withheld from your back benefits and forwarded to the attorney. If you do not win benefits, you pay no fees.

          Good luck!

          Kay

          • Ray Anthony says:

            I have one, but he’s hard to get a hold of. Would a alj risk the ire of appeals council by giving old decision with a different bow on it. I’m not sure what more I can say. I’ll be 58 in September, unskilled background, no transferable skills, haven’t worked since 2006, what am I missing.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Ray,

            I am glad that you have legal representation.

            Presumably the ALJ is a true professional and will consider the input given by the appeals council with regard to what they think he overlooked evaluating. If the appeals council thought it was certain that you qualified for benefits, they would have overturned the decision. They are just asking the judge to review further.

            Fortunately, your hearing is coming up soon and you won’t have too much longer of the agonizing wait. You should have a decision withing sixty days of the hearing.

            Best regards,

            Kay

          • Ray Anthony says:

            Kay, lastly, my problems are type 2 diabetes, hypertension,obesity and according to social security’s own doctors severe depression, worked 36 years in a row, why am I and others treated this way? I was turned down for otr, is there anyway that before the remand hearing that anything can happen like pre-hearing conference, or vsu pulling the file or anything? I have this sneaky feeling my hearing will last 15 minutes after waiting 7 plus years. I will be 58 in September I still don’t know who would hire someone who spends most of his days laying down.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Ray,

            I am sorry, but I really can’t predict whether a pre-hearing decision might be made in your claim. I do hope the hearing turns out well.

            Kay

          • Ray Anthony says:

            OK, I lied, how often have you dealt with grid rules with my problems? 57, unskilled, no transferable skills.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Ray,

            I can provide general information only. I recommend that you contact your attorney for any further inquiries about your specific case. Your attorney will have all the facts and be in a better position to answer your questions.

            Best regards,

            Kay

      • hannah says:

        My gf has been fighting disability for almost 3years for mental illnesses. she was denied by the alj for insufficient evidence. her atty appealed her claim to the appeals council. they said it could take up to 30 months for this process. it took two weeks to remand her claim back to the alj. she has a second hearing tomorrow in front of the same alj. what are her chances.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Hannah,

          The fact that the appeals council returned your friend’s claim for a second hearing means that more investigation is to be done and that there is still a possibility of being approved.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  2. Mike says:

    I had the appeal approved, and now the local SSA requesting the consulting exam. When I looked into that, it seems that is if info is missing. And I have since been seeing the doctor plenty, but lawyer said new info was not relevant. If they getting a current update, wont that make all my new medical paperwork relevant.
    Also, my lawyer was not much help after the original hearing, basically wrote me off, hardly ever responded to my e-mails, and I am not sure whether he ever sent in the new info I gave him. I asked state rep’s office for help, and now things are moving, but yet he still not being helpful, or getting back to me. I did all the leg work, all he was worried about was whether i had any collections to bother pursuing it to the federal level if needed. If I find out he never sent them the info I gave him, such as all my newer medical records, and the things that proved the original decision had false info, can I do anything to remove him? Doesn’t seem right he still gets a big chunk of my potential back-pay and I did all the work.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mike,

      You say that your appeal was approved and also describe that Social Security is still investigating your claim. This is a bit confusing. If you mean that your claim was approved on appeal, not simply that you are allowed to appeal, then it is likely they are investigating to decide either to start payment earlier or to determine when benefits should end.

      In either case, if Social Security has asked you to attend a consultative examination, be sure that you do. If you don’t, whatever portion of your claim they are investigating is likely to be denied.

      With regard to your attorney, you have the right to change attorneys at any time if you think you would get better representation elsewhere; however, I suggest that you first talk with the Social Security Administration to find out to whom they will pay the attorney fees, if you change attorneys or begin to represent yourself at this point. Social Security can also tell you whether they have received the specific medical records you are concerned about.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  3. Angela says:

    I had a Social Security hearing January 2012. I received my denial letter in March and my attorney appealed the decision in May. I guess my case has gone to the appeals council but I have not heard a word from anyone about my case. My attorney is never in when I call him to see what is going on with my case. Can you tell my how long it usually takes to hear something because its been over a year now?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Angela,

      The Social Security Administration does not publish time ranges for how long it takes to receive a decision from the Appeals Council; however, two years is not uncommon. Hope this helpful.

      Kay

  4. Chris says:

    If you have had your hearing with an Alj and no decision was made and 2 months later you receive a notice for a second supplemental hearing… does this more likely than not mean you have been denied benefits?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      No, the scheduling of a second hearing before you received a decision does not mean that you have been denied. It likely means that the judge either gathered some information after the hearing that he/she would like clarified or that a quality assurance department saw that some aspect of investigation was not covered at the first hearing, and the second hearing is to clarify that point. Do you have an attorney? If so, the attorney should know or be able to find out why the second hearing is being scheduled. If you do not have an attorney it would be a good idea to get one as soon as possible. Disability Adivsor can connect you with an attorney who is knowledgeable in Social Security law. Their number is 888-393-1010.

      Best regards,
      Kay

  5. Mark says:

    My LAJ found my case favorable in December of 2013 but then went into Appeals Review requesting additional medical evidence. Substantial neurological testing was performed for my bi-polar depression for 9 weeks in early Spring and results were submitted in to the committee in June. Without any question, the test results proved that I cannot work. In addition I have a chronic neck problem from surgery a few years ago and a damaged rotor cuff and I am in persistent pain 24/7.

    NOW the Appeals Council has sent back the case for remand. I am very frustrated and I have had an attorney from the very beginning. What does this mean and why is this happening when the case was found favorable to begin with? In all honesty if I were able I much rather be working I was a successful professional once at 6 figures and this is all extremely frustrating and only making my mental state worse.

    Thanks,
    Mark

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mark,

      I can imagine that you are frustrated!

      A certain small percentage of ALJ hearing decisions are automatically reviewed by the Appeals Council as a quality assurance protocol. Your claim appears to have been one that was picked at random for review. The process in such cases is to return the claim to the administrative law judge (ALJ) for review and decision. The outcome could still be favorable to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  6. Barbara says:

    Hi I am hoping to get some good news here my fiance injured his back in 2010, his doctor took him off work completely for 6 months then only allowed him to work as a door greeter at Wallyworld 15 hours a week and then only if he sit down. He has been diaganosed with spinal stenosis, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, needing double knee replacement, and problems with hips. He can only go to the VA because he has no insurance and can’t get medicaid due to being VA eligible. He has been going through the process since 2011 to get disability and recently his appeals council was remanded to hearing judge due to issues with using cane, walker and how far can he walk with each. We have an attorney who seems optomistic. When we went to his last hearing in 2012 the judge told him he “hates VA medical records” but since we are not married I can’t put him on my insurance. The latest information from doctor explains cane and walker but also mentions his condition has deterioated. Will this letter from the doctor help his case or hurt it. The doctor also mentioned he needs to lose weight. He takes 47 pills per day due to this condition.

    • Barbara says:

      Also I should mention he is 53 he was 49 when he applied and has a hs diploma and onlyl did manual labor

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Barbara,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      First a word of caution: If your fiance is trying to decide whether to submit the letter from his doctor to Social Security, he should show the letter to his attorney and seek his attorney’s advice on the matter. If letter has already been submitted, I would comment as follows: It sounds as if the letter could help get your fiance approved for disability, based at least on becoming disabled when he started to use the cane or walker. The reference to deterioration will not necessarily affect the date your fiance is found to be disabled, especially if earlier medical information supports disability or earlier disability can be inferred from the deterioration.

      Regards,

      Kay

      • Barbara says:

        Hi Kay he had his hearing this past Thursday the judge was different he seemed more pleasant and said he had reviewed his huge file. He stated he saw he had support from his doctor. The vocational expert said there were no jobs he could do. The judge has agreed to apply the grid rule? Our attorney says this is very good. Do you think he has a good chance? This has been going on since 2010

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Barbara,

          The attorney who was present is thinking positively about the outcome, so I would trust that. Nothing has been guaranteed, but the judge appparently is giving more credence to the attending physician’s opinion, which is good.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  7. Pam Tanner says:

    Is there anything else that can be done to speed up the appeals process for a second hearing or a decision. I have already contacted my attorney and I also have a congressional interest in my case. I received a letter from the congressman that came from the disability board and it said “they have not yet begun to review my case”. I began my process in 2012 and do not have money now to seek medical attention. I have insurance, however, the deductible is $5,000. With only one income in my family it is very frustrating. Does the Disability Board have that much work or do they take too many brakes and can’t get their work done? I understand there are many people trying to get disability but there needs to be something done to speed up this process. Is there anything or anyone I can contact?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pam,

      Waiting to get through the Social Security appeals process can be frustrating and grueling. I sympathize with you.

      To answer your question: Every branch of the Social Security Administration is understaffed for the number of claims and appeals that are filed. While I am sure there are slackers within the system, as there are everywhere in all industries, the typical Social Security Administration (and Disability Determining Services) employee is working as hard and as fast as he or she can. They wouldn’t be in the business if they didn’t want to provide you the best service possible, and I am sure they often go home at the end of the day frustrated by the backlogs created by too much work for the existing staff.

      It sounds as if you have done all you can do.

      Wishing you a decision soon.

      Kay

  8. TAMEKA says:

    Hi,I HAD MY HEARING IN JULY2013,THEY SAUD I WOULD HAVE A DECISION IN SIXTY DAYS BUT I HAVEN’T HEARD ANYTHING.WHAT COULD B HHOLDING UP THE DECISION PROCESS ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tameka,

      The guidelines say that the hearing decision will be rendered within 60 days, but it is not uncommon for it to take longer. You might call the hearing office to find out where you are in the process; that is, is your claim awaiting the judge’s decision, has additional information been requested, or has the decision been made and it is awaiting being typed up?

      Best regards,

      Kay

  9. thelma sykes says:

    I have a fully favorable decision but the alj vacate an reopen my case due to income after my onset date they said at first i would receive a check about the16 of the month now when i called they say something changed and the computer want let them c my lawyer say the same can u please give me an ideal with what may be happening

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Thelma,

      Please see my response to your prior inquiry, which I posted on September 23. The added bit of information seems to indicate that work earnings showed up in government tax records for dates after the date you claimed you were disabled. If you were working, my previous reply is most likely what is happening.

      If you did not work, but got sick pay, vacation pay, or disability benefits from your employer’s insurance program and they held Social Security taxes from the benefits, Social Security may think that you were working when you were not. If you did not work after the date you claimed, you need to let your attorney know so that he give the correct facts and documentation to Social Security.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  10. Ian says:

    Hi,
    I had a hearing in October of 2012, and had a Unfavorable decision. The case is at the Appeals Council currently, since March 2012. I have an Attorney and by the Judges own words, I should have been found Disabled. Here are his exact words, ” The claimant’s attorney asked the vocational expert to assume that the individual is limited to occasional use of his hands for handling and fingering. Although the vocational expert testified that this additional limitation would preclude competitive employment, I do use the vocational expert’s response to this limitation as the basis for my decision because the additional limitation is supported by the record as a whole.

    in the previous paragraph the judge asked the vocational expert to assume that the individual would likely react inappropriately to criticism from supervisors or co-workers. although the vocational expert testified that competitive employment would be precluded for such an individual, I do not use the vocational expert’s response to this question as the basis for my decision because limitations to this degree are not supported by the record of the whole.

    in my opinion the judge should have found me disabled by his own words, wouldn’t you agree. instead he said that I could do light work. I went to an FRC specialist and she says that in her opinion I am unemployable.

    I also have a permanently disabled placard. Not only that,I also have a personality disorder and severe anxiety. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks, Ian

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ian,

      It is difficult for me to know why the judge ruled as he did from a small excerpt from the decision. I would take a guess that he determined that you could not do certain kinds of work because of your fingering and handling limitations but that it did not preclude you from doing other work that did not require much use of your hands. That is, however, just a guess on my part.

      Usually the Appeals Council does not review new information. Instead they only review to see if the judge followed the appropriate procedures and if the decision was reasonable based on the facts presented at the hearing.I do suggest that you be sure that the Appeals Council has all your arguments of why you think the hearing decision was wrong so they can consider them in their decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  11. Ian says:

    I meant March of 2013 sorry.

  12. ashlyn r says:

    Hi I just have a few questions…well ill give u the whole story ive been with pyhsch docs since I was 13 and 2as diagnosed bipolar 1 rage disorder and depreaaion manias anf manic episodes when I wqs 18 my mother applied for disability for child and I didnt even know I got pregnant in june 2010 I applied for ssd october the same year which ive been with binder and binder after having my dauggter I was diagnosed with exteme anxiety and agorphia and still all of the above Ive alrewdy been diagnosed …my first hearing was in feb of 2011 I got denied I appealed it …it then went to appeals council a year later now the appeals counsil remanded my case back to th3 same alj …im about to be 24 yrs old this feb 27th ….ive literally sinc3 i was 15 had over 15 jobs and max I worked was 6 days…bc I dont take authority well and my attention span is horrible I flip out ….oh and im on 6 mgs of xanax a day this all do3snt make sense to me in my first hearing my doc cleary stated im not capable of ev3n low stress jobs and would miss more than 4 days of work a week …Is this a good thing I got remanded ..? Th3 judeje denied my claim th3 first to me bc my doc coulnt write a narrative report bc I dont hav3 6 thousand yes 6 thousand dollars …!!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ashlyn,

      Yes, it is a good thing that your claim was remanded to the judge. It means that you still have a change to be approved. If you do not have an attorney, you need to get one right away to help you with your claim. You can reach a good Social Security and SSI disability attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. If you are not awarded benefits, you will not have pay attorney fees. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  13. Kelvin says:

    The appeals counsel remanded my case and now I have a second ALJ hearing set for November. My question is that even though there is a hearing date set, could the judge still make a decision before the hearing?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kelvin,

      It is possible that a decision could be made before the hearing date, though not extremely likely.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  14. Ruby says:

    I attended my hearing back in August of this year (2013), the judge ordered evaluations, because of my lack of medical evidence (I’m stuck in a small town with only two doctors that accept my insurance, and neither of them have helped me in the slightest), after speaking with a paralegal in my attorneys office this morning I learned I am to have another hearing, yet at my first hearing when the judge ordered the evaluations, I was under the impression that I would receive his decisions through the mail.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ruby,

      The judge must have some questions for you or may want a vocational experts opinion after the evaluation reports came in. The fact that you have been asked to attend another hearing means that you claim is not yet decided. When it is decided, you will be notified by mail.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  15. david says:

    i got a unfavorable decision i sent a appeal in mysefe in my papers my alj said i have severe impairments then it said i could do light work he could perform frequent handling and fingering and later it said due to his left hand impairment he should avoid constant handling and fingering on this part how can you do both

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear David,

      I suggest that you file an Appeals Council review pointing out the inconsistency. Be sure to file the appeal during the 60-day appeals period.

      It would be a good idea to discuss your case with an attorney to see if you need legal assistance in presenting the issues because special guidelines apply to how the Appeals Council reviews appeals. You can file the appeal before talking to the attorney if time is short. You can reach a good Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

  16. Natalie says:

    I have a condition called ulcerative colitis hypertension,numbness and tingling in my legs with severe back pain since the onset of my colitis Ive had severe anxiety and depression,I have a large pelvic mass that might be cause of the numbness in my legs I was denied by a al judge ,but in his denial letter he refused to address my doctors residual function test which stated my inability to stand or sit for long periods he also didn’t give any consideration to the info provided by my therapist as to my ability to function in a work environment due to my extreme anxiety I’m afraid to leave my home due to my colitis and anxiety,I’ve put in a request for a review what are my chances of getting another hearing and how can a judge override a medical doctor and a therapist he didnt even consider the affect of my medication .

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Natalie,

      It is appropriate that you appealed the judge’s decision because it appears that the judge did not consider all the evidence. That could be the basis for the appeals council to either override the judge or remand (send back) your claim to the judge for more investigation and another hearing. If you do not have an attorney, you need to get one now so that your appeal clearly states the errors you think the judge made in a manner that also addresses procedural issues that the appeals council will consider.

      You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by call Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  17. lil momma says:

    I had my hearing Sep 11 the judge asked me why I didnt attend my hearing last year now I heard it was remanded is is that good or bad

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sylvia,

      Please clarify for me so that I can respond to your question: Were you at a hearing when the judge asked you about your failure to attend a prior hearing? If yest, is the hearing you just attended a hearing that occurred after you appealed to the Appeals Council (that is after the Appeals Council remanded (sent back) your claim to the judge?

      Thank you,

      Kay

  18. Donna says:

    I had a disability hearing on oct 3d 2013. I have lupus and chronic migraines ,depression and anxiety. I have not got a letter about the alj decision yet.and yes i had an attorney. did the government shutdown affect this??i have been out of my lupus meds since oct and am in bad need of my meds!! can you give any advice ??

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Donna,

      It will not hurry anything along, but you might call the hearing office to find out whether the judge’s decision is still pending or it has been made and your claim is in the letter preparation department. (The office will not tell you what the decision was.) If the decidion is awaiting typing, then you should receive the written decision in a couple weeks. After you receive the letter, if the decision is favorable, it still could be six weeks before you receive payment.

      In the meantime, you might check with your doctor to see if he or she has medication samples or can tell you how to contact the pharmaceutical company that makes the medication. The drug companies sometimes provide a medication free for a limited period of time. A source for reduced-cost drugs might be a county health clinic.

      Best regards,

      Kay

      In

  19. Dan A.Giammarino says:

    Hello Kay, On July 13 of 2013 I had my hearing with an ALJ. I suffer from arthrittis of the let shoulder it is also in my other joints but the left is the bad one. I have no spleen due to a mva, hepititus c, which I have had for over 20 or so years now, even though my liver enzimes are not off the charts it effects me with my energy levels, I have to take like two sometimes three naps a day. I always was bursting with energy up untill around 8 years ago. I also have a lower bowel problem which sometimes hurts so bad I feel like passing out. I am sure there is more ailments physically, but I consider my main problem to be mental disease. I have been diagnosed as Bi-polar, all my family have been telling me this for years now, but I would not listen, this has caused me to go through bouts of drug and alcohol abuse and believe it or not I would feel better when I would use than when I was sober. All this was brought out in my hearing and the ALJ gave me a bench decision of approval at the end of the hearing. Like I said, this was in july of 2013. After three months I got overwhelmed with anxiety and contacted my layer. I never had a chance to talk to my layer, instead I could never get past my layers Paraleagal who told me that my case was taken and sent for review with an entity that could overturn the ALJ’s decision..It seems to me that she is sort of mean, and acts like I am bothering her, the only thing I can get out of her is to wait wait wait. Needless to say I am so upset because I feel all alone in this fight. I finally started to just say the heck with the layers, and check things on my own. I called the main office I forget the name, but I guess they pull 1 out of a hundred cases to see if the ALJ’s are staying consistent. They have the power to change a decision.They told me that they have never took my case, and that it is still sitting with the original ALJ and she is making her decision still. Then I checked on the quality control department of SS and they said the same thing, I do not want to go as far as saying that my layers Paraleagl is lying to me, I just think she is lazy and because of my condition and “I am a handful sometimes” she just does not want to deal with me,.Is this common? Should I be worried? Like I said, the ALJ told me I was approved for benifits, and I was so happy because I first started this fight back in 2008, but was ignorant about appeals and such so I started again in around may of 2011. Thank you Kay, awaiting your comment… Dan A. Giammarino

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dan,

      It is true that a small random sampling of hearing decisions are reviewed for quality assurance and a judge’s decision could be overruled; however, it sounds as if your claim is one of those. Although there is a possibility that everyone you talked to was giving correct information. That is,I am wondering whether your claim went to quality assurance and was sent back to the judge to review again.

      If you have not contacted the hearing office itself, you might do so to find out whether the decision is still pending or it is in the letter preparation unit, which would mean the decision letter was being written up, and whether it was sent to QA and then back to the judge.

      If the judge has not made a decision at any time, I suggest writing a short letter to your attorney saying that his or her assistant said that the claim was in quality assurance but that QA and the hearing office says it is still pending the judge’s decision. Ask whether the attorney can follow up to the hearing office given that it has been nearly five months without a decision.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  20. Dan A.Giammarino says:

    Please forgive my spelling Kay, I am tired “havent slept now for over 50 some hours”.That is another one of my complaints, I am either not wanting to get out of bed because I am so depressed, or I am tottally out of energy or I am in a manic state but will soon crash and sleep away my life. It hurts so bad, I dont know how much longer I can take this living like this.I am on so many meds for my conditions but they do not seem to be working. So sorry for offering so much information…Dan A. Giammarino

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dan,

      No worries. Please see my response of a few minutes ago to your prior post.

      Best,

      Kay

      • Dan A.Giammarino says:

        Thank you Kay..I did call the hearing office and unless I have heard wrong they told me that my case imformation has never left the alj’s possesion…I called the entity that can overturn a judjes decision and they told me that they never had my case in there possesion at any time…As far as writting my lawyers office I am to frustrated to have anythig to do with those people aymore…That Paraleagl has burned me out and I can hear in her voice that she cringes when I call her…What I have done since I last contacted you was to contact my senator Sherrod Brown, They sent me a form that gives them permission to get involved with the SS agency and see whats going on…I have not sent it just yet is this a good or bad idea Kay? I will wait for your answer befor I send it i don’t want to make my ALJ upset at me and automatically give me a denile…everyone outside of any one that knows the law says that saying no and sending me a denile is easy and that they would have done that already I hope they are right…I am in bad bad shape mentally Kay and my father who is 86 years old has had it with me living here and not bringing anything to the table…he is old school and does not believe in things like bi polar or depression he says I am just lazy all of the sudden and dont want to work…Needless to say thia hurts me very much because I have been a hard hard worker all my life no matter what type of job I had…I went back to school in my early thirtys and became a nurse but depression caught up with me and this caused me to self medicate so I did the right thing and basically told on myself and had to leave nursing…I am too old and can not handle concrete finishing anymore due to the physical problems and the mental deppression I suffer from…The main reason though is that i do not have the energy to perform that type of work anymore i take two too thee naps a day just about everyday unless I am in a manic state inwhich I do not sleep for days on end but just stay in bed with know energy wishing i was just dead…what do you think about sending off that letter to my senator?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Dan,

          You can certainly have the right to contact your senator; however, I think you have gotten pretty clear information from the Social Security Administration. The hearing offices says the judge has not made a decision and the other component of Social Security that you called said they never received the claim. That seems pretty reliable information that your claim is still waiting for the judge’s decision, despite what the paralegal said. (Perhaps she responded from memory and mixed your claim up with another.)

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  21. Virginia says:

    Hi Kay, this is Virginia and I have a question, If my lawyer Filed a request for a hearing on June 6, 2013 when I SSD sechdule my court date. I first filed in Sept. 2011 and if i’m approved, how far do SSD go back.

    Thank you,
    Virginia

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Virginia,

      It can take up to a year to get a hearing date. If approved your benefits will start the later of the sixth full calendar month after you became disabled or twelve months before your application, which would be September 2010.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Virginia says:

        Dear Kay, thank you for responding back to me. Your answers were very helpful.

        Virginia

        • Kay Derochie says:

          You are welcome, Virginia.

        • lil momma says:

          I had a hearing Sep 11 i was told my case was remanded is that good or bad do i still have to go to a second hearing

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Sylvia,

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

            The remand means that the judge’s decision made on your appeal was based on insufficient investigation. It does not reveal whether the decision was to be favorable or unfavorable. Yes, it is importanat that you attend a second hearing.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

  22. Dan A.Giammarino says:

    Sorry Kay, I have an answer to my questions…Will not bug you anymore…Thank you so much… Dan G.

  23. thelma sykes says:

    I Kay i have been receiving ssa but now i have to go back for a second hearing i had earning of 1000.00 amonth for ten month after my onset date. And i was self employed as a babysitter do u think the alj will over turn his fully favorable decision l have bad discs an mild mental illness founded by ss doctor will u pls give me ur input

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Thelma,

      The judge will consider your work earnings and your work activities as a self-employed person to decide whether you have been performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). If it is decided you have not, then your prior decision should not be affected. If your work is determined to be SGA, then the fully favorable decision may be reopened and changed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  24. Maureen says:

    Alj hearing was on sept 9, 2013 and today it has been 3 months and 1 week and still no decision in the mailbox. My lawyer says not to call, he says it is not good to bother them. I have neurological problems from a spinal cord cyst and muscular problems from periodic paralysis. The vocational expert said that I could do 2 different jobs but when the judge asked her questions about a person having certain limitations the ve said that there was no work for me. So does me that I should get a favorable decision? Also does the shutdown have a reason for waiting so long for a decision or does a long wait mean a unfavorable decision. Thank you for your time
    Maureen

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Maureen,

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

      Hopefully, you have received a decision by now. If not, a long wait only means a decision has not been made, dictated, and written up. It does not necessarily mean a denial. If the judge believes that the evidence you presented supports the limitations you claim and the vocational expert says you cannot work with those limitations, then I would expect an approval.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  25. Marie Daly says:

    I have my 2nd hearing coming up after the 1st of the year. I’m frustrated that it’s remanded to the exact same ALJ, he was horrible at my first hearing. Thankfully, I have a new lawyer this time…but it seems hopeless once it gets to this point after 7 years of waiting. I doubt very much I’ll be approved this time either, but if so…. What is “back pay” capped at?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mary,

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

      If you are approved there is no dollar cap on retroactive benefits. Social Security (SSDI) can be paid back to the later of the sixth full calendar month of disability or twelve months before your application. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits begin the month following the month of application.

      If you are eligible for both SSI and SSDI, the benefits will be coordinated and whichever is paid second will be reduced by the amount paid for the same months by the other program. Your SSI retroactive pay may be paid out in three installments, six months apart.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay
      Just a note: remands always go back to the same judge.

  26. Jim says:

    Kay,

    I have a question about a remand back to the judge. My lawyer filed an appeal with the council and it literally only took 2 weeks to get approved and remand back to the judge. It came back with like 4 pages of thing he needs to complete and has not completed. One of them is they are requesting about the VE and when I was there the first time a VE was there and answered questions. why was non of these things in the first decision? also i am Permanently and total disabled by the VA and unemployable also the ssdi doc they sent me to for PTSD diagnosed me with it and and GAF of 48 i can not take meds for PTSD cause of a rare kidney disease and i was still denied what is your thought on my case we are waiting for our second hearing however the judge refused to use the ssdi doctors diagnoses so the judge gave no weight them i am confused

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jim,

      The fact that the vocational expert’s opinion was not considered is probably be one of the reasons the case was remanded. Possibly also the fact that the judge did not give weight to the independent medical opinions. Your situation is that the Council thought that the judge didn’t have support for his decision. Either the judge will investigate further and approve your claim or write additional reasons for upholding the denial. If the denial is upheld, you can again appeal if you disagree.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  27. Jenni says:

    My claim has been approved, I am now receiving monthly benefits. Although I have not received my back pay, apparently the judge has denied the lawyers fees, what reasons would that happen? And how long of a process is that usually?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jenni,

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

      Apparently, the judge thought that the lawyer was charging too much for the services rendered or the attorney did not get a proper fee agreement signed by you. The hearing office should be able to tell you why. It often takes a while to get back benefits even when attorney fees are approved. If the attorney has appealed the denial, that could hold things up. I suggest inquiring with your local office.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  28. mike montgomery says:

    Kay, I filed for social security in June 2010. Was denied by the ALJ. In April 2013. I got a remand from the appeals board in june 2013. My attorney said we should have a new hearing in about 6 months. As of Jan 2014. I have not been told of a new hearing. Is it possible the ALJ is reviewing the Appeals request and is going to change his first ruling with out a second hearing. Thanks Mike

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mike,

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

      It is possible that the judge could reverse himself based on additional review and investigation, or it could just be that it’s taking longer than your attorney estimated to get a hearing date.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  29. Chris says:

    After ten years of denials I won a remand at the federal court level, my question is simple, with the federal court breathing down their corrupt necks, does this make it harder for SSA to deny me again? I have multiple issues with my neck, including chronic migraine, and arm and nerve pain….Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

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

      While having attained a federal court remand is a positive sign, it is not a guarantee that you will be approved.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  30. RALPH MYERS says:

    IM FIRST OF ALL 44 YEARS OLD,SHAME I WOULD RATHER WORK.I HAVE HAD SURGERY ON RIGHT ROTATER CUFF,ONE ON BACK TO REMOVE SOME BONE NEXT SURGERY ON BACK FOR FUSION,THIRD SURGERY ON SI JOINT FUSION ,HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESURE,HIGH ANXIETY,RUMOTOID AURTHERITUS,SEVER DEPRESION,BEEN HOSPITALIZED FOR THAT PLUS FEELING LESS THAN A MAN FOR NOT WORKING ,DOCTORS STATE I CANNOT STAND FOR MORE THAN 1 HOUR SIT FOR THE SAME ,ALJ,SENT ME TO STATE DOC AND HE STATED SAME AS OTHER DOCTORS,BUT STILL TURNED ME DOWN ,EVEN IF I COULD DO LESS STRENIOSJOB AS HE STATES ,IM ON 13 MEDS A DAY HAVE ONLY SEVENTH GRADE EDU.,WERE WOULD I GO COULD NOT PASS URINE TEST DUE TO SOME MEDS,I LIVE EAST OF RALEIGH N.C.FREMONT,N.C.IS TOWN ITS BEEN EIGHT MONTHS SINCE REMANDED ,HOW MUCH LONGER ON ADVERAGE COULD I WAIT .THANKS FOR BEING

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ralph,

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

      It is good that your claim was remanded to the judge. It is really hard to predict how long you will wait for a hearing date, but what I am observing, it could be as long as a year from the remand.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  31. CeCe says:

    I have been fighting to get disability since 2009. I won’t go into details about everything as it would take too long. All I know is that the appeals council denied my request for a review so my lawyer appealed to the district court. She finally called me today to tell me that the General counsel’s office remanded my case. Can you explain what this means and will I have to go to another hearing? The first one was traumatizing enough.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear CeCe,

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

      Remand from the district court is a positive development. It means that the judge will review your claim again to address omissions pointed out by the district court. This could result in a different decision. It is likely that you will have to attend a second hearing, which will probably be several months in the future, unless the remand order included deadline dates.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  32. Christi says:

    I have fybromyalgia,cf, bipolar affective disorder, degentive disk disease and severe depression. My case has gone to the appeals council. It has been a year now. I know u can’t tell me if i have a fighting chance or not but I am curious to know if u think I do. I realize it is your opinion but I am worried and can’t seem to get straight answers from anyone.. thanks Christi

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christi,

      You are right; I don’t have anyway of knowing whether you might be approved as the result of your Appeals Council review. If the Council finds that the judge did not address or investigate some facts or issues or did not follow procedural regulations, your claim could be remanded to the judge for a second hearing, which could result in a favorable decision. In other words, as long as you have an appeal pending there is a possibility of approval.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  33. Kelly says:

    Hi,
    I have a case for benefits on1/22 in Washington state, Filed for benefits in 2011, I received holiday pay qnd disability pay from work as well as commission. my company letter me go of tge payroll 8/13 for my ongoing medical issues and fmla hours of course. I spoke to my atty she asked me about my income. advised her where it came from. She had my dr fill out addtional ppwk said had over 300 pages from him and she hasn’t contacted me since. I called the office they said they have everything need.Reception won’t letter me speak with her. I have ptsd depression manic disorder after. the death of my 2children came so far want to make sure everything. goes smoothly cant sleep because of the waiting game please help any advice … She said the judge has a good approval rates???

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kelly,

      It sounds as if you have done everything for your claim that you can, including getting legal representation for your claim. At this point, your job is to wait. Because your attorney’s office says that your attorney has everything that is needed, the attorney is just waiting too and will have nothing new to tell you. You will have an answer one way or the other a couple months after the hearing (decisions are usually not rendered at the hearing), so it won’t be long before you will be able to move out of uncertainty.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  34. Kelly says:

    Thanks Kay for your advise but honestly in your opinion is there anything I might need to know.?? I’ve read you can have income outside of work I.e commission and disability pay is. that true? Hoping for some advise can’t take it and have no one,to get answers from. Ivetalked to my actually atty 1 time as I stated before rest just reception. Help!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kelly,

      When determining Substantial Gainful Activity, disability pay does not count because it is not work earnings. Commissions do count as work earnings because you are getting them as the result of your work. Commissions may count in the month that the money was generated, rather than when it was paid, that is in the month in which you sold a product or service that is resulting in the commission. I suggest that you gather that information if it is available and give it to your attorney.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  35. Angel says:

    I have lupus and I have depression/mood swings. I am just a different person now. The appeal council stated in their findings was metal issues. Are they telling the adj that he missed something? I have so many doctor appointments that NO job will be okay with me missing alot of days off work. I can’t concentrate on work. My attention spand is so short. I just feel like sleeping. I don’t know what to do, I’m tire!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Angel,

      From your message, I understand that the Appeals Council remanded your claim to the judge for another hearing and more assessment of your mental health. It is possible, though not guaranteed, that your claim could be approved at the second hearing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Angel says:

        Kay I understand what you’re saying, but I just feel like it’s hopeless with my case pending. Even though the ADJ denied me and the Appeal Council sent my case back to be reviewed with more info. What would the judge look for differently than the Appeal Council? I am a EMOTIONAL RECK, it’s mentally and physically stressful. It just seems that they’re paid not to approve people with a chronic illness

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Angel,

          The Appeals Council rarely simply approves an appeal. Their process is to send the claim back to the judge with instructions to the judge to investigate certain aspects of your claim further. That investigation can result in an approval. Be sure to attend the second hearing.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  36. Karen Carlsen says:

    Hi, II wish I could give you the short version! But trying to state what i think needs to be. I had my hearing last August, the ALJ was actually great. Hearing was sooo short, the judge actually cut my lawyer off and approved me. The next week my lawyers office called saying the judge called and said she needed a (ugh, correct term?) yellow disability/capacity? form before she could put my approval through. Say what? AFTER approving me at hearing? Anyhow, she specified that it was just the top portion she needed. My neurosurgeon filled one out. Received by fax to my attorney and sent on. So, thinking all was good and waiting for official approval in the mail. Never happened. Mid november rolls around and my lawyers office called to ask if i knew i had another hearing. (didn’t receive my papers until a few weeks after they knew) My appointment with my lawyer was NOT good in Dec. …hearing is this month (january) because they are calling one of social securities med experts. My attorney basically told me I’m going to be denied. He said experiences with when they call one of their med experts is NOT good. He pitter pattered around the way he kept saying it so i came right out and said “are you saying I’m going to be denied” his response was “Yes, i’m afraid so” He told me to NOT EVEN GO, are you kidding me? He had no idea why they were calling a med expert. I have excellent medical records and 2 yes two disability reports filled out by 2 different doctors. One like i mentioned above. Why would a 2nd hearing be called including a medical expert. Is it true almost all hearings that they call one of ‘their’ med experts are denied? Needless to say I’m a wreck and already wondering how i’m going to continue to live with my denial. OH and YES I’m GOING to the hearing that my lawyer said wont really be hearing. I forgot to mention he intends to do NOTHING. He stated it wont really be a hearing, that the judge will just ask the med expert via phone some questions and requestion the vocational expert and THE END, that he ‘has’ to be there of course but he wont be speaking either. I’m amazed at the turn around with my attorney. I cant believe he isnt pleading my case. Its just all insane to me.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Karen,

      I am glad that you are going to the hearing. It is very important. Be calm and respectful. Answer any questions asked. If the judge asks the attorney if he has questions and the attorney says no, but you have questions about what other witnesses said, you may be allowed to ask them if you so request.

      If you are denied, file a request for review with Social Security’s Appeals Council. Because your attorney has decided that your claim is a lost cause, it would be advisable to get a different attorney to review your claim and write an arguement for the Appeals Council.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  37. Ruben says:

    Hi, I applied for SSI back in April of 2009. I have been denied at all levels. Took my case to Federal Court and after a wait of almost a year, the court remanded my case back to the ALJ because they (the court) said that the ALJ had made numerous mistakes on my case when I went to the first hearing in July 2010. Now I’m waiting for a second hearing which SS said will be scheduled soon, within the next 3 months (I called SS a couple of days ago to check on the status of my claim and that’s what they said, so I just watch for a letter in the mail telling me when to come in to the second hearing). My case is based on depression and anxiety. I began treatment in February 2009 and ended it in June 2010 because I started to feel better. I attempted suicide once in 2006 and I was hospitalized for two weeks. Then in 2011 I was hospitalized twice panic attacks for only 24 hours in both occasions because it started to get out of control and lead me to almost start violence in my own home after a dispute some family members. During both hospitalizations I was asked if I wanted to go back to treatment but I refused. Anyway, to make the long story short is do you think I will be approved for the benefits? I am not working, even though I don’t feel as bad as before, I still do get mild depression at times and I don’t feel energized or with the ability of going to work. I also got fired from my last job in 2007 for a heated argument with one of my superiors. (long before I even started treatment). I have not worked ever since. I was also in college but I quit it because my grades were constantly failing. I feel as I might have to go back on treatment again soon because I’m starting to feel just like I did a few years ago. All my medical records have been sent to SS and the ALJ has them. I’ve been battling with this case for nearly 5 years. Also, if I was to be approved and I get retroactive payments, would the payments covered be from the date I applied until what day? Till the day I stopped treatment or up until today?

    • Ruben says:

      I also forgot to mention that I don’t have an attorney

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ruben,

      It will be more difficult to establish disability during periods that you have not been getting treatment because there is little proof of your condition or your limitations. If you are approved back to the date you claimed, your SSI benefits will start in May 2009. It is hard to say how long they will continue without a continuing record of treament.

      If you are really not sufficiently “energized” to get up and go to work, I would encourage you to get professional care and continue with it even in periods you don’t feel too bad.

      It would be a good idea to secure an attorney if you can find one who will take your case given the lack of medical records.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  38. Susan says:

    I had a hearing at the ALJ? level (and I have an attorney whom we can never seem to get ahold of for questions) back in October (16th, 2013). I got a letter requesting I go see another doctor? I have already seen a doctor in the field for them when I first applied. I have autism and my attorney already feels the claim should have been granted and not denied because autism is a covered condition for adults. So if I already did the hearing, why am I being sent for MORE testing? Is it a good sign? Or what? And then what happens? I am so confused! And of course, being autistic, this is really disrupting my routine!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Susan,

      It can be frustrating to have to keep providing more information, but it is very important that you attend the examination. The judge is requesting it because after reviewing your written record and the testimony at your hearing, he or she finds that there is some missing information that is needed to arrive at a decision.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  39. Kelly says:

    hey kay

    Went to my hearing today wanted to get your opinion. The Ve went over my work history said there is 2jobs that are available to me to do total of 20000 jobs available in my state not in my field of work he did say that I can’t go back to previous work. Is this a favorable thing or other words a good thing. The judge asked me 3 ??s rest where from my lawyers .VEry quick 20 minutes or so is these good signs ????? HElp cant take aneixty.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kelly,

      If you are under age fifty and the vocational expert said that there are occupations that you can perform, then your claim may be denied. f you are under age fifty, you have to be disabled from all occupations that you could otherwise perform given your education, work experience, and training–not just work you have done in the past. Of course, the information I am giving you is based on the general rule. You will not know the decision until the judge renders it, which can take up to two months or more.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  40. Kelly says:

    Kay

    I’ve. so confused I will need some answers! sga is over due to disability pay from work. Work had me on ltd . How do they calculate the amounts. My job pay. was 20.42. an hour I tried to work several times before with restrictions and accommodations of reduce. schedule . and lots of help from co workers. but. I would work @ 4 hours for 4 days a week. My job fired. me because its indefinitely my symptoms aren’t better for me to go back to work as I was before. THe VE stated I can’t go back to my. felid of work. Said shldnt be around ppl said 2 possible jobs that were 20000 available total here where i live …My doctor said I should be approved under 96b ???? however wrote the forms out in my favor. Got,my job to show the dates out of work. along with liberty mutual dates of pay. Help HELP PLEASE ANSWER

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kelly,

      Regarding your work and substantial gainful activity (SGA): If you were regularly working sixteen hours your earnings would be above $1,300 and above the SGA level of $1,070. However, if you were receiving so much help from your coworkers that you were not actually doing the job, you might make a case for not really earning the money. Disability pay is paid because you can’t work and would not be counted when calculating SGA. If you have presented the documentation of your time off and your disability pay, you have given the judge the right information. If you haven’t given a statement about unusual help at work, you might mail that to the judge quickly. Otherwise, all you can do now is wait for the decision.

      I am not familiar with what “96b” refers to, so I can’t comment on that.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  41. Kelly says:

    Oh yea so when they go over the #s sga what are they going off of the hours reported or actually the $ amount?

  42. Will says:

    my second hearing was on Oct 4 2013 the judge still has not given a answer. what do I do? I’m homeless because Ive been waiting for 7 years now.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Will,

      Unfortunately, all you can do is wait for the judge’s decision. If it is an approval, about a week after you receive the approval letter, contact the Social Security Administration. Explain that you are homeless and you would like to set up an interview to provide anything that is needed to get payment started. You can get an appointment by calling your local Social Security office or the call center at 1-800-772-1213.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  43. Kelly says:

    Hello

    I had my hearing the ve was there said i can’t go back to past work. He said that 2 jobs available that i can do 20000 In my state w,o public interaction, but hypothetical NO work available based on my needs . So nervous on process i received disability pay from work as bonus pay vacation pay i worked a total of 9 months from 2009 thru 2013 when my employer let me go due to indefinite medical issues. How due they determine disability pay from hourly income. I turned in all dates out on medical leaves to judge via my atty mention unsuccessful work attempts can you explain to me

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kelly,

      Sometimes the Social Security Administration (SSA) will disregard work that was substantial gainful activity (earnings of $1,070 or more monthly) that you performed for a short period of time and stopped because of your disability. A short period of time means less than three months and sometimes between three and six months. If your nine months of work over a period of four years was scattered out in increments of six months or less each and you stopped because of the same medical or psychiatric condition each time, the periods of work could be considered unsuccessful work attempts. If so, they will not have a negative effect on your disability claim.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  44. Kelly says:

    Hello 5 days no answer is this open forum??

  45. Grace says:

    hello

    My sister began having panic attacks as early as 2004 and they have progressively worsened to the point she has been hospitalized several times She also has polar disorder, hypertension, agophobia and vertigo. The ALJ denied her and and recently the Appeals council remanded her case back to the ALJ….During the hearing with the ALJ he stated that she could do waitressing… Big step down from being an executive at her former job. She has legal consultation through her long termed disability insurance carrier. The family relocated her over 600 miles from where she lived… If she has to go before a judge again, will she have to go back to where she used to live

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Grace,

      Be sure that the Appeals Council and the Hearing office are notified in writing of her new address. In the notification, request that the hearing be held in her new geographic area. They may move the hearing location or suggest a teleconferencing hearing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Kent says:

        Kay,
        I was denied at the ALJ level in the Oklahoma City area. On appeal it was remanded back to the ALJ. During the time my wife was activated by the Army and we moved to San Antonio, Tx. My attorney filed for my remand to be moved to San Antonio. It was approved and a new court date was set in San Antonio. My attorney was also allowed to continue to handle my case. He was paid by the SSA for expenses incurred for travel to San Antonio.

        My hearing took about 5 minutes because the doctors hired by the SSA to help the judge made my case for me in the hearing. I just received my approval letter. My case took 3 1/2 years but my attorney was clear from the beginning it would take years. My advice to anyone is to be patient and not take out your frustration on your attorney or the SS office workers. They will be less inclined to help you when you need it most.

  46. Tam says:

    Hello, I am curious, I have a re-hearing coming up on 4/30/14, it will be my third and final attempt to obtain my benefits, this dates back to 2004/5. Back then the first ALJ turned me down because he claimed I was not credible, afterwards I discovered that the first attorney had lied to me extensively, and had not obtained all of my medical records. I’m not talking about a few pages here, but a file as thick as about half of the phone book of your average large city.

    My question is can we petition the ALJ(who BTW was that first ALJ who turned me down)to reopen the first case due to this significant development? Thank you very much. Tam….

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tam,

      What you suggest might be possible. There are instances in which judges reopen prior claims when new evidence comes up in a current claim. I suggest that you discuss this with your current attorney.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  47. brittany says:

    Hello, my husband went to the ALJ on October 8th, 2013. He got the unfavorable decision letter in December and his representative (binder & binder) said they would appeal the case for him. They didn’t explain much so I looked into it myself and found that his case will be going to the appeals council. I know the appeals council decision can take up to 2 years, but my question is, if they decide to send him back to court, how long will it take for a court date? I’m aware that to get a hearing date with the ALJ usually takes about a year, so will it be another year to get a court date? Or will they send him back immediately? thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brittany,

      Remanded claims usually get a second hearing date faster than new hearings, but it is still likely to be a few months after the remand.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  48. Brian says:

    Hi,
    So I had a hearing in the middle of November last year. The Alj sent me to see his dr. ( I suffer from degeneret disc desies). I recieved a copy of their dr reports. That’s 3 Drs that said I can’t stand of sit for longer than 10 min, and that I couldn’t lift anything over 5 pounds, basically I can’t work anymore, even after surgery. So my question is why after even the states dr said I can’t work, would they want a sublamental hearing? Is this good or bad? Binder and binder ( my reps) don’t know anything.

    Thanks
    Brian.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brian,

      Apparently, the judge has set up a supplemental hearing because, after getting the exam reports, he or she wants to ask you additional questions.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  49. tracy says:

    Writing on bejI was just informed that my ssd was denied after the hearing and I should have the letter in the next few day. My atty told me prior to the hearing that my case was so strong that she could win it hands down without me even showing up. I was hit by a drunk driver 16 years ago. I can no longer walk without a walker, I have acute chronic pain for which a pain pump was implanted in my abdomen 2 years ago and just like a heart pacemaker will have to be replace every 3 years. I also have failed back syndrome, fibromyalgia, acute myocitis ossification, chronic fatigue, severe PTSD, severe depression, arthritis borderline narcoplepsy, degenerative disc and degenerative joint disease, debilitating head aches, loss of range of montion in both shoulders, carpal tunnel complication from repair in the left hand, asthma, severe/acute anxiety to the point of being unable to leave the house. just to name a few. at the hearing, the judge didn’t ask how my every day life was affected. she only concentrated on my work history and education. I went to school 3 years but don’t even have enough credits to consider me a freshman. I thought I was suppose to answer the question honeslty but she refused to let me explain why I didn’t have the credits of a junior and told them to put down I was a junior which is a lie. when I filled out the initial app. I did drive up to 1/8 of a mile occasionally but have not driven in years. I am in therapy twice a week and the rfc form clearly states I mentally cannot handle any type of stress, sudden change etc… I was a medical secretary, and I am on 15 different medications which make me sick, tired, loose my balance etc.. I cannot pick any thing up or bend over but the judge at the hearing listened to none of it and the VE said I could do all the jobs I have done prior even though all of my drs say differently. I will be 50 this year and will be having surgery every few years the rest of my life. If the recon procedure is more than 90 percent denied why go through it. what else can be done. and how can a judge honestly and under oath say that only 11 percent of all the cases she sees every year are truly disable. I even had a congressional inquiry into mine and my judge was rude disrespectful and as she asked no health question had made her mind up prior. I get no help from the state and I am fixing to be homeless . the judge didn’t even understand that the morphine is administered through a catheter nailed to my spine. what do I do. Can I reapply and forgo the recon as I hear it is a complete waste of time. I cannot even write long papers, applications etc required bb ss or anybody else and must have a family member do so as a have no focus and fall asleep

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tracy,

      I recommend that you ask your attorney to file the next level of appeal and as part of the appeal to have your attorney present what you have told me–that you did not have a chance to correct misconceptions about your health and education. The next level of appeal is an Appeals Council review. If the judge did not follow appropriate procedures, your claim will be remanded for another hearing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  50. Tonya says:

    My daughter had a hearing back in 2009 they denied her. I got a letter in the mail stating appeal counsel oped her case back up. We had two hearing 22nd of oct and the 6 of feb. What do you think

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tonya,

      I cannot predict the outcome of the appeal, but you do know that the claim is being carefully examined.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  51. Kim says:

    I had my alj hearing in Nov. 2013. My attorney was absolutely positive that I would get a favorable result. I did not. I have gotten the audio of the hearing and in it there is nothing that was not positive in what the judge said about me getting a favorable decision. I also have 2 of my doctors with supportive letters as well as my chiropractor. In her written decision she states that she agrees my conditions are severe (Crohn’s and arthritis related to the Crohn’s) yet goes on to come up with a few very, very flimsy reasons to deny my such as I didn’t mention my Crohn’s when I was at urgent care for an ear infection, and discounts all the doctors opinions saying they are going on just what I tell them when in fact my conditions are very well documented in my medical records. I decided to not go with my original disability representatives as they are not official lawyers but social security disability business. I signed with a law firm and they talked a really good game, but since the initial contact it has been awful. I found out they filed my appeal without having any comments from me. They only put one sentence as to the reason why I wanted an appeal, basically “the judge didn’t take all evidence in account as a whole”. They say they don’t / shouldn’t do anything else and just wait to hear from the appeals council. Everything I have read seem to contradict that. It seems that I should have things (a letter) submitted to say what I think was wrong. Am I correct? At this stage can I change and go with a different attorney? Would anyone be willing to step in at this stage? Thank you for any and all advice you can offer.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kim,

      Your attorney has presented the fundamental argument for why the Appeals Council should either overrule the hearing decision or remand your claim for a second hearing. I believe that a short additional statement of what the judge overlooked would be helpful. I suggest that you ask why they are advising against pointing out where the judge when wrong. If you hired the law firm after the hearing, rather than before, perhaps the attorney would have to spend substantial time to write a good argument. On the other hand, perhaps it is a better strategy to stick with the general objection to the ruling so that the Council will look at all the evidence and not just parts that you or the attorney point out and perhaps miss other important elements. Perhaps the attorney would help your comfort level by telling explaining their strategy including why you shouldn’t submit more information. An aside: it can take up to two years to have your appeal reviewed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Kim says:

        Hi Kay,

        I did ask and they said that appeals council doesn’t want to be told what they should look at/do just like lawyers don’t like to be told. Basically they didn’t like that I was questioning it. I have lost faith in them. Can I change to a different lawyer at this point?

        Thanks again!

        Kim

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Kim,

          I suggest that you look at your contract with your current attorney. It should tell you whether you have the option to change. However, before you take that action, it might be wise to ask the firm you are thinking about switching to whether they agree with your current attorney. If they do, you will know you are getting good advice.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  52. Jenny says:

    I have a quick question. my husband was hurt on the job in 2009, partially paralyzed and also diagnosed with six different psychological disorders. he had surgeries, therapies, etc. his initial denial was sent to appeals in 2012 and was sent back last fall for demand. he has had to live with me and the children for the last three years or be homeless . He no longer has insurance to seek psychological or physical therapy or much needed medication. most of his day is in bed. he can’t provide his court ordered support or medical insurance for the kids. our son had an emotional breakdown due to the constant caos and state his father puts this house in. he threatened suicide he no longer has insurance because his dads attorney won’t write a letter to substantiate his inability to provide to our local dhhr. now his therapist will see him and Bill his father thanks to my court order . wehis man cannot continue without meds and physical and psy care. it was beyond evident in his claim. how much linger until his demand hearing? he. I am the ex wife and and myself and his children can testify to hisdis abilities. he randomly has bowel movements has to wear a diaper falls face first on flat pavement the depression and other disorders has impacted my children on levels that break my heart and his attorneyjust keeps telling him for last six weeks he’s filing for an emergency hearing.??????? He can’t sit or stand just lay . he has no feeling mostly below waist and left arm. So is his attorney truly filing for an emergency hearing instead of waiting for second hearing post the demand or is he lying?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Der Jenny,

      There is a procedure to apply for an emergency expediting of a Social Security or SSI hearing, so it is likely that his attorney has done that.

      In the meantime, I wonder if your ex-husband doesn’t need to be living in an assisted-living facility. I suggest that you talk with his doctor about the level of physical problems he has and see if the doctor will write a referral for assisted living. Then contact the local health and human services office to see if you can get him on Medicaid to move him into an assisted living facility with Medicaid paying the bill. The next step is to find an assisted living facility that has rooms available for Medicaid residents. Not all facilities accept Medicaid payment rates and those that do usually have a limited number of Medicaid resident spots open.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Jenny says:

        He doesn’t have insurance and Medicaid refuses to cover him even after his doctor subtitled all paperwork. They covered him for six months then took it away. He hasn’t been able to receive ANY. medical care, physical or psychological for over a year. We can’t afford it. with the added expenses. His attorney won’t return his calls. either . He called again yesterday and the Secretary said she wasn’t aware of where his case stood. In the meantime I have a child who wants to die one who is severely depressed and a man who thinks Wed all be better off If he died. I feel so helpless. What does one do? He is clearly eligible for emergency hearing. But NO ONE will give answers. its been five months now. What advice can you give or happy thoughts? Were exhausted. Thank you.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Jenny,

          I suggest calling the hearing office and ask whether they have received and logged in the hearing as an emergency or expedited hearing. Then ask typically how long a person waits to get a hearing date for an expedited hearing. (The wait for a regular hearing is typically a year or more.) Otherwise, to all of you, just hang in there. You’ve gotten this far. You can make it the rest of the way.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  53. stardusty says:

    I’m currently on ssd due to multiple sclerosis and depression. I’ve been on social security for about 7 years and I am currently under review. (Paperwork part) and my question has to do with pregnancy. My husband recently had testicular cancer and had it removed, we were talking about having 1 more child, and a month after his cancer removal I had an MS attack resulting in new lesions. When the ss person called she said she spoke to my Dr who said I was off my ms drugs since we were planning. Then I told her we weren’t planning anymore since the attack. Now there’s a possibility of pregnancy. Can a new pregnancy affect my disability? I’m not sure if I am but I am curious if a new pregnancy during the review process effects my continuing of benefits.? I was also diagnosed with 3 new foot conditions including a prescription for a cane yesterday. I have a great support system as well. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Amanda,

      Being pregnant in and of itself does not affect whether you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. That said, if trying to get pregnant is an indication that you are well enough to care for a child, it could also be a sign that you are well enough to work. Social Security may consider that possibility along with all the rest of the information in your medical file in determining whether all the information available supports that you continue to be disabled.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  54. Steve says:

    From my 5-year SSDI ordeal your answers are better than all of the other advisors that I have found. Thanks for your efforts.
    I’m a 62 year old male, I have a lawyer, I have RLS, hypertension, cervical DDD, constant neck pain, shoulder limitations, depression that borderlines clinical depression. I cry very easily which is not only embarrassing for me it also makes people very uncomfortable. I weeped at both of my hearings. I have hundreds of pages of medical records, some of the medical procedures helped some didn’t. I take pain meds but not excessively. I have current work restrictions; can’t stand more than 4 hours, can’t sit more than 4 hours. The appeals council remanded my case for a 2nd opinion because the judge ignored my work restrictions. After the first ALJ denial I attempted working (at the Apple store) for 6 months but had to quit because of my limitations and weeping. During my work attempt I had several written warnings for absenteeism and leaving my shift early due to overwhelming pain. The judge was ordered to get a VE opinion but that didn’t happen at the hearing so I suppose the VE will read the transcripts. It’s been 90 days since the 2nd hearing. What and when would you expect the outcome to be? Better than 50/50?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      I am unable to predict the outcome of your second hearing.

      As far as the impact of your work goes, depending on when your six months of work above the Substantial Gainful Activity level occurred, the work could be treated as an unsuccessful work attempt or as a trial work period followed by an extended period of disability. That is to say, the work might not keep you from being approved.

      If you have not already given the judge the documentation about being written up for excessive absenteeism and early departures, you should get it to the judge right away. Also, if you had any performance counseling about crying on the job (advice to get counseling, for example), you should try to get a copy of those notes from your personnel file or a statement from your employer to submit to the judge.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  55. Steve says:

    PS- I worked at Apple for 14 months. Six consecutive months was above the SGA level. All other months were either in training or below the SGA. That might be an issue but wouldn’t they have looked at that right away and gave me a quick denial?

  56. Collette Thelen says:

    Hello, I am a 37 year old woman that I’ve been dealing with back problems for over 10 years. I had my first surgery in September 2007 which was a laminectomy and discectomy. Before and after that surgery I was also receiving steroid injections, and going through physical therapy. In February of 2010, I had a spinal fusion at the same level of my laminectomy and discectomy, which is L5/S1. The last date I worked was January 15th 2010 which was approximately 1 month prior to my fusion. Again through all of this time I had been receiving steroid injections and some sort of physical therapy. I filed my original appeal on my own in April 2010, got denied, then hired a lawyer. My hearing date came in August 2011. In September I received an unfavorable decision from the ALJ. One of the reasons for his denial was that he put more weight of the the medical portion of my claim on the Social Security Doctor that I never saw, and did not factor in the medical opinions and subjective findings of my treating physician for the past 15 years, my neurologist and neurosurgeon since 2006 (he performed both surgeries) and my chiropractor since 2008. I know that they don’t generally accept medical opinions from chiropractors, however his opinion supported the medical facts from my treating physician and my neurosurgeon. Now, my back problems are the major portion of my case, however I have been diagnosed with depression, severe anxiety, IBS, and chronic migraines. Since 2007, I have also been on heavy duty pain medications, muscle relaxers and sedatives, such as Norco, Morphine, Oxycontin, Neurontin, Flexeril , Valium, Klonopin, and Ambien because I have trouble sleeping because I am not able to get comfortable enough to be able to sleep… and I am NOT getting any better. In addition to all of the subjective findings, the medical opinions and medical records going back 10 years, how am I expected to work, let alone drive, when I am on so many medications? that was not part of his decision either. My lawyer has appealed my case to the Appeals Council in November 2013 and like everyone that has posted here, I, too, am frustrated with waiting. One thing that I am fortunate to have is medical insurance which covers some of the things I need but sometimes it doesn’t. I also have a one income household because my husband works full time and we have a 17 yr old son. (He is technically my stepson, which is a description I detest because I’ve been in his life since he was 10, and his biological mother lives out of state, but they do have a very good relationship.) After all of that, my question is this: Since the ALJ did not factor my treating physicians medical opinions and subjective findings in his decision, among many other things that do not make sense to me, do I have a good shot at remand? Or being rewarded benefits at some point? Thank you so much for your time!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Collette,

      If the Appeals Council agrees with you that insufficient consideration was given to some of the documentation, evidence, or testimony and that omission affected the decision, the Appeals Council will remand your case for another hearing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  57. Collette Thelen says:

    CORRECTION: my hearing date was August 2013, not August 2011 as I previously mentioned in my former question.

  58. Kimberly Hudson says:

    Hello. I had an hearing with an ALJ on January 31, 2014. He ordered an consultative exam that was scheduled for February 24. I called on March 25 to check my status and was told that my case was sent back to my local office. When called the local office , I was old that my case was waiting to be reviewed and needed signatures from the judge. I called again on Marc 26 to get more details because when I called the first time I was distracted. I tend to forget details and I wanted to write it down. But this time the local office informed me that an ODAR office in Virginia will send me a decision notice..Finally I called an office in Virginia and was told I was given misinformation and my case is at my local office awaiting a decision letter to be sent out. I’m so confused. I don’t have a lawyer because I was too embarrassed to talk about my symptoms. What happens when a case is sent back to the local office after an appeal? Why would an ODAR office in Virginia send a decision letter? I’m located in Michigan.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kimberly,

      This is confusing. I will give you some general information that might help. First, hearing decision letters regarding medical approval or denial are issued by the judge and come from the hearing office, not the local Social Security office. Second, the Appeal Council part of ODAR, which serves the whole country and is located in Virginia does review some hearing cases of their own accord. This review would occur before the judge’s decision letter was sent out. Your claim could have selected for such a review. It is possible that the ODAR office meant your local hearing office when they said local office, not local Social Security office. I suggest calling the hearings office in your state and ask specifically if the judge’s decision was sent to the Appeals Council for review and, if so, whether they have it back to issue a decision letter.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  59. Linda says:

    Kay, please tell me what you think of my situation. I had a hearing in March and was turned down. I plan to appeal it to the Appeals Council. I’m hoping I have a good chance because of something that was incorrect in the decision the judge sent me. She said during the hearing I said something about “digging in the dirt.” This is not true.

    I have ordered an audio copy of the hearing that the ODAR office has.

    If the recording shows I’m telling the truth what do you think the Appeals Council will make of it? Will this mistake on the judge’s part be considered serious?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Linda,

      It is hard to say how the Appeals Council will regard the error. You are doing the right thing in looking closely at the rationale used for the hearing decision. If you think the judge gave weight to “digging in the dirt” in terms of assessing it as an indicator of your capacties, then it might make a difference. Be sure not to miss the appeal deadline, and you might want to check with a knowledgeable attorney on how to present your appeal.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  60. May beasley says:

    Hi I had a hearing in November 2013 and was denied in January 2014. My lawyer requested a review from the appeals council in march 2014. On April 3 2014 my lawyer called me to come to his office and sign some paper work because the appeals council was expediting my case. Is that a good sign?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear May,

      It is good that your appeal is being expedited. It means that you will either get a decision from the Appeals Council or your claim will be remanded for a second hearing faster than it would otherwise have been handled.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  61. May beasley says:

    Thanks kay and how much longer do you think I have to wait knowing that my claim is being expedited

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear May,

      I can’t say how long it will take the Appeals Council to review your expedited appeal. It will depend on how many other expedited cases came in before yours.

      Best regards,

      Kay

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