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How long will I wait to get a Social Security disability hearing decision and what should I do while I wait?

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Learn how long you will wait for a Social Security Disability hearing date and a decision, and what you can do to help your appeal while you wait.

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Waiting for a Disability Hearing Date and Decision

A Social Security hearing with an Administrative Law Judge is the second level of appeal. You can request a hearing if your reconsideration has been denied or only partially approved. Your request for hearing will be processed by the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, commonly called the hearing office.
The Social Security Administration said that the average number of days it took to process a request for hearing in 2011 was 491. That’s seventy weeks or sixteen and a half months. A relatively small part of that time occurs after the hearing, when the Administrative Law Judge writes up his decision. How long it takes to get a hearing date and/or how long it takes the judge to render a decision after the hearing depends on the number of hearings being filed at that time and the complexity of your own claim. If the judge wants additional medical information, either before or after the hearing, it can lengthen processing time.

Supporting Your Disability Appeal While Waiting

While you are waiting for your hearing to be held, there are a few things you can do to help your claim: Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice, including keeping requested appointments and filling your prescriptions on time. Advise your doctors that you have filed a hearing. If you have changes in your health, or you have a vocational assessment or new medical testing, tell your attorney or the hearing office right away. Also report any changes in your work activity or address.

If you do not already have professional representation, don’t wait till the last minute to hire an lawyer who is experienced with Social Security Disability law and disability hearings. Your attorney can start work on gathering everything needed for your hearing as soon as it is filed. For information about what happens at a Social Security hearing, please see our article “What Is a Social Security Disability Hearing and What Can I Expect When I Request a Disability Hearing?” For additional information on the value of having a lawyer for your Social Security Disability hearing, see “How Can a Social Security Disability Lawyer Help Me Get Social Security Benefits?”

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375 Comments

  1. Phillip R says:

    Hi there, I was denied for SSDI. and got a Disability Attorney handling my case.
    I don’t want to bother my case manager at the law firm. But would like to keep up dated if possible. When I last spoke to her she said it can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months more or less for a hearing/appointment to be made.

    Is there a way to go online & see where I am in the process?

    • Bonnie says:

      Hi my hearing wasn’t until 14 months after I applied.

      • David says:

        How long did it take to get the decision? My hearing was April 30, 2014….my lawyer said I won. I had a video hearing out of New Mexico, but I’m in Utah. Every time I call the national number to get an up-date, they tell me my case is still in “post.” I know I won, but I don’t understand why it’s taking so long.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear David,

          I suggest calling the hearing office itself. They can tell you whether the judge has formally made the decision and your appeal is in letter writing or it is still waiting on the judge. Most letters of decision of formal decision take sixty days or longer.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • David says:

            My hearing was 04.30.14….I talked to the actual hearing office in New Mexico and the guy said they are seriously understaffed…..this is true from what I’ve been reading. They have 4 decision writers and 11 judges…. I’m currently at 451 days since I requested a hearing. It took exactly 13 months to get the hearing….Thank God I knew I won at the hearing….I won on the grids…202.06….thanks for responding….I’ll never forget how difficult it is to go through this process.

          • Elisca Cutrer says:

            Hi I was just told my sons case status was in “final writing” ,is this different than regular writing? Thanks for your help.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Elisca,

            I would say that “final writing” means that the letter writing phase is close to being completed.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Melinda says:

          Dear David,

          Have you heard anything on you’re case?
          We also lives in Utah and did the video conference in New Mexico. The Judge basically said we won and he needed to figure how far back to go for the retro payments. My Husband is a disabled veteran who is paid 100%, seen as unemployable with a 70% service connected disability rating. We are still waiting after 4 weeks.
          I hope things are going better for you.

    • keith says:

      Hi I had a hearing with the alj may 21- 2014. I called my local social security office and they said it is at the decision writers. Can someone please tell me what this step is. And how much longer thanks keith

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Keith,

        The judge has made a decision and now the letter writing department is preparing the letter. When it has been completed, it will go back to the judge for review and signature. Then the decision will be mailed out to you. It can take a couple weeks to a couple of months for the letter to be written and signed.

        Sincerely,

        Kay

        • laura says:

          hi i was just wanting to know something i was denied twice now this is my third hearing and i went in july to my hearing and havent heard anything from my attorney or the social security department im getting discouraged i have digenerative disc desease and carpal tunnel and a dislocated shoulder which i havent have any type of surgery and im taking meds do i stand a chance of recieving any benefits i also have vertigo
          can someone give me any feed back i live in the state of california

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Laura,

            I am unable to predict whether you will be approved. The guideline for receiving a hearing decision is sixty days, but it often takes longer. You can call the hearing office to see whether a decision has been made and the appeal has moved to the letter writing department.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

    • Destiny says:

      Hi , I just had my hearing in August. The judge said to keep in touch with my attorney and that he would have a decision within 30 days. Its only been 2 weeks and my attorney says its in “pending decision writing” what does this mean to you? Do u think he made a decision and its waiting to be written? Why would he state ill know by 30 days? Thx

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Destiny,

        The judge was just giving an time estimate for processing a decision. You are right a decision has been made and a letter is being written up.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Destiny says:

          Thanks kay its now being written as of last Monday. Im keeping fingers crossed.

          • Destiny says:

            Hi Kay ! Well 30 days gone and passed so much for that lol. We are into October now and I called they said it was editing- and to check back next week. Will they mail it then? Also at what point can attorney see the result of case- through the internet? When its finally mailed out? Are they able to access an answer? Thanks much!

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Destiny,

            The decision will be posted to the computer when it is finalized at the time the letter is ready to be sent, so the attorney could theoretically check the Internet and find out the decision a couple days before the letter arrives.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Destiny says:

            Thx Kay for all your info. Your very nice to help us all. I didnt know that my attorney could access the decision through some online thing..she says she doesn’t like to count on the decision until its mailed out due to times that they have taken back the issuance and put it back into writing etc. And until its actually mailed she feels more comfy with what the internet states. So she wont indicate any information to me until there is movement from editing till mailed. Sigh..this waiting for all is very hard. So I feel for all. I think its important for others to learn any information we all find out – such as this…incase others were curious like I am. Do you agree with what my attorney is saying. Have you had experience with knowing a decision before its actually sent? Hope to hear your thoughts!

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Destiny,

            Your attorney is correct. The decision is not final until you receive a written notice.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Destiny says:

            Also curious for those that lost the 8 gigit pin number that ssa gives u when u file- is there any way to retrieve this info?? Id like to check online but since I have lost the number I cant check it.any info for us in this situation? Thx in advance ! DES

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Destiny,

            Call Social Security’s information line, 800-772-1213, to get the needed information and at the same time ask if there is anyway to get a new PIN.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

    • Jessie says:

      I have been trying to get on disability for three years now. Its been five months now since my hearing. I’m 23 and have severe epilepsy. The judge told me at the hearing that she knew I wouldn’t be able to hold a job. Why do you think it has taken so long, do you think its because I’m so young.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Jessie,

        It sounds as if the judge was telling you that your claim would be approved, although you can’t be sure until you get the written decision. Heavy workloads can delay rendering the decision on paper and having the letter written up and sent out. I suggest you call the hearing office and inquire where your appeal is in the process.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  2. mary salter says:

    I need to know what my decision was

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mary,

      This forum can provide knowledgeable information about Social Security Disability, but I do not have access to your Social Security records. You can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1010 or, if you applied online, to check the status of your claim online.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Eric says:

        That number is incorrect. Its a chat line.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Eric,

          The two numbers I recommend are 1-800-772-1213 for Social Security’s national call center and 1-888-393-1010 for Disability Advisor’s attorney contact line. If another number was posted, I apologize for the typographical error.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • Bonnie says:

            Kay all due respect, but you had the numbers wrong above. You had the wrong four digits with the wrong prefix 1-800-772-1010 see? Son this number may indeed be a chat number lol

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Bonnie,

            Thanks for pointing out the error. The correct number for Social Security is 1-800-772-1213.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

      • Rene says:

        The number to check your claim is 1-800-772-1213 Social Security Administration.

  3. melody says:

    I had a hearing September 19 2013 and still no answer. My question is at my hearing the VE said i could work at a certain job with 1400 jobs available but on 20 in Nc. Then all other scenarios where no jobs with my limitations. I called on December thr 4 2013 and was told then that the judge still hadn’t made a decision and it was still on her desk. Dors the government shutting down have anything with why it has been almost 90 days with no decision?? At the end she did ask for futher medical records and a prescription?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Melody,

      The government shutdown did put a stress on all resources. It is possible that they are still catching up. However, if they have asked for more information, do get it to them as soon as possible.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  4. melody says:

    Thamk you. I did semd in all that was asked through my lawyer. Just didn’t know why the judge still hasn’t madr a decision and with the VE saying i could do light work but there were only 20 jobs in that field will that have a denial decision?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Melody,

      The judge will have to make a decision regarding whether there is an adequate labor market (not job vacancies, but jobs that exist). If he determines there is, your claim may be denied. If he determines that there is not an adequate labor market, then your claim could be approved. How long it takes to get a decision depends on the judge’s workload and can be unpredictable, even though a decision is supposed to be made within sixty days.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  5. Aida says:

    I had a hearing on September 12,2013 and still haven’t heard anything does anybody know how long it take for a decision ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Aida,

      The general guideline is that judges will make their decisions within sixty days of the hearing; however, it sometimes takes longer. I suggest calling the hearing office and asking whether a decision has been made. If it has then your claim may be in the letter wriiting department and the hearing office may be able to give you some kind of an estimate when it will be mailed to you. (Note: They will not tell you the decision verbally.)

      Best regards,

      Kay

    • Melissa says:

      Is it really taking that long it get a decision from your heering? I thought it only took about 4 to 6 weeks? Hope you hear soon.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Melissa,

        The guideline given is within sixty days, but some appeal decisions are taking longer.

        Sincerely,

        Kay

        • starlene worthy says:

          Hi I recently had my hearing on may 5 2014 with the ALJ judge an I haven’t heard anything yet. My diagnosis are ddd disc bulge T5-S1 spinal stenosis muscle spasm in my back I also have leg an arm pain. My right leg has numbness also an my doctor has placed me on a cane for leg pain an imbalance.iI wondering will the judge rule in my favor??

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Starlene,

            Unfortunately, I cannot predict whether you will be approved. If you are age fifty or over, you have to be unable to perform work you have done in the past. If you are under age fifty, you must be disabled for all occupations you could otherwise perform.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

  6. Denisha Hardin says:

    Hello, I had my hearing in August 2013, then I was sent to a Doctor in October, I called and they said a decision has been made last month. They stated my case went to a writer, and is now on the judge’s desk. What are my chances for favorable or how long till something is sent out? I’m very nervous!!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Denisha,

      I cannot predict whether your claim has been approved or denied, but you should receive a decision fairly soon. The letter has been prepared and is just waiting for the judge to review it to be sure everything in it is correct before it is sent out.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  7. steve blue says:

    i had my hearing on nov. 15 2013 and as of feb 5 no answer..but i called last week and was told its “being written” and at my hearing the VE agreed with my lawyer that i am disabled…how long does the “being written” process take before i recieve a ruling?? and is the ALJ bound to the expert testimony of the VE ??…thank you :)

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      The vocational expert’s (VE’s) opinion was offered in response to the judge asking whether you could perform any occupations given the limitations you are claiming. The judge must decide two things: Do you really have those limitations and if so is there work you can do? If the judge finds that your claimed limitations are supported, then you are likely to be approved because of the VE’s opinion.

      If your appeal is in the writing department, the judge has made the decision. It can take a couple weeks or more for the the very detailed letter to be written.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  8. Tracy says:

    Hi I’ve been waiting a year today for my alj hearing do anybody know about how much longer it will be to get a hearing

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tracy,

      It is not uncommon to wait a year or more for a hearing date. You might check with the hearing office to see if they can give you an estimate of how much longer you will wait, though it is likely they cannot.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

    • estella says:

      In may or june you should get a hearing date I think that’s when all the hearing.. because my daughter was then and mines two..

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Estella (and Tracy, to whom Estella addressed her comment),

        Hearings are held year around, not just in certain months of the year.

        Sincerely,

        Kay

    • Cliff says:

      I contacted my Senator and it only took me 2 months to get a hearing which I won. It helps to be a veteran. Elected officials love vets.

  9. chibi says:

    What if went threw all the process waiting on a hearing then get a letter saying mite have a favorable decision on my behalf how long is the typical wait on this judgement?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chibi,

      If the letter from the judge says it is a favorable decision (not that it might be), then it means that the judge made a decision based on the information in your claim file without need for a hearing. If that is the case, your Social Security office will take the actions needed to start payment, which can take sixty days or longer.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Nicoler says:

        HI I HAD A HEARING JULY 8 for my eyesight I am legally blind 20/200 in my right and no vision in my left eye alj sent me to a CE Dr sept 3 the CE Dr gave the same vision in both eyes now the judge wants a supplemental hearing and my case is still pending why would I have to have a supplemental hearing if my impairment meets the requirements

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Nicoler,

          I do not know why the judge has scheduled a second hearing. If you have representation, discuss this with your attorney.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Nicoler says:

            I do not have a attorney I am still waiting on a supplemental hearing my case worker told me the supplemental hearing is for the Dr reports for the CE exam and it is ready to be schedule

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Nicoler,

            I am glad that you received an answer from your case worker.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  10. chibi says:

    Without having a hearing.

  11. chibi says:

    O okay thank you. Its been only 2 months was worried. They’d say okay you’ve waited this long now wait longer for your hearing court date. But thank you so much for your time in answering my question.

  12. Kimberly Martin says:

    I first filed for Disability on my own May 2012, Denied… I hired an attorney in October or November 2012 filed an appeal denied. Refiled, still waiting on hearing date as of January 2013. I will be so glad to have a hearing date…

  13. Danielle Lander says:

    I got a letter stating that I will get a hearing with the AJL. My question is if there is new medical information regarding my health can I get approved for ssd while still waiting for a hearing?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Danielle,

      Now that you have requested a hearing, the decision will be made by the administrative law judge. You can submit the new information before the hearing date, but the judge may still want a hearing to hear your testimony and possibly that of an expert vocational witness. That said, occasionally an approval decision will be rendered “on the [written] record” before the hearing date, eliminating the need for a hearing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  14. Dan P. says:

    I had my Hearing in May of 2013 and in November I call my lawyer asking the status and they said its in decision writing. Is now March and no letter and no update that is different. Is this normal for. Decision to take almost a year. I understand the shut down held up some cases but what could take so long? Is this normal. I had 4 doctors state I can not work. I am concerned. Should I be?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dan,

      I do not know why each step is taking as long as it is except that that particular hearing office may have a larger-than-average backlog. (Backlogs are not caused only by the shutdown but also due to long-term understaffing related to the national budget.) However, given that the appeal is in writing, the decision has been made. Now it appears to be stalled in the department that prepares the very detailed, many-page letter.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  15. tangela says:

    I called the hearing office 2weeks ago and was told a desision had been made but was waiting to be signed. I was wondering how long it would take to finally find out something I had my hearing Nov. 13 2013.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tangela,

      The information that you received indicates that your hearing decision is in the final step for completion. It is not possible to predict how long it will take. The judge reviews the letter that has been prepared to be sure everything in it is correct and then signs off on it. If there is an error, it will be sent back to the writing department.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  16. darren says:

    Hi Kate i had on January the 16th, now I’m just waiting for the judge decision I hope everything went right, she asked me the reason why that I couldn’t work and I told her the reason was because I had of the righteous of my wrist high blood pressure and pans out my back, so the guy that was in there that was telling her that I can work different job she asked me I told her that I can work simply job and she asked me can I work and I said no because of the pain and my wrist, she asked me about my work history and that was it it was about 15 minutes and then everything was over she never asked me about my skull background just my work history and that was it so I hope everything went okay what is your input on this can you please give me input on this thank you very much. sincerely Darren Jeter

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Darren,

      I cannot predict whether you will be approved or not. However, the judge will know what the physical and mental demands of and skills required for your past occupations. She will get the information from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, which is an enormous data base of information about nearly all the occupations in the United States. The judge will evaluate whether the information you provided supports the limitations you say you have. She will then judge whether those limitations would prohibit your working in the jobs suggested by the vocational expert.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  17. darren says:

    Daer, Ms Kay i had a hearing on Jan 16 2014 and i know they it can take up to 60 days or longer, but i call monday just past and the gentleman that answer the phone ask For all my info i gave it to him, then he asked what was my question for him today to check the status on my hearing decision,so he look and said should be getting something in a couple of weeks but I forgot to give them my account information, so when I call back today she looked it up and said there’s nothing yet so my question is why earlier this week I called and somebody said one thing and then today somebody says something else can you help me please. Thank you darren

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Darren,

      I can’t explain why you were told that you would get a decision in a couple of weeks. I think he may have been speaking loosely. The representative in the local office would not have any way of really knowing how long it will take for the hearing decision. If you follow up on it again, I suggest calling the hearing office, rather than the Social Security office. Once the appeal is in the letter writing department, you will know that a decision has been made and that things are progressing toward your being notified, but even then the time frame for receiving the letter isn’t predictable.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  18. Karen Monique Shell says:

    Hi my name is Karen I had a disability hearing on February 7 2014 the decision was made march 5 2013. During the hearing the vocational expert. said twice no there isn’t any jobs for me at this time being disabled does that mean that my clay will be approved this is my second hearing. If your lawyer represented you do they know the out come of your decion

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Karen,

      If the judge believes the evidence supports the limitations that the vocational expert was considering when saying that he or she could not identify jobs you could perform, then your claim likely will be approved. Your attorney will be notified of the hearing decision at the same time as you are. It can take a few weeks for the letter to be written and reviewed before it is sent to you and the attorney.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  19. Latrice says:

    Hi Kay,
    I had my hearing on January 7th 2014. I called the office a couple of times in the past few weeks. The first few times I called I was advised my case was with a Senior Attorney. What exactly does the Senior Attorney do pertaining to my case? Also, I called today and the representative told me a decision was made but it was waiting to be written. From the previous comments I see it can take a couple of weeks however I want to know if I can know anything sooner I t’s h ard waiting for a decision not knowing which directon to go in as far as my life goes, its like I’m stuck waiting for a yes or a no.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Latrice,

      The hearing office will not tell you whether the decision is favorable or unfavorable. You will have to wait for the letter, which can take a month or more after it goes into writing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  20. Aria says:

    I am currently awaiting a hearing with the AJL and completely understand how backed logged they are at the moment. My question is I just sent in new medical records and a letter from my doctor stating that I cannot work at this time. Will they review the new information or do they wait until it gets closer to a hearing?

    Thank you so much in advance.

  21. Janet says:

    What is a “packet” from the Social Security office that it sent out before a hering and what does it mean?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Janet,

      It sounds as if you do not have an attorney to help you with your claim. If you do, I suggest that you confer with your attorney about providing the information in the packet, which may be a list of documents or information to submit before the hearing. If you do not have an attorney, it would be a good idea to get one. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  22. Ann says:

    hi Kay I am so glad to find this on the internet I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, lumbar sacral c6 c7 cervical Paraspinal,dic osteophyte complex, and radiculapathy. I had my hearing in front of a judge in January2014 this is March2014 and they told me that the judge has made a decision and it would be in the mail does this sound like maybe I have a chance of getting approved? worried cause he made a decision so quick

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ann,

      The speed with which the judge made the decision is not an indicator of whether you have been approved or denied. I can’t predict what the decision will be but it sounds as if you will have it before long.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  23. Lenora Parker says:

    DEAR KAY,

    I had a hearing on March 4th and today is March 31st and I called and they told me it was with the decision writer… how long does it stay with them?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lenora,

      Depending on whether there is a backlog, your appeal can be in decision writing from a week or two to more than a month.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  24. Tina McFalls says:

    I first signed up 2/26/12, got denied,hired a lawyer, got denied again . Finally went to ALJ video hearing 11/7/13, the judge requested more info, I called my congressman, they said its still in the decision process, how much longer does this take, it’s 4/3/14. This is very nerve checking day in and day out..I could see if I was trying to get something for free, but I worked very hard and long time, it’s our money why can’t we just get it back. Ps..all hearing was horrible I felt abused after I left..please help, going crazy

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tina,

      I suggest that you ask your attorney to contact the hearing office to find out whether the judge has received the requested information and, if not, what is outstanding. That way, if the judge is waiting for something, you or the attorney can follow up to get it.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  25. juliushelton says:

    hello. I had a hearing Aug 2013. Got Unfavorable decision in Sept. My Lawyer filed the paperwork re:appeal because they had had all the facts wrong and other things that my lawyer wrote and sent to them.How long does this process take? I know along time. Just like to know something, Ive had my lawyer send in new material to show my disability. What office can I call or should I even call I dont want to damage my case. My lawyer just tells me to wait….

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Julius,

      I would follow your lawyer’s advice and just wait. It can take up to two years for a reply and calling will not speed anything up.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  26. Tina McFalls says:

    Thanks Kay, yes they did get everything, lawyer said everybody’s is slow for some reason. Thanks for listening, it helps.. still waiting is horrible, just want to take some stress off myself and my husband, 2 years and 5 months without 2 incomes is hard to do..:((

  27. ron says:

    Has anyone ever had a hearing with a AlJ and there was no VOCATIONAL EXPERT present. What if anything does that mean? ALL replies welcome.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ron,

      Dear Ron,

      You do not say how old you are, what your disability is, or the kinds of work you have done in the past. It is possible that the judge did not think vocational testimony was needed to decide your claim. This could especially be true if you are age fifty or older.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  28. Lynn says:

    Hearing Held July 2012. STILL NO DECISION. Seems here everyone is getting a decision within 60 days. I am going on 2 years. Any suggestions?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lynn,

      Waiting two years for a hearing decision is way outside the norm. Do you have an attorney? If so, I suggest discussing with your attorney what action he or she recommends. If you do not have an attorney and you have not called the hearing office recently, I recommend that you do so to be sure the claim is still pending and that the decision letter has not gone astray. If they say the claim is still pending,I recommend going to a Social Security office and asing to speak to a supervisor to find out if they can somehow callthe attention of the hearing office to the judge’s long delay. If your claim has been denied and you didn’t get a letter, you can try to appeal stating that the date they told you of the denial was your first notice. If you have to appeal, request a copy of the decision letter and try to get an attorney. You might also contact your local congressman as a call from a congressman’s office would call attention to how long the appeal had been pending.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  29. Olivia says:

    Hello,
    I 1st filed for Disability in feb. 2012 and i went straight through a lawyer thinking it wouldn’t take as long compared to getting denied twice and then hiring one, but in my case, it has taken, 2 applications and 2 denials on each and finally 1st of may 2013, i was told i’d be getting a hearing date in the mail. well that took eight months before i had a hearing. my hearing was 4 weeks ago today. i called my lawyer today and she still says she hadn’t heard anything either but what happened at the hearing had never happened to her before. the judge had no questions for me nor did the the Voc. advocate. i don’t know if thats a good thing or not. who can i call to check on the status of my hearing? how much longer do you think i will have to wait and what do you think about the No questions deal?
    Thanks, Jenny

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Olivia,

      The judge having no questions is very unusual. The judge must have read all the records and felt he or she could make a decision from those records; although usually if this happens, there is no hearing. You can call the hearing office and ask the status. They will not tell you the decision, but the will tell you whether a decision is still pending or a decision has been made and the appeal is in letter writing. You might try calling every couple of weeks. It can take two months or longer to receive a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  30. Tim Marquez says:

    I called AJ they said it was being written.How long does that take.I have been waiting since Jan 23 2014 was my hearing date.If anyone can help.Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tim,

      It can take a couple weeks to a month for the letter to be prepared and returned to the judge to review for accuracy. If the letter is correct, it will be mailed out right away. If not, it will go back to writing for correction.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  31. Jennifer says:

    i had my hearing with the alj in jan it will be 90 days this month and still no decision letter does that usually mean a denial im freaking out any advice would b appreciated

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      The length of time you wait for a hearing decision is not an indication of whether your claim will be approved or denied. You can call the hearing office every couple weeks to see where it is in the process.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  32. Claire says:

    I have a couple of questions if you would be so kind as to answer as I have no idea how this process works.

    1. I am currently awaiting a hearing with the AJL, what is the time frame from the time you get a letter stating a hearing has been requested to the time you actually get the hearing?

    2. Does a SSD advocate/lawyer really help with the process or is it something that can be done on your own?

    3. How would I go about finding out if new medical records I sent in to my local appeals/review office actually made it to my file?

    4. Lastly if I go through the hearing process and get denied do I still qualify for SSI or SSDI (I am low income so I am not sure which one you get for that reason)

    Thank you so much for time!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Claire,

      I’ll answer your numbered questions:

      1. It can take a year or more after you request a hearing to get a hearing date.

      2. Some people are successful going to a hearing and representing themselves, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Hearings have certain procedures that have to be followed and points of Social Security law could come up that you would not know to respond to. Therefore, it would be good to have legal representation from an attorney very experienced in Social Security Disability law.

      3. You have the right to request a copy of your entire claim file. If you have an attorney, the attorney will do this.

      4. If you are denied at the hearing, the denial means you are not eligible for either Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because both require you to be disabled as defined by Social Security law. If you are denied at the hearing, you have the right to request an Appeals Council review of the denial. However, the hearing is the best opportunity to make your case.

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

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  33. diana casper says:

    I have had two hearings since 2011 Feb then went through the wait of the furlough when the judge said there is nothing I can do for work dye to my dusablilities accrued at war . I have terminated my attorney for not looking out for my best interests as a one hundred percent disabled veteran making me almost homeless and bills almost shut off I took matters into my own hands . My status is critical and they are aware and hav
    e my military status discharge papers and Veterans percentage rating along with my va file. They marked it critical since march 29 2014 how long do I have to wait for an answer and back pay once they approve my claim ? Thank you

    • diana casper says:

      I forgot to mention I got denied twice and it is in Virginia currently at the adjudication office .

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Diana,

      Your appeal will be handled before non-critical appeals, but it will have to wait its turn behind any other critical claims filed before yours. Therefore, I cannot predict how long it will take for the Appeals Council to complete its review.

      Best regards,

      Kay

      Thank you,

      Kay

  34. deb mcmullen says:

    I had a disability hearing on Wed, April 16th and received a medicaid application on Sat, April 18th does that mean anything in regard to the decision?

  35. Tina McFalls says:

    I was just told that a decision has been made on my case, but it is in writing process, it’s been 6 months since alj hearing. How much longer does this process take..thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tina,

      The letter writing process can take from a week to a month or more. When the letter has been completed, it will go back to the judge for review. If it is all accurate, it will then be mailed out; if not, it will go back for correction.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  36. Brian Martin says:

    Hi there I was awarded a decision on April 4th for my SSI case.
    How long does it take to usually get your 1st monthly check and your back pay?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brian,

      I am assuming that you are referring to a favorable hearing decision. It can take sixty days or longer to receive your first Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment after an affirmative hearing decision. If you are not contacted within a week to provide a financial update going back to your application date, take your letter to a Social Security office and request an interview to provide the information needed. If you cannot go into the office, you can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and request a telephone interview to provide the information. Back pay is likely to be paid after the first monthly check. If back pay is more than $2,163, it will be paid out at a rate of $2,163 per payment in installments six months apart.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  37. Nicole says:

    Hi. I had my hearing today. My judge that I had is known for the lowest approval rates in the state, which made me extremely nervous. I was in a car accident & had 5 surgeries to both legs & my dominant right arm/wrist along with shoulder fractures. My legs were both crushed & I have problems with ambulation. The VE was asked 3 hypothetical questions. I have been a nurse for 4 years, medical assistant & phlebotomist prior to that, along with consumer sales & loans/collections. When it came to questioning the VE, the first question was can I perform any of my past jobs if it included occasional reaching, the VE stated yes that I could perform as a loan clerk or consumer sales. The next question was almost the same as the first and she answered yes to that as well. The last question to the VE was if the person has to elevate her legs 3 times in an 8 hour period for 30 minutes at a time, can she perform a job at those 2 mentioned jobs? The VE stated no. Then she asked could I elevate my legs at any place in the workforce & she stated no. I am unsure how this will go, but have been a nervous wreck! I am definitely used to being independent, so I pray I can get some of that back. Do any of you think it will be in my favor? I just don’t know due to the first couple of yes answers. Thank you for your time & answers!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nicole,

      If the judge determines that the information in your claim file supports that you have to elevate your legs for thirty minutes three times during the work day, your claim is likely to be approved.

      Sincerely,

      kay

  38. Tina McFalls says:

    If you are awarded backpack for SSD do you get it in one lum sum? I know SSI you don’t, just wondering,

  39. Thomas Wheeler says:

    I had my court date for my appeal i called on the statues and the lady told me that it was on the judge‘s desk! Can you please tell me what that means and why woul she tell me she needed to find out why they split the cases she said they should be together??

  40. Teresa Wright says:

    Dear Kay,

    I had a ALJ Hearing on February 5,2014. At the hearing my judge told the VE that he didn’t need her testimony. Is this a good sign for a favorable decision?

    Currently, I called the ODAR on April 9, 2014 & was told a decision had been made, and it is with the decision writers. Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in advanvce
    Teresa

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Teresa,

      Either the judge decided that the information available indicated that your condition was so severe that you could not work and your claim should be approved or that the information available indicated that the limitations you were claiming were not supported and your claim should be denied. In either situation, vocational testimony would not be needed. Given that the decision is with the correspondence writers, you should be getting a decision letter before long.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  41. Elaine says:

    Hi me and my son both got denied for ssi he was denied in fwb and I was denied in mar. He has ASD and ADHD. I have depression that I take Prozac for I got a lawyer who is going to work on both our cases he filed for both of our appeals. I gave him all our information we got from the doctors and therapist. The last thing I got from ssi office was a letter for me to sign saying it’s okay for them to give the lawyer our information that they have. I haven’t heard nothing else from them or our lawyer. How long does it take to hear about a hearing with the judge?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Elaine,

      It can take up to a year or more to have the appeals assigned to a judge. I suggest that you ask your attorney about his or her process in handling your appeal and the points in the process when you can expect to get an update from him or her.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear James,

      You are probably right, but I cannot post your comment because you critically address other users of the site, which is an informational site not a social forum.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  42. john says:

    I have called the hearing office recently and was told that “by law the could not give me ANY information regarding my case due to the fact I have an attorney”. I was then told not to call the office back unless I fire my attorney and have them report that to the office. So my 3 questions are 1)Is there a law that says they can not inform me on my case if I am represented by a lawyer? 2) If so is there anyway to verify information besides my lawyer (My case is 8yo with an onset of 11+years – I have had the Appeals Council send me back in front of a judge twice and I’m not sure if I can trust my lawyer or his firm any further than I can throw them – had last hearing on Mar 12th ’14, went to writer week before last)? 3) If there is no law – is there ANYTHING I can do about this one receptionist at this one SSA Hearing office for his treatment of me (he even hung up on me when I said I wanted to be transferred to a supervisor)?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear John,

      It is true that inquiries are supposed to come from your attorney and responses to him; however, even if you did not have an attorney, the hearing office would not give you verbal notification of the hearing decision. They did tell you that the appeal is in the letter writing unit, which means the judge made a decision. After the letter is written, it will go to the judge, who will review it for accuracy and if everything is correct have a copy sent to you and to your attorney. If there are any errors in the letter, it will be sent back to the writers for correction. Assuming the letter is correct when it is drafted, you could have the decision within a range of two to six weeks, depending on workloads.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  43. Jennifer Stone says:

    I called social security disability and they said a decision has been made and I will receive a letter in 7-10 business days but I called my local office and they said it is pending what does that mean?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      You are not specific, but I assume that the office that told you a letter was being sent is the office that has made the medical decision and will be sending the letter and that the local office has not yet been notified of the decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  44. Rhonda says:

    I had my hearing on January 7, 2014. Unfortunately not all of my records were available and my attorney requested a 20 day extension. Still no records available after the 20 days due to the doctors retirement and only contact was through the answering machine. Judge made his decision and now my case has been in unassigned writing for 7 weeks as of today (May 6th). I am concerned that my case has been misplaced or set aside at this point. This month makes 2 years since I originally filed.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rhonda,

      It is not unheard of for a hearing decision to be in writing for an extended period of time. You could, however, call and ask if there is any way they can physically check to be sure that your claim is where their computer tracking system says it is and/or roughly how long it will be before it is assigned to a writer.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  45. Carmen says:

    I haven’t seen this issue addressed in any of the previous threads. I had a disability hearing on Feb 27, 2014. Immediately after my lawyer spoke privately with the judge. She said the judge told her she is going to rule in favor. I will only believe it when I get a letter. As of May 6th still no decision letter. Now, I understand that Social Security’s payments are only electronic. I have never given any bank info, therefore if I should win my case how will I be paid?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Carmen,

      If you are approved, when you receive the approval letter from the judge, take the approval letter and your banking information to your local Social Security office.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  46. Ryan says:

    Hello, I have a question for you… I first filed for disability back in November 2012. I was denied, and then reapplied. I was denied a second time, I then requested a hearing on April 10th 2013 (My lawyer is handling all of this). Tomorrow will be 13 months to the day that I requested a hearing… Should I expect to receive a letter in the mail soon about a hearing date? I am very discouraged and am considering abandoning the whole process. My wife and I haven’t worked since November 2012 (Living with my parents). We have two little kids and while I can’t work, I feel like something has to happen. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, from what I’ve read hear it seems like it’s another up to 60 days after the hearing (If you win your case) that you’ll receive benefits. Does it also take up to 60 days for the health insurance coverage to start as well?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ryan,

      Don’t give up on your claim. It is not uncommon to wait more than a year for a hearing date, but you should be getting close now

      If you are approved for Social Security Disability (SSD), Medicare coverage will begin after twenty-four months of benefits (including back pay months). If you are approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), in most states SSI eligibility results in Medicaid coverage, which begins as soon as the SSI claim has been processed including approved for financial eligibility. In some circumstances, Medicaid will pay unpaid medical bills for the three months before SSI starts (if the providers accept Medicaid).

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  47. Carol says:

    My hearing date was the first week of December 2013. The judge asked me 1. took the oath 2. had I worked since July 2007 (no) 3. He was showing an income in 2008 of under $150.00 (my lawyer explained it was the remainder of my 401K) 3. he dismissed the VE and said he had no questions for her & asked if my lawyer or I did (no). He then said the hearing was done and that “your lawyer has prepared your case so well that I have everything I need to make a fully favorable decision” he then told us to have a Merry Christmas and that I should receive the decision within 2 months (he explained that he does not do paperwork). The entire hearing lasted about 7 minutes. it has been over 5 months now. Any opinions and how long could this take? I was told it was in the decision writing phase in February. I feel like my entire life is on hold, I almost can’t handle it anymore.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Carol,

      Based on what the judge said, it appears safe to expect an approval. It also appears that the decision writing department in your state is quite backed up. You might call every couple of weeks to watch for when the decision has been assigned to a writer or the letter sent to the judge to review for accuracy. Each of these events is a sign that things are gradually moving forward.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  48. Mark says:

    Started initial application 1-23-2014 for back troubles
    Received approval 5-4-2014. 60 yr.old male carpenter.
    I don’t know how this could have been any easier, with hearing all the stories out there. Your either disabled or not with out having a lawyer
    Fight for you.

  49. John says:

    On May 4th, 2014, I had a hearing for SSI/SSDI. The judge verbally stated that he made a “bench decision” (right in front of me and my attorney) and that he was going to award funds. I understand it might take a few months to see anything, though.

    On May 12th, I received an offer for a job. The job pays more than the “SGA” amount. If I start work, it would be two weeks later (May 25). My question is this: can I try to go to work even though the judge hasn’t made a written decision? I’m worried that if I try to go back to work before the judge makes a written decision, I will lose EVERYTHING even past due benefits. Can I go back to work. Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear John,

      If you have already been disabled for more than twelve months and it is sure that the judge is going to determine your disability began more than twelve months ago and your condition has not improved appreciably, your return to work could be treated as the beginning of a nine-month trial work period with continuation of benefits while you attempt a return to work. All of that said, you should also discuss this with your attorney.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  50. Tina McFalls says:

    What does it mean, I asked my lawyer if she had any news she said no she was still waiting for “Notice of Decision” from judge. He has made a dession and had sent to writing a month ago..is this close to being over? Thanks Kay

  51. Nicole says:

    Hi again Kay. Waiting for an answer is pretty close to unbearable! I was told a decision was made May 1st & each time I call to check the status it is always “it is in unassigned writer decision”. It’s been there for a month. How long does it normally take in that dept (Louisiana)? & also after a writer is assigned how long does that part take? Each time I call I get a different answer as far as time frames. Does it log every time I call to check the status? Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nicole,

      Wait times are unpredictable because backlogs vary not only by location but by number of claims at any given time. It could easily be another month or more before you receive the written decision. The time frames you are given when you call are likely the person’s best guess at the moment. I do not know whether the hearing office logs your inquiries.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  52. Dejah says:

    I had a hearing with the alj on november 17th 2013 and as of today june 2nd i was told it was still pending and no decision has been made. How long should it take. They have all of the information needed..

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dejah,

      Your hearing decision has pended far beyond average. You should have had a decision by now. If you have an attorney, I suggest asking the attorney his recommendation of what to do. If not, you might ask a congress person to inquire.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  53. Tamika says:

    I had a court date May of 2014. I was represented by my attorney. The judge asked the VE three questions. According to my past job history and the national job market was there jobs available for me, she said yes. According to the information provided by my medical doctors was I able to work she said no and gave a detailed answer. According to my testimony given am I able to work, she said no and also gave a detailed answer. Next week will be a month and I was told that my case is in post hearing review. Can you explain to me what stage this is and how long does this process usually takes. Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tamika,

      I believe that “post-hearing review” means that the judge has not made a decision yet. It can take up to two months or longer to get a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

    • Rebecca says:

      I went to my herring at the ALJ in Aug.2014 the judge made a decision but it went to the government to been written, so do you think its close for me to receive anything about my denial or beening favor.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Rebecca,

        Yes, you are now closer to getting a decision letter. Once the letter is written, it will returned to the judge for review and signature.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  54. Debbie says:

    Hi Kay
    I’m writing more for reassurance than anything. I applied for supplemental security income back in January of 2013. Was denied twice…obtained an excellent disability lawyer in Aug of 2013. She put in for a dire needs case so my hearing in front of the alj would be scheduled sooner. That hearing happened on may 1st of 2014. I know its only been 5 weeks but…here’s my question. My lawyer felt that it went great…I couldn’t of done any better…the judge I had has one of the highest approval rates…she said she can tell by the questions from him and the VE and the questions she asked (my Atty) that she felt that he would approve me case. I called her office today and her case manager looked up my file and said my Atty put notes in my file that it was leaning towards an approval. Her exact words were “in my favor”. So with this being said what is your opinion from the info I gave you. I guess I’m just looking for some reassurance like I said earlier. I value your opinion. Thanks!

  55. mona says:

    Hello, Kay I noticed that the hearing process is taking long. I had my hearing march 3rd and still no decision. I was surfing the internet. Came across a time line. So if its say it take 322 days. For final process ,does the days start after your hearing date or the date you receive your hearing date?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mona,

      Timelines for hearings vary from state to state depending on work loads. I would assume that the 322 days is an average and I would say that it applies to the period of time between filing a hearing and getting a hearing date. The decisions are supposed to be made within sixty days, but often take longer.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  56. mani saenz says:

    Hi my name is Mannie.. I have a question. My disability hearing was held on January 27, 2014.. there were hypothetical questions and one of them was that if I could go back to work as pre-k head start teacher, the VE stated no, I suffered 4 TIA’s back to back and that left me with anxiety attacks and really bad panic attcks.. after that judge asked for other medical records and my attorney did not have them, he gave us a 17 day extension, but my lawyer requested a 30 day for my medical records were out of state.. as of march 2014 medical records were on judge’s desk.. I had not heard anything for awhile until last week I called my attorney and she stated the my case was in pre- review back in judge’s desk that it would be soon.. it has already been six months since my hearing.. does it take this long for a decision.. and do you think its a positive outcome?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mani,

      Although outside the agency’s guidelines, it is not unusual for a hearing decision to take several months. I am unable to project the outcome of your claim, but I can say that how long the decision pends is not an indication of an approval or a denial.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  57. Tracey says:

    Hi, I had my hearing with the ALJ Dec 30 th, 2013…
    I had an Attorney that rep. me….I had supportive letter from my Surgeon ect..I am now into my 6 th month of waiting for a decision .
    My Attorney had called SSA showing concerns of the length of time it has taken for a decision.
    It has not been touched since my hearing,..is what I am told.
    Is there anything I can or should do that could help ?
    Sincerely Tracey

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tracey,

      One option is to contact your congress person; however, before doing that consult with your attorney and follow his or her advice about the advisability of doing that. It can encourage action, but the judge could also take offense.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  58. MaryAnn Cisneros says:

    Me and my son waited two years for his hearing and this past March we finally saw the judge and still no decision has been made my son’s case is pending. He was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD combined, and psychotic disorder with hallucinations as well…

  59. Jodi says:

    Had my hearing Jan 13 2014 still no answer. Called so many times and get so many different answers. Has gone to underwrites April 10. When I ask what that mean some say so such thing. Called hearing office and told me still waiting. Don’t understand why taken so long and why I get so many different answers. Please help.

    Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jodi,

      When you say “underwriting,” I think you may be using the wrong term. There is a letter writing department that writes up the judge’s decisions. If your appeal has moved to letter writing, the judge has made a decision and you are in the last phase before getting a decision letter. It sounds as if the hearing office is backed up. Hopefully, you will get the letter soon.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  60. sharon says:

    i was wondering how far back do they go with ssd now i hear only 1 year is that so

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sharon,

      The maximum retroactive pay is twelve months before the date of application. If it takes a long time to approve your claim, the back pay could be more than twelve months because it includes payment for months after the application also.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  61. Kelly says:

    Hello, I had a hearing back in January, I received updated files ( more Dr. evidence)from the ALJ last week 6/20. The SSDI Psychologist said I was unable to work due to Depression and Anxiety, I also received another Dr. stating could no lbnger work due to Arthritis and Degenerated Disc disease. My original case is prior to 2006. All the info collected is current info. Can the current medical evidence help for prior SSDI?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kelly,

      Usually new current medical information will not be sufficient to prove disability eight years earlier.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  62. christine says:

    Hi kay…I went to my hearing March 20th….recently I found that my case I should in writing but hasn’t been assigned to a writer yet. During my hearing the judge asked very if I could perform my past work and he stated no…but the very said I could perform numerous jobs like office assistant and table spotting. The judge then asked if my legs need elevating at least an hour out of a 8 he day work period would any of those jobs allow me to do such…The very said no….He also asked the very with an in of 59 would they hire me and have someone to keep an eye out for me…The ve said no…….can you give me your opinion.

    • christine says:

      I meant vocational expert not very

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christine,

      I would say that your claim will be approved if the judge believes that the information you submitted for your claim supports the limitations you claim are as severe as you say they are.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  63. Maryann says:

    Hi,
    My husband had a hearing on April 9th, 2014 and was told by the judge he found him favorable. We understand that it is not a final decision until we receive the approval letter. As of today July 9th, no letter. Our Attorneys assistant called the hearing office and we were told it is in the “post hearing review”. What does this mean?
    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Maryann,

      I suggest that you call the hearing office and ask for a definition. “Post-hearing review” could mean that the judge hasn’t done the final paper review and write up after the hearing was held, or it could mean that the decision was made and the appeal was selected for a quality assurance review before it is finalized.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  64. Tracie Thomas says:

    I had my hearing on may 21st. Still in unassigned writing. However my attorney thinks most of it went good because the vocational expert testimony went in my in certain areas. For instance said I couldn’t hold down a part time job by not being able to sit for 4 hours or stand and my attorney asked her would I be able to hold down a part time job by missing at least 3 days a month and she said no. I have neuropathy and osteoarthritis in lower back, neck, knees and elbows. What do you think my chances are.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tracie,

      If the judge finds that the medical and other information you submitted supports the level of limitations that you claim, it is likely that your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Tracie Thomas says:

        I called today and so far for over a month it has been in unassigned writing in Dallas County TX. Not sure why it hasn’t been assigned yet. . It has already been 2 years since applying.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Tracie,

          Your appeal is still in unassigned writing because of understaffing and backlogs.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  65. amanda says:

    hi i want to thank u for posting all this information my nevers r all torn up over this waiting period and im so scared ill be loosing my check because ive been diened 2 times already now im just waiting on the hearing date to come can u please tell me how long dose it take for the hearing date to come in the mail it says 20 days ill before my hearing date but this letting was sent back in march 2014 and its now july do i still have a long aways to go

  66. Rodney says:

    Hi Kay,

    I am 53 years old. I had my hearing before a judge on April 2, 2014, alone, without an attorney. After the hearing the judge requested I attend two additional consultative exams. One physical and one mental. I attended both exams. The judge sent to me a copy of each exam for my comments before he rendered his decision. The physical report stated I have high blood pressure and a pilonidal cyst on my tailbone that is very painful when it becomes infected approximately once a month. When the cyst is active, I can’t sit, stoop, bend, stand or walk without extreme pain. I get headaches, and a general achiness throughout my body. The report didn’t take into account how comfortably I can sit, bend, stoop and stand while the cyst is active. It generally takes up to seven days before the cyst completely drains and for me to get relief from it. The mental report stated I have a Diagnosis of Adjustment disorder with depression. Personality disorder. Unable to keep a job, homeless, and poor insight. GAF 47. Prognosis – Guarded. In addition, the report stated that I am “Marked” in my inability to get along with supervisors, Co – workers and responding appropriately to usual situations and to changes in a routine work setting. I have suicidal thoughts on a regular basis. Sometimes they are fleeting thoughts. Sometimes they dominate my thoughts and I imagine how I would attempt it. However, both doctors wrote that I do not have any suicidal ideations, even when I responded “yes” to their question, “Do you have any suicidal thoughts.”There were other inconsistencies in their reports that made me think that they were playing clever “inside” word games to make my condition appear less severe. I am seeing a therapist on a regular basis. However, I am literally terrified of taking medications with side effects. I told the judge that I am more comfortable with a holistic approach to managing my conditions. I believe a change of lifestyle, proper diet and perhaps a natural herbal anti-depressant would benefit me more than medications that cause side effects. Kay, seven days ago, I received a letter from the hearing office. However, I panicked and couldn’t open it. I’m 53 years old and I’ve been crying like a baby ever since I received the letter seven days ago, because this probably represents my last chance to live even a semblance of a normal life. Kay, do you think that, when taking into consideration the things I’ve just told you that there’s good chance an approval is inside this unopened envelope. In two weeks, I plan on takin the unopened letter to my next therapy session because I don’t want to be alone if it’s a denial. Thank you. I respect your knowledge in the matter.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rodney,

      It is possible that you have been approved. Getting support in opening the letter is a good idea; however, if it should be a denial, you have only sixty days to appeal, so be sure that you do not miss the appeal period by waiting to see your therapist.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Rodney says:

        Thank you for your prompt response. However, at the risk of being annoying, can you think of any reasons why I would get a denial? I just want to brace myself for what’s inside the letter. Thanks again, Kay. This is my last post, I promise.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Rodney,

          I cannot speculate on reasons why you might be denied. If you are denied, you should get a copy of your claim file to see exactly why and also get a knowledgeable Social Security attorney.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  67. Jan says:

    I had a hearing before an ALJ in GA on April 22, 2014 and the judge informed me that my case was approved; however, I am still waiting on my decision letter. I first filed my claim in 2011 and was denied twice. Will my SSD back pay include the cost of living increases from 2011 – 2014?

    Thank you for your response.

    Jan

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jan,

      Your approved benefits will include any cost-of-living increases that occurred after the disability onset date approved by the judge.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  68. Jan says:

    After the judge asked me questions about my posteria neck surgery which took place in December 2011 and my inability to do the things I once did, he approved my claim at that time. Then he asked the vocational expert questions about me not being able to function after my first neck surgery (anterior) in 2008. From continued pain and other tests it was revealed that two out of the four fusions on my neck did not heal, they were partial healing. The judge asked the vocational expert questions about me being able to work after my anterior cervical surgery in 2008. All of the questions the judge asked the expert, the expert answer was a no, I could not function on a job with my disabilities. Please help me to understand. Although I submitted my claim in August 2011, can I be approved from that date which is the onset of disability?
    Jan

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jan,

      The judge was trying to figure out how long you have been disabled to determine how many months of retroactive benefits (benefits before the month of application) are payable. If the judge determines that you have been disabled since 2008, you will receive benefits beginning August 2010, twelve months before your application, which is the maximum retroactivity payable.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  69. Patricia Shaker says:

    It’s been 5 years and 2 months since I filed. After the first denial I hired attorneys. It’s now at the appeals again for the last time.
    During this period July of 2012 I passed with sudden cardiac arrest. Gone for a few minutes they brought me back and I now have an ICD implant. My mental state has been deteriorating since I filed as quickly as my physical conditions, too many to list. I had depositions from doctors, tests, films records etc. it is truly a horrible situation. I am now out of money and have no one to help me, family and friend wise. I have pretty much tapped them out because of medical bills. I no longer can afford my doctors, my healthcare, my medications, food etc. I live in SE Florida and the Judge I pulled has the worst approval record. The last time I was in his chambers he was one hour late from something prior to my appointment and he have us 10 minutes of nothing substantive. I will turn 60 the end of this month if I can survive. But I doubt it. Without all my medications, 3 antidepressants, pain medications, 3 heart meds, thyroid, Xanax will be gone this week. I have worked extremely hard all my life full time from age 20. I have paid into social security over 35 years. I am not asking for a handout I am asking for what I deserve as I former able bodied worker, now riddled with pain, depression, etc. how can this government agency get away with this? At this point I won’t see that birthday. I can’t be homeless without medication, food, support. I won’t last. Now the osteoarthritis has compounded the degenerative disc disease, herniated discs and damage inflicted by assaults at age 18, 20 & 21.
    I have called the Appeals Council in Virginia every time my case has gone there. I keep hearing it’s marked critical. Last time it was there and critical it took one year and it was remanded back to the same nasty Judge. What do I do Kay?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Patricia,

      Having the claim remanded keeps your claim alive. It is correct procedure for it to be sent back to the same judge for further consideration. While you are waiting for a claim decision, see if you can get your most critical medications free from a pharmaceutical company. Start by contacting the companies that make the medications that you take. Your pharmacist can tell you the companies. You might also ask your doctor if he has any samples.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  70. Veronica says:

    Hello there, I applied for SS disability in March, all med docs were submitted. I also visited a doctor appointed by the state. I have a long history of depression, OCD, PTSD and Panic Attacks(records going back to 92) I was told that a decision was made on July 3, went to quality review and was sent out. I was told that I should receive a letter within 21 days and if I don’t to contact them. Is this a typical turn around time?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Veronica,

      Turn-around times vary greatly. At this point, there is no reason to doubt the estimated time you were quoted.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  71. Dee says:

    Hi,
    I had my ALJ hearing on June 4, 2014 in NC. Like everyone else…it’s been a very long, hard wait these past 3 years. I called today to fun out if a decision had been made on my case. I realize an answer to the outcome will not happen until the letter comes via mail. I was told that my case was still pending. Does this mean the judge hasn’t made a decision yet or that it may possibly be waitin to be “written”? Also, would my lawyer be able to get information as to the status quicker than my callin the ALJ office?
    With Regards,
    Dee

  72. Jan says:

    I went before the ALJ on April 22 of this year but have not received a decision letter. At the earring he did tell me that my claim was approved. I checked my bank account tonight and saw a partial SSD back pay was deposited. How long will it take for the remainder of the back pays to be deposited into my account?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jan,

      The fact that the back payment was deposited to your account means that the judge’s decision has already been written up and mailed out to you–probably a while ago. I suggest that you call the hearing office and tell them you have been paid but never got a letter from the judge. Ask for a duplicate copy.

      If you applied for and were approved for Social Security Disability (SSD), then the back pay would be paid all at once. It is possible that the deposit was a monthly check and not the back pay. SSD back pay is frequently paid two or three months after the monthly checks start. It is also possible that you got a partially favorable decision with a later date of disability and no more back pay is due. If you applied for and were approved for SSI, back pay over $2,163 is paid out in installments six months apart.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  73. ced says:

    I went to court on july 10, 2014 and I know it takes time for a decision…. after the hearing, the judge gave us 30 days to send info after my knee surgery for more info to my case.What is the waiting period before I should start calling and asking for the status . especially after he gave us 30 extra days to send him more info.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ced,

      I suggest checking on the status of the hearing decision sixty days after you submitted the additional information about your knee surgery.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  74. Ryan Gee says:

    Hello, I have a hearing August 19th (FINALLY!), I have two questions for you….

    First question is, How would you recommend someone dress that is going to a hearing (someone told me to wear loose fitting clothes and not have facial hair)? Would you recommend shaving facial hair or have well groomed facial hair?

    Second question is, How long does it normally take to get a decision letter from the judge after the hearing?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ryan,

      No guarantees on my opinion about facial hair. If it were mine and I wore it all the time, I probably would just see that it was well-groomed along with the rest of me.

      The guideline for the judge to render a decision is sixty days or less, but it is not uncommon for it to take longer.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  75. Linda says:

    I received a letter from ODAR stating for me to send in new medical records, medications, and work background. So they can review my case to determine if they can make a fully favorable decision holding a hearing. Therefore, it is to my advantage to submit your evidence as soon as possible. I never received the Authorization to release Information form, the letter said it was enclosed.

    I mention this letter to my attorney’s paralegal who is handling my case and she told me they send this letter to everyone and no one ever gets a favorable decision in this process. She did not want to comply with this letter and said they will wait for the hearing and then get my records together at that point. This really upset me and I went and got all my new records and gave them to my attorney’s paralegal and told her I want to reply to this letter. She said she faxed everything a week ago.

    My question is how do I know if she really faxed everything a week ago? Can I call ODAR and ask them if they received everything they need? Also, how long does it take from this letter to get a hearing date? I don’t trust my attorney’s paralegal at this point. Even if it’s a small chance for them to approve my case, I would like to take this small chance.

    I am 51 with Chronic Pancreatitis, Emphysema with severely low DLCO 31% in SSA Blue Book of impairments. Low BMI below 17.50 in SSA Blue Book. Major Depression Disorder, Social Phobia, and Agoraphobia.

    I am kind of at a loss of whether to keep this attorney or fire this attorney?

    I also gave her 3 dire need letters 1 from myself and 2 from both of my sisters stating that I do not have a home right now and I am going from couch to couch between my sisters and my daughters homes.

    Will this help expedite my case?

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Linda,

      Yes, you can call the hearing office (ODAR) to see whether they got the faxed records and that the records have been given to the judge who requested them. Your claim is under active review right now as evidenced by the fact that an “on-the-record” decision is being considered. (You can only be approved on the record, not denied.) If the claim is not approved that way, your hearing date might be expedited due to your letters; however, there are many claimants in your situation and so it is hard to say how much the letters can speed things up.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Linda says:

        Thank you for your response Kay!

        If you don’t mind I have two more questions.

        Is this an OTR letter? The letter did not say “on the record” decision. I do not think my attorney’s paralegal requested an OTR. I’m a little confused if this is an OTR letter or not. I just researched what an OTR is. I didn’t even know this existed.

        The other question is, do you know about how long it takes after receiving this letter and sending all the new information for the decision to be made?

        Thank you

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Linda,

          I assumed that the court was considering an on-the-record decision because they were asking for information before the hearing, but I can’t say for sure. I don’t know how long it would be before a decision is made.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  76. sarah says:

    Hi, I am wondering if anyone can tell me if there is a number I can call to find out when my hearing date is?! I live in Michigan, it’s been about two months of frantically checking the mail everyday to find out!! Was denied twice and now I will go in front of the judge, I have progressive MS, my neurologist who is amazing deamed me disabled. I am only 28 with two kids and a husband who are amazing! But this disease is absolutely horrible for anyone! I appreciate anyone who is able to help me!! Thank you, Sarah

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sarah,

      Hearing dates are often a year or more after the request for hearing is filed. The date will not be scheduled until a few weeks before the hearing, at which time you will be notified.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  77. Ryan Gee says:

    If a doctor said (written and signed questionnaire) the person applying for disability cannot stand, sit, walk, or carry anything for more than 2 hours at a time, base solely on this information, could a judge deny a person benefits?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ryan,

      The limitations indicated by the doctor as you stated them are not entirely clear. If a person could do each of those things for two hours, there might be jobs in which physical activity changes and the person could work a full day and would, therefore, not be disabled. If on the other hand, the doctor’s statement is that you can work only two hours total in a day and everything supports that, then I would expect an approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Ryan Gee says:

        From my understanding the doctor said I could not do any of these activities for 2 hours. Walking and standing was less than an hour. Carrying was just a few minutes, and sitting was iffy (2 hours sometimes but not consistently). However, the doctor never flat out said how long I could or could not work in a day. I’m not sure if that changes your answer or not but I do appreciate your answer.

  78. Bonnie says:

    I had my hearing today. The judge said she didn’t have any questions for the VE and was ruling favorable. Is this final decision or does someone else need to review for approval?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Bonnie,

      In almost all cases, the judge’s ruling is the decision. A very small percentage of decisions are pulled for a quality assurance review, which on rare occasion could result in the decision being overturned.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  79. James Falkinburg says:

    I went in front of the appeals judge (second level) and The final 3 hypothetical questions were all “No jobs available”. I am now waiting on the judge’s ruling. How long does this take? I had a friend who said if the Vocational Expert said no jobs available it went faster

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear James,

      Decisions can take two months or longer. The vocational expert’s testimony does not determine how long it will take for you to get a decision. The overall complexity of the claim together with workloads and backlogs are more likely factors in determining how long it takes to get a hearing decision. Decisions can take two months or longer.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  80. april says:

    Hello

    I stopped work april 2012 bcus my body couldnt handle it any longer. I finally applied dec2012. Interview jan 2013, denied may 2013. Appealed finally got hearing date may 2014. After hearing i was giving rfc to send back. Did so immediately. After 60 days went by I started calling hoping some good news. 2 wks ago i was told some notes were included from the judge. That usually means a decision is about to be made but is still pending. nothing, now 3 months since hearing I called this monday and was told call the office hearing was held. They transfer me to judges secretary. She was very nice told me my decision was still pending and states I am closer than I was before and will get a decision sooner than later. Lol although she was nice that I can not pay my bills with. I read on if it take longer than 90 days after hearing it is usually unfavorable .decision. Is this true or case by case? Its pain staking enough going through this process. I think its just another form of abuse to people with a disability. Thank you in advance for any info you may be able to give me.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear April,

      The length of time your hearing decision pends is not an indication of either approval or denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  81. this process is very frustrating. wondering if seeing the judge in person is better then video cam at ss office, I’m feeling in person is better
    but would love some input. cheryl

  82. Tina says:

    I had my hearing on July 29th it lasted around 20 minutes. The Judge read over everything my lawyer prepared, my lawyer really didn’t say or do much. The Social Security Doctor seemed to be in my favor actually gave reasons why I have problems working under a boss and with others and how my depression and bipoloar and other issues effects my ability to report to work on a daily basis. I had a letter from a former employer who explained she carried me for several years but had to finally fire me because of my ‘mental and concentration problems’. The vocational expert some jobs I might be able to do but the judge asked if I missed ‘several’ days a month would those jobs still be there and the vocational expert said ‘no’. So its hard to read but the judge seemed to be in my favor but I really can’t read or know how this is going. I was disappointed in my lawyer he really didn’t say or do much unless maybe he felt the judge and Doctor were handling everything perfectly and didn’t want to ‘push’ the issue or hurt the progress because it really seemed like the judge was asking questions my lawyer should have been. In your experience do Judges take into consideration the fact that a Doctor has said someone will miss work days because of their mental illness, and the vocational expert says straight out they will be fired if they miss days?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tina,

      Yes, the judge will take the medical and vocational experts’ testimony into consideration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  83. Martha says:

    I have filed for social security and I have hired an attorney, I been denied twice and know waiting for a hearing. I have uncontrollable IBS, torn meuniscus, fibromyalga, high blood pressure,PTSD, asthma, pinch nerve in my back, I am 49yo, what are my chances that I will receive a positive result?

  84. Guy says:

    i just found your site today while looking for info. some of your earlier post answered first question . So now just courious about your opinion on this question. I had my hearing last week. My lawyer said my judge was a bit of an odd ball. that being said in the hearing she asked all the question’s the VE did not ask one question or comment on anything during the hearing . after done and off the record the judge commented to me as i was leaving i hope you get what you are wanting. So question is does that sound like a possible approval or am i just putting to much into it.

    thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Guy,

      The judge’s statement is a little odd so it is hard to interpret. The fact that the judge did not ask the vocational specialist any questions could mean that the judge already thought that the information in your file supported disability, but there is really no way of knowing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  85. Ryan says:

    Hello, I have a hearing next week. I spoke with my lawyer today for a while about the hearing process. He said that my medical records contradict a survey that was filled out by my doctor. He said according to my medical records, it appears that I am stable and able to work but according to the survey (Signed by the same doctor), I am totally disabled. He basically said, we are going to have to try to win the case based on how I feel on a day to day basis and not my medical records. My question to you is, have you heard of something like this before? Where the medical records contradict a statement by the doctor? Also, do judges not realize if you talk to your doctor and say “I’ve been feeling pretty good” that you could be saying, I feel pretty good with the condition that I have. It isn’t necessarily the same as a person without the condition saying “I’ve been feeling pretty good”.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ryan,

      Doctors’ records don’t always show the whole picture and sometimes they can be misleading. Talk with your attorney about the possibility of getting an explanatory statement from the physician that would explain the discrepancy between his statement and the records. As far as what the judge understands, that’s hard to say. Ask your attorney whether you can give an explanation at the hearing of what “feeling pretty good” means.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  86. john says:

    Hi! I had my hearing july 24,2014 and got a bench decision approved! I would like to know how long it will take for a letter and back pay? the ve. said that I cant do no jobs! im 52 yrs old. when the judge makes that decision, do the decision writers change anything?? I live in Missouri! thanks for info.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear John,

      It can take sixty days to get a hearing decision letter. The decision writers do not change the judge’s decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  87. waiting game says:

    I applied for SSDI 02/2012. Denied. Appealed and was finally heard by ODAR in VA on March 7th 2014. Still no news. I know a decision was made over a month ago. I was recently told the notice was mailed over a week ago? Nothing yet. How long should I wait before calling again? (My attorney suggested I call)

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Waiting Game,

      Yes, occasionally someone posts when they receive benefits after an appeal or easily on their initial application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  88. Jamie Nichols says:

    My son who is 7 has ADHD and we had our ALJ hearing on July 18th 2014. The judge made a decision and it has gone to the letter writers. I applied for his disability in Jan of 2013. Will they pay from Jan till current if he decides in our favor?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jamie,

      If your son is approved with a disability onset date of January 2014 or earlier, his benefits will begin February 2014 and be paid for each month thereafter that he is financially eligible.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  89. Mary says:

    Hi Kay,

    My hearing is 5 days away and I am having severe anxiety over this. I have been for at least six months. I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, along with IBS, chronic bronchitis, anxiety, and a rare skin condition. My fibromyalgia can not be treated with the traditional medications because I have side effects along with hypersensitivity to many medications. I am 59 years old I will be sixty in 4 months. The judge I have been assigned is horrible and only had a 31 percent approval rate along with a high rate of partial decisions. I did clerical work my whole career. My lawyer feels I will do well with this judge because of my age and solid work history. This judge tends to disbelieve people and treats them rudely, although, my attorney feels she will not be rude to me. I am petrified I will say the wrong thing or not go in to detail enough about my illiness. Fibromyalgia is such a questionable illiness to so many judges. Do you think there is any possibility that I can win this case?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mary,

      The general advice is to tell the truth and not exaggerate; however, I suggest that you discuss with your attorney how much detail to explain regarding your illnesses. If you are approved, it is likely to be due to a combination of symptoms caused by a combination of illnesses, not by any one illness.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  90. gabriel says:

    hello im been waiting for my hearing for 13 months and nothing yet :( how much longer i have to wait help plizz !!!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gabriel,

      You are probably getting close to the hearing’s being scheduled as most are scheduled at about the one-year mark. You might call the hearing office to be sure that you are still waiting for a date and that a notice of hearing has not gone astray in the mail.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  91. bianca says:

    when I call the office they said that my case has been closed out and I should be receiving a letter in the mail shortly. Is that saying that I was denied

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Bianca,

      The information that your “case is closed” means either that your claim has been denied or you applied only for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and the claim has been approved and set up for payment. If you applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there would have been an interview before payment was begun, so I doubt you have an SSI approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  92. Sheryl says:

    Hello
    My Mom received a letter stating they were going to call her Lawyer to schedule a video hearing. How long will it be for the lawyer to get a hearing date usually after you receive the letter, and how far out will the date be? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sheryl,

      Usually hearing dates are set less than a month before the hearing. I can not say how long it will take your attorney’s office to respond to and set up the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  93. anna says:

    I had a hearing and the VE stated that there are NO jobs outthere for my condition. What does this mean. Does it mean that my disability is going to be approved?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Anna,

      If the judge believes that the evidence in your claim file supports the level of limitations you are claiming, your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  94. Martha says:

    I am waiting for a hearing on my SS disability, however, a few days ago I received a packet in the mail from SS. the packet had a lot of questions that I had already answered, such as doctors, medications, work history. On the second sheet it states that they want to update the information and possibly make a ruling without holding a hearing. Is this a common procedure for SS to do this? In your opinion do you believe this is favorable for me?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Martha,

      Decisions made on the record without a hearing are always favorable, so yes, it is favorable that your claim is being considered for an on-the-record decision. Provide all the information they asked for as carefully as if you had not provided any of it before. If you have new conditions or changes in your symptoms, be sure to update that information.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  95. Fran says:

    I am 50 years old.I am waiting on a respond from a hearing in front of the Judge in July 30.2014.I was denied twice prior to the hearing I have been trying since September 0f 2012.. I had an attorney that did not have all my medical info. The judge stated she would give us 20 days to submit the rest of the medical records. I called the attorney office they said that the judge had all the information as of August 17. I don’t trust this attorney office .I have to call 2-3 times before his assistance calls me back.,Can I let them go or is it to late? because I am doing everything myself. Is thee another way to contact the disability office for decision. How much longer do you think this process will take. I have no income .I am getting only food stamps a month, I have a 12 year old. I have used all and every resource. Any other suggestion. Barely making it in Texas. one more thing I have been working all my life, never been without a job until now. Why is it so had to draw your own money that we worked so hard for.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Fran,

      You can call the hearing office and ask them whether they received additional records in August. Also, you might check with your state’s health and human resource department to see if you qualify for aid to families with dependent children while you wait for a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  96. Robin says:

    I had my hearing on September 23, 2014. I called the ODAR today and they said that the judge has already made a decision on my case. Now with in 2 weeks it will go to the decision writers. Is this a fast decision? Also the judge said in court that he finds me disabled under grid 12.05c. The VE also stated there was no jobs for me. My question is how much longer do I have if it is already at the writers?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robin,

      You did receive a quick decision, which is great. It can take a month or longer to get through the writing department.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  97. Mark says:

    I had my hearing on April 17, 2014 and still have no decision. At the trial they said I was qualified for no jobs, but I’m buying a business on contract with 3 other people. The Judge believed at trial that my monthly payments for the business should count as income for me. We tried to explain to him, no it is an business expense. I don’t declare that money on my personal taxes, the business claims that money. He gave my lawyer till April 24, 2014 to prove him wrong. My lawyer did submit paperwork from the IRS. We are now in October of 2014 and still they tell us “It’s with the Judge, still”. I am a single dad and I’m barely make ends meet. Thanks to my dad. I first filed in the summer of 2011. What can I do? This case is in Omaha

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mark,

      It is always a calculated risk, but you could contact a congressperson to inquire. By calculated risk, I mean you could annoy the judge. (Even though it shouldn’t, annoyance could affect the decision, so I would discuss this possibility with your attorney before taking action.) If you are denied, you can appeal to federal court; and, if you are not participating in the running of the business in any way, you should do so.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mark says:

        The sight on line that tells you how many cases each judge hears each month (Approvals, Denies and Dismisses), shows that my Judge only heard 1 case in the last 2 months. I write down each Judge from my office and they all go up by 50 to 60 cases and my Judge only went up 1 case in 2 months. My lawyer says it’s not a government web site, but should be accurate. I asked my lawyer to call again and ask about this, but I can tell he hasn’t. Any input?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Mark,

          Your judge may have been ill or out of the office for some reason. You might call the hearings office and ask whether he is currently in the office and working on decisions.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  98. sarash says:

    I had my hearing and I’m waiting for a decision but I call the ss office to see how my claim was going and they say its in active post hearing development and I don’t understand what that means

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sarash,

      It means that all the work that has to be done for you to get a decision and a decision letter is in progress. You can call the hearing office for somewhat more specific information about where it is in the process.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  99. Jason Higgins says:

    I had my hearing in August 22 2014 and the judge did not ask the VE any questions at the hearing is that good or bad

    I still have got a decision yet

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tammy,

      Medicaid eligibility due to receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicare eligibility extend only to the disabled person who receives a federal disability benefit, never to the children. This is true in all states. Each state has its own requirements for providing free or low-cost medical coverage for other members of the family under that state’s programs. Obamacare is a health insurance exchanges and the coverages offered, both private and public vary from state to state.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jason,

      The judge didn’t ask the vocational expert (VE) questions either because he or she had decided that the information in your claim file supported that you were disabled (good news) or judged that the information did not support the limitations that you claimed (bad news). There is no way of knowing which until you get a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jason Higgins says:

        Thanks Kay

        My lawyer thinks it is good news plus I have been waiting for a decision since 8/22/14 and it is now 10/20/14

        But like you have said to many in this blog there is no guarantee until you get an answer

  100. Patti says:

    I had my hearing yesterday and it lasted 25 minutes. The judge was wonderful and when it was time to question the VE he only had ONE hypothetical!! I was surprised by that being my lawyer said there may be three. She answered that I could not do my previous or any current jobs. Right after that the judge ended the hearing! He thanked me for my patience and that was it. My lawyer said I won but I don’t want to get too confident. Any thoughts? Should I not get too excited?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Patti,

      Be hopeful based on what your attorney said, but don’t count on anything yet.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Patti says:

        Thank you Kay. Some things just need to be seen in black and white I guess. It just seemed way to easy. That scares me a bit.

  101. Marcus says:

    Hi Kay
    I had a hearing on April 14 2014. I have yet to receive a decision on the case I cashed the hearing office but information is often different every time as if recent I called and was told it’s at edit stage what exactly does that mean, abd how long will I receive a decision. I personally think 6 months after the hearing is unacceptable and to long. What should I expect I am stressing myself out. It’s not fair for American people who have worked their whole life to put their life on hold this long when bills are piling up. I am also a veteran of the United states army. I did up for my country in time if need now I’m being pushed aside when I need the same from my country. Is 6 months a long time to wait after a hearing? Also what exactly does editing means how long can it take to get the decision after this stage . It’s been in editing since Sept 17 I really don’t understand the hold up, the people at the appeals office is not very forthcoming with information so can u please explain this to me, to at least help ease my mind a bit. Thanks Marcus

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marcus,

      Six months is longer than usual to wait for a decision. Editing means that the decision has been rendered, that a letter prepared for the judge’s review and approval, and that the letter had to be corrected and is the processing of being corrected.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • marcus says:

        ok thanks for your input. By it being in edit stage and paper had to be corrected, is this in any way any kind of indication as to what decision could be? is it normal for a writer to not write like judge asked therefore having to be re written? how long can I expect it to be at this stage it has been in editing since sept 17?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Marcus,

          The letter being in editing is not an indication of the decision. Errors happen, so editing does sometimes occur. I can’t estimate how long it will take for the editing to occur, presumably less time than the original writing of the letter.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • marcus says:

            thanks

          • Kay Derochie says:

            You are welcome, Marcus.

          • Marcus says:

            Well today I called they said the judge signed off and it’s in the mail, instead of sending letter of decision from hearing office, it was electronically signed and sent to processing center in Virginia, and that is where my letter of decision is coming from instead of office which is less than 30 mins away from my physical address. My question for u Kay is, is that normal procedure? What could be the reason for it to have to go to Virginia to a processing center instead of directly to me from hearing office. As always we are here to seek your wisdom. Thanks for your response in advance

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Marcus,

            The judge has approved your claim and the approval is being sent to the Appeals Council office in Virginia because sometimes the Appeals Council will review and overturn a judge’s decision. The process is sort of like a quality review.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  102. marcus says:

    hi kay, I have previously asked a question but haven’t received a reply. so here it is again. I am in need of some information. I had a hearing april 15 2014 some information from the dr ssi sent me to was not there at time of hearing so it arrived days after the hearing. I was told on july 22nd it went to the decision writers. I have been constantly calling to check up on the case. I was told my case was approved favorable but here it is October and I still have not received a decision. I call the hearings office but they are not so forthcoming with information. I was told it is at the edit stage, been there since sept 17. I am curious as to why its taking so long to receive a decision. I personally think 6 months after the hearing date is unacceptable for anyone and entirely to long considering the 16 month wait time to even get a hearing. I am prior military a veteran of the us army I have been working two or more jobs every year since age of twelve. My question for u is what exactly does it means when they say its in editing, what stage is this exactly, also how long can I expect to wait before I receive the decision, is 6 months an awfully long time to wait after the hearing date to receive a decision? why may it be taking this long? your input and answers would be greatly appreciated I need some to ease my mind. its been over two years since my life threatening accident and bills are continuing to pile up I lost my home my car, my wife my whole life. im currently homeless and it seems so unfair considering I have paid into this for almost twenty years and stood up for my country in the face of adversity and I deserve the same from my country. thanks Marcus

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marcus,

      Please see my response of earlier today. It may be too late in the process to have much effect, but you could call the hearing office and request dire-need handling of the editing because you are homeless.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  103. Michelle says:

    Hi Kay,

    As I have posted before, my daughter’s SSI claim was being reviewed by a judge for a couple of months with a decision made 9/22. The times I called to check statuses, it was an unwritten decision, in writing, and then decision in editing. It was mailed today.

    I will know soon enough, but this is driving me nuts! When I posted before, I said she got an OTR decision- that may not have been it, the proper term, may have been a bench decision. Either way, is the fact that it has been referred to a DECISION over and over likely a good sign, or can the “decision” be that she has to go to a hearing?

    Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michelle,

      Yes, there is a difference between an OTR decision and a bench decision. In any event, the letter has been mailed and you will soon know the decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  104. sarash says:

    called to get further information about my decision on my claim and this guy I spoke with told me that they are sending me mya letter and my updated medical records that the judge had requested during my hearing an that I have to go over them and then send the letter back saying if I approve what the records say then it goes to the judge again like why is it taking forever to get a decision when they already had all my medical information

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sarash,

      It is good that the judge is looking so carefully at your records and requesting your input on them. Look them over carefully for accuracy and respond. If you have an attorney, consult with the attorney before responding. Be sure to respond so your answer is received by any deadline date the letter lists.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  105. carol says:

    Dear Kay

    recently denied I have bilateral hearing loss, I were hearing aids but I still have difficulty hearing. also suffer from dizziness, headache and anxiety, unable to concentrate. I was a customer service representative 90% of my job was talking to customers on the phone. The letter states: The medical evidence shows that you do have medical impairments that do limit your ability to do some work related activities especially concerning hearing loss and dizziness. You should not do work that requires exposure to height and hazards and would require CONTANT hearing. Your condition results in some limitations in your ability to perform work related activities. While your are not capable of performing work you have done in the past, are able to perform work that is less demanding. We have determined that your condition is not server enough to keep you from working. We considered the medical and other information and work experience in determining how your condition affects your ability to work. Will you please tell me what does this mean, what jobs are available that do not require constant hearing.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Carol,

      I suggest that you appeal the denial with the assistance of an attorney who is knowledgeable about Social Security law. Given your age, if you have a narrow work history, you may qualify. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • carol Brown says:

        Thank you,

        I don’t understand what you meant by narrow. I worked in the customer service industry for 35 years, my job was to process Orders and interact with customers, I covered for accounts receivable and service equipment department, set up freight shipment. All requires constant Hearing.
        please explain what you meant.

      • carol says:

        Dear Kay,
        A couples weeks ago I mention I was denied. Well I received a letter from SSA stating they approved my lawyer fees. I don’t understand I was denied.

        Please help

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Carol,

          You may have applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If so, one claim could have been approved and another denied.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  106. carol says:

    I forgot to mention I am 54 years old and my last hearing test in June 2014 my right ear Speech threshold: MCL at 75 dBHL =100% my left ear MCL at 75 dBHL 28%

    Pure Tone thresholds: BC 65 85 85 85 85

  107. Tison says:

    Hi i had my hearing in Aug 14 2014 i was told 60 days its been little over 60 days i called the social security office they said it was assigned to a writer. I am loosing patient i have no income. How long does a writer usually take and how soon should i receive my award letter please help this is stressful.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tison,

      It can take about a month after the decision has been assigned to a writer for the writer to prepare the letter and for the judge to review and sign it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  108. Tison says:

    Also i applied for ssd nd ssi in feb 1St 2012 will.i recive back pack from when i first filed? About 16 months worth that sound bout rite

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tison,

      If the judge finds you disabled when you claimed, SSI benefits would begin February 2012. Social Security benefits would begin the later of the sixth full calendar month of disability or February 2011.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  109. Raymond Miller says:

    Dear Kay.
    I had my alj hearing sept 4th 2014, video hearing, toughest judge in Oklahoma with the highest denial percentage. My hearing was 16 minutes long, and I answered less then 10 questions. I’m waiting for a decision and feel like their waiting for me to die of old age first. 2 back surgeries, discectomy, laminectomy, instrumented fusion, failed back syndrome, DDD, anklyosing spondylitis, over 800 pages of medical evidence. Also have had a mild heart attack, prolapsed heart valves. Mild depression and too many mess. Omar office hasn’t had any news other then the letter writers haven’t got the info from the hanging judge yet. Lawyer said it was the shortest hearing he’s ever donem. Just hoping it’s not the 320 days of wait the stats page states about process time very scared and discouraged. I’m a single dad of an autistic kid and I’m indigent and can’t afford his care and am afraid I will have to turn him over to state custody.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Raymond,

      The processing guideline for judge’s to render a decision is sixty days. That said, many decisions pend longer. If you are homeless, you can have your attorney request a dire-need status for your appeal, which will move you up behind others with a dire need status assigned to that judge but before those not in dire need. That could help a bit. If you have not already done so, I suggest that you apply with your state for Aid to Families with Dependent Children for temporary help and for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability for your child if your child’s autism is severe.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  110. Latoya says:

    Hello I am inquiring about my son’s ssi case. I orginally submitted an appeal on 05/02/13, I attended the hearing on 08/28/14. I called the hearing office on yesterday and was informed they are waiting for a writer.

  111. Latoya says:

    continued… my question is do you know how long it can take from here? thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Latoya,

      It can take a month or more to get a letter. When it moves up in line, it will be assigned to a writer. After the writer completes the letter, the letter goes to the judge for review and signature before it is mailed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  112. Christy says:

    Hi I went to the Hearing for my son10/08/2014 and while the decision wasnt made i called the check the status of his application and was told they started processing it last week. The claim pending what does that mean Thank You!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christy,

      “Pending” means that no decision has been made yet and that the claim is being reviewed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  113. Jill Banks says:

    Hello i went to my hearing on September 23, 2014. The judge has already made a decision. The decision went to the writer n October 15, 2015. I called the ODAR today and it is back with the judge for approval. It was only with the decision writer for 5 days…Is this normal? Once i receive my decision in the mail how long will i have to wait for my notice of award letter?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jill,

      You are fortunate to be living in an area where work in the hearing office is running fairly current. How fast you get the letter depends in part on whether it is a denial or an approval. Approvals are sent to another office in the appeals system before release. It could be a week or a month. Once you receive the letter, if it is an approval for Social Security, it can take a few weeks for monthly checks to start and two to three months before back pay is released. If you applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and have not received a call or letter from your local office within two weeks of getting the letter, call them for an appointment to provide updated financial information so that payment can be calculated and released.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  114. shawna says:

    Hi Kay,
    I finally won my case October 3, 2014 with a bench desion and the judge labled my case critical. My question is I thought critical cases were suppose to be done fast track. Is this true?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shawna,

      Yes, critical cases are supposed to be processed faster than non-critical cases; however, keep in mind that many cases are critical because many disabled people are in difficult financial situations and, generally, claims are processed for payment in the order they are approved and this applies to all critical cases too.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  115. Vickie says:

    I am 53 years old and just had my hearing before the ALJ at the end of September. At my initial application and my reconsideration I was denied but told that I could no longer perform any of my past work but could perform some other type of work. How likely is it that I would be approved according to the grid scale? Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vicki,

      Whether you will be approved depends on how the judge evaluates where you fall in the grid. He or she will evaluate not only your age but how your education, training, and skills combine and determine your ability to adapt to new work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  116. Dawn Newton says:

    There is a judge in the Phoenix Arizona ODAR Office by the name of Claudi L Rosen-Underwood Administrative Law Judge taking between 8 months to a year to make a decision on some of her cases. Is that a good practice for disability judges and why is that being allow to happen. Could it be she is unable to make a decision and what about the people who go in front of her and they are expecting a decision in 60 to 90 days.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dawn,

      Eight months to a year is not a good practice. You might discuss the matter with your congressperson.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  117. Jeff White says:

    I have heard that some people get a back payment first before getting the approval letter for example Can that happen

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jeff,

      Occasionally, if only a few months of benefits are owed, the back pay will be paid first and the electronic transfer of money is received before the letter is transported and delivered by the postal service.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  118. Jason Higgins says:

    My hearing was August 22, 2014 and I called the disability office earlier this week and was told my case was in process what does that means. Do it means a decision has been made on the case

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jason,

      You need more information about what “in process” means. You can call again and ask whether a decision has been made and the appeal is in the letter writing department or whether the judge has not yet made a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  119. carol says:

    Thank You Kay,

    You confirmed what I was thinking. Until I read the letter again, it clearly states “Based on review of your health problems you do not qualify for benefits on either claim”
    How is it possible to be denied the first week in October then three weeks later I’m receiving a letter approving my lawyer fees. Please help I am confused and stressed out.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Carol,

      Contact your attorney’s office and describe the discrepancy to see whether they have gotten notification that one or more of the letters is incorrect. The happy answer would be that they filed a request for reconsideration and you were approved on reconsideration. If you don’t get clarity, take your two letters to Social Security and ask for an explanation of which is correct. Note that there is no way the attorney can be paid without your claim’s computer record being coded an approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  120. Jason Higgins says:

    Hi Kay

    I have been diagnosis with Schizoaffective disorder and when I had my hearing the judge did say she was viewing the case as a mental situation. As I stated in a previous post. She also did not ask the VE any questions. I called the ssi office several times and get the same answer. My lawyer has told me that the decision has to be made by November 22 because my hearing was August 22. If no decision by November 22 will it result in a default decision.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jason,

      The general guideline is for a decision to be made within sixty days, but many take longer. There are not default decisions.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jason Higgins says:

        It has been over 60 days. Should I start worrying about the decision. I am trying to stay positive but with my disorder I am thinking about it a lot and getting stressed out about the entire situation.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Jason,

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

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  121. Brandon Brown says:

    Hello,

    Im a disabled Veteran that have served my country in 2 wars in Iraq. I was medical retired from the army. I was diagnosed with serve Ulcertitive colitis with proctitis. whuc requires me to have access to a bathroom, at all times. I have a 100% Va conneted service disability rating. with 70%PTSD. i applied for Social Security Disability twice. Iwas denied twice. I have recently hired an Lawyer. I was scheduled for a hearing in OCT 2014 . But the hearing judge postponed. Due to bad timing for the judge. I called today, they said that my case is now with a Administrative Law Judge . I was told that he can make a ruling with approved or disapproved, without even going to a hearing. I was scheduled for a video hearing at first. But that was the hearing i was referring to earlier. My question is, Now that my case is with a Administrative Law Judge , will i still have to go to a court hearing? Or he/she will make a decision without going to court? Bc I cant work. I barely sleep, I have asthma, i bleed alot from my retcum do to colitis. I have back ratings. with serve pain. I pray i get approved, bc i need the help.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brandon,

      I believe that the judge cannot deny your claim without an in-person or video hearing. Judges do sometimes approve hearing appeals without a court appearance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  122. Tosha says:

    I had my hearing on August 12 2014. Video teleconference with judge. Judge granted me and I only could get back a year of back pay. Judge stated it would take 30 to 90 days. I call today and was told it was in editing. I just wonder how much longer

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tosha,

      The decision has been made and the letter has been written and now the letter is being edited for some change. I would expect that you would have the decision letter withing a month. Approval letters have to go to another office for review before the are sent out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tosha says:

        Okay thanks. I just thought since the judge told me 30 to 90 days it would be in November since November 12th would be 90 days mark. So it could be December. Wow

  123. Debra says:

    Could you please help me? I applied in may and was turned down in 10 weeks.I appealed as soon as I received the denial in July,in Sept I was sent to a CE exam that I feel was in my favor.It is now Nov.The dds office told me when I called today that a decision had been made but was not finalized yet and I should hear something in a few weeks.Is this normal? What could possibly be holding it up and do you think it sounds positive or negative that it is taking so long?Any advise would be helpful.Thanks so much.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Debra,

      How long an appeal pends is not and indication of approval or denial. The duration depends on the character of the claim and whether or not there is a backlog in the office. It does sound as if the appeal is in the final stages of review.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  124. dana says:

    Hi Kay I went to my hearing in S.C.on Sept 26.2014 it was my second one its been 3 years so far tje first thing judge mentioned my new onset date since first judge denied me lawyer gave the date and she said I will approve that date she did not ask me a lot of questions like first judge did she also seem to answer for me like I bet you have a hard time standing in line at a store they were missing one of my medical records so she was going to hold my case open 2 weeksand she said she would make a desicion quickley i havent heard anything yet she ask ve question she gave a xouple of jobs then judge gave my limitations and days i would miss from work and ask ve if i xould do the jobs and ve said no my lawyer said last judge gave me light sedentry and this time less sedentrey any thoughts for me thanks.

  125. Julie says:

    When awaiting a decision from an SSDI ALJ Hearing, which are considered relevant business days or calendar days? Curious. Thanks!

  126. Kim says:

    I had my hearing on 10/29/14. ALj judge has lowest approval rate. My attorney was with me. VE stated no to any work that i could perform past or present. RFC from my MD supports this. 2 disability assigned physicians stated i could not work…i was still denied 2x in the past. Also have 100s if medical records regarding my disabilities. I know you nor i can predict the outcome. …but if VE says no to roughly 9 hypotheticals, do you think i have a chance in disability hell of receiving an award letter? My attorney saod everything looks positive, hearing according to him went well.

    • Kim says:

      Just to add. ….disabilities include fibromyalgia, sjogrens, chronic migraines, debilitating fatigue, ptsd, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, reynauds, ulnar nerve damage, numbness of hands arms legs and feet.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kim,

      If the judge believes your limitations are as great as you claim, given the vocational expert’s testimony, your claim is likely to be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  127. Jason Higgins says:

    I called social security today and the lady said that my case status is as follows – September 23 was the day they did the post hearing write up. How does it takes after that status to get an answer

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jason,

      I am not sure of the meaning of the information you received. I suggest that you call the hearing office and ask for a status–specifically whether the judge has made the decision and, if so, whether the decision has been assigned to a letter writer to prepare the decision letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  128. Tosha says:

    Hello well I call SSI on yesterday and was told SSI finished my case on Friday november7. It was a favorable decision and I was approve. Could u tell me how much longer . Tomorrow will be 90 days

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tosha,

      It can take from a couple of weeks to a month or more for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments to start and another couple weeks to a month or more after that for Social Security Disability (SSDI) to start, if you were approved for both.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  129. Jason Higgins says:

    Hello Kay

    Thanks for all your help with this. I spoke to social security yesterday and my lawyer today. As you know with the previous notes from me I had my hearing August 22. from what my lawyer told me today they think I have a good case with my medical file
    My 10 known medical problems and they are documented

    1. Bipolar disorder
    2. Insomnia
    3. Mania
    4. Mood disorder
    5. Major depressive disorder
    6. Schizoaffective disorder
    7. Schizophrenia
    8. Sleep disorder
    9. Borderline personality disorder
    10. Crack clavicle

    If I get a denial should I consider a repeal case

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jason,

      You should follow your attorney’s advice regarding an appeal. Grounds for appeal of a hearing decision are error on the part of the judge.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  130. sarash says:

    I had my ALJ hearing in Sept 2014 and now I call to get information and the rep told me the decision has been made and its in writing my question is how long will it be in writing and is it a good sign that its going fairly quickly and how much longer will it take to get my letter its been in writing for almost two weeks as if today

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sarash,

      Letter writing can vary from a few weeks to a couple months or more depending on the backlogs in your hearing office. Check back in two weeks to see if it has been assigned to a specific letter writer, which would be progress. The length of time it takes the judge to render a decision is not an indicator of approval or denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  131. Tammy White says:

    Judge: Claudi L Rosen-Underwood

    I have been seeing my doctors for over 15 years. One of my doctors sent in 4 letters explaining my condition and how it renders me “totally disabled”. My other doctor sent in 2 letters saying that in his opinion I am “totally disabled”. SSA sent me to 3 of their doctors and all 3 of them said I am “totally disabled”. There’s 34 medical exihibits in my SS file containing almost 900 pages of medical reports. 8 months after my hearing, I get a decision denying my case! In the decision, this so-called judge actually states that she did not give much, if any, weight to the letters from my doctors because she did not understand what the term “totally disabled” means! I’ve asked 7 of my grandson’s friends if they know what “totally disabled” means and all 7 of them knew exactly what it means and they are all only in the forth grade. It is absurd that a well educated so-called disability judge who is probably being paid over $100,000 per year with tax payer dollars, doesn’t know what “totally disabled” means. I don’t even know how such a thing is possible. She also said that I didn’t have any muscle atrophy but she never got closer than 15 feet to me and as far as I know she isn’t a doctor so how could she say I don’t have muscle atrophy? That woman doesn’t know what totally disabled means but yet she can diagnose whether a person has muscle atrophy without ever examining me or seeing my body. My lawyer appealed my case but he told me that it would take the appeals court over a year to decide my appeal and, get this, if the appeals court agrees with my appeal, they are going to send my case back to the same judge and instruct her to hold another hearing and issue a new decision! Why would they send my case back to the same judge who doesn’t even know what the term “totally disabled” means?My lawyer said that even after the appeals court sends my case back to the same judge that it will take this judge another year or more to hold another hearing. So, if my appeal is successful, I will have to wait more than two more years before I have another hearing and then when I do, I will have to go back in front of this same stupid woman so she can just deny my case again. This is so absurd that I cannot even believe it is happening for real. It’s like something out of a weird movie or something. SSA is a rip off. I wish I had done like so many and just worked under the table. That my health and well being as well as my life in general is in the hands of such blatant incompetence and stupidity is for me, a death sentence. My own government is spending hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars to deny me from simply getting back my own money that I paid into SSA for the past 34 years is nothing short of a crime, especially when the person deciding my case has already admitted in writing that she doesn’t understand a term that any 4th grader comprehends fully. What’s really scary is that I am only one of millions of Americans who are subjected to this kind of inexcusable incompetence from our own government, a government we are paying for. The judge is no better than me. Her income comes from the same place my benefits would come from – the US taxpayer. Except, I paid for my benefits – it’s my own money for God’s sake!

    Should I appeal

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tammy,

      Yes, you should appeal. If the Appeals Council remands the case to the judge, the remand will include instructions to the judge regarding additional investigation needed or errors to be rectified. (Sometimes the second hearings are scheduled somewhat faster than the first.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  132. Julie Moore says:

    Hello Kay

    How important is the VE in the hearing. I getting ready to have my hearing in two weeks and I hear that some judges do not ask anything of the VE because of the strength of the case and documentation

    So if the judge is not asking the VE anything why do they have them in the hearing

    I just want to be prepare for anything

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Julie,

      The judge has a vocational expert at the hearing because he or she wants to be prepared for anything. (Sounds like a flippant answer on my part, but it is true.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  133. Lachelle says:

    Hello Kay
    The ALG made a decision on my case . A fully favorable decision. My case closed on November 7th 2014. When I call the head office for status the lady told me that yes it closed but she could not give any information until after November 2 1st. I then call my local office and was told it was too soon , it was still processing with them even though it closed out at hearing level I really don’t understand. Then they stated wait for award letter I should get in a few days. I have four kids no money three that are disabled and receiving SSI. I receive food stamps and Medicaid does that have anything to do with it . Or should I just wait until letter comes to see what I will get .do I still have to go in to my local hearing office for review could u please explain to me Mrs Kay . The decision was SSI (Supplemental Social security)

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lachelle,

      You will have to have an interview in person or by phone to update your financial situation since you originally filed your claim. This is needed before payment can be calculated and released. Your children’ SSI and your food stamps should not have any effect on your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  134. Jill Banks says:

    I went to court September 23, 2014. The ALJ has already made a decision and it was with a writer. On October 20, 2014 it went back to the ALJ from the writer and the ALJ still has it. Is it normal for the ALJ to have the decision this long for approval? I thought I would have received it in the mail by now. Also I am curious how long it will be before I start getting my payments since I was granted a fully favorable decision. Any information will be helpful since this is driving me crazy.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jill,

      How long it takes the judge to review the letter for accuracy depends on workloads. Once it is finally approved, it will be sent to another Social Security office before the approval letter is sent out to you, so it could be a month or more.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  135. shonda says:

    Hi there. I had my hearing before a alj in Aug 2014. It has been 60 days so I called to check status and was told there wasn’t anything in computer so to be expecting decision in mail with IN
    Next week or so. I live in tx. Don’t know if this makes difference but could you tell me if that makes sense or if I call tomorrow if I’m likely to get different answer. Like everyone else here it’s brutal waiting so long. Especially since most of your wait time actually comes from getting a court date to make it this far. Thanks in advance

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shonda,

      I don’t see any reason to question that the letter has been prepared. The time frame might be different for receiving the letter, especially if the decision is an approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  136. steve says:

    just have a question about getting an appeal. When you get your notice for the date of your appeal, how long in advance is the hearing schedule for? (are the hearings scheduled close to when you received notice of your appeal date? is it a couple weeks,month, months or is it like the waiting time to get an appeal date that takes over a year) i have been waiting 15 months now to get my appeal date and i don’t know how much longer i can hold on with no job and a child to take care of. If some one could give me a rough idea I would greatly appreciate it!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      I am not familiar with the distinction you are drawing between “appeal date” and hearing date. You will receive a notice with the date of the hearing about a month before the hearing. If you have new evidence to submit, I suggest gathering it now so you will have it to submit as soon as you get the hearing date. If you do not have an attorney, I recommend that you get one to assist you with the appeal.You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  137. Nadia says:

    I had to wait 7months for ssdi to deny my reconsideration.They say they don’t believe my bipolar disability kept me from my routine activity’s.They also gave me my last insured date which ended in 9/2014.I applied before that date expired. Can I still apply for a hearing and will they take in consideration that I applied before my expired insured date?Also I have only seen a doctor 3 times for Bipolar.My sister who is a registered nurse gets my prescriptions that I have to take for the rest of my life.Will they take that as medical evidence?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nadia,

      You can request a hearing claiming the same date of disability onset before September 2014. If you are approved with an onset before that date, you will be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Your sister probably needs to make a statement, but unless she is a psychiatric nurse practitioner, her statement will not carry much weight. It would be helpful to get a thorough evaluation with a psychiatrist and a letter from him or her describing any limitations you have and the basis for that opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  138. sarash says:

    I finally got my decision from my hearing and it was unfavorable I first applied for disability in 2009 and has been denied ever since I was hoping to get a break from my hearing but I see the judge reworded some things I said at my hearing so I’m wondering if getting a lawyer and doing a appeal to overturn the judges decision and plus add the current medical conditions I have,also the medications I take for my conditions but my past and still current conditions are mental problems bipolar, anxiety, depression, insomnia, plus I have carpel tunnel in both wrist an hands I have(current) ganglion cyst in my left wrist an right foot that has to be surgically removed plus(past/current) hyper extension of the knees to where I need surgery I have a heart problem I have a(current) liver condition(current) high blood pressure and scoliosis(current) and I just sprained my lumbar in my back so I’m just wondering if appealing the decision is a good ideal and obtaining a lawyer to help the appeal

    • sarash says:

      My hearing was in September 2014

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sarash,

      I do recommend an attorney for your appeal because there are rules about what the Appeals Council will consider when reviewing a judge’s decision. You can discuss your situation with an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  139. Latoya says:

    I finally heard back from my son’s ssi hearing office today. my letter was sent on the 25th of November but I have not recieved it so I went to the office today and it took to so long just to tell me that it was an unfavorable decision… do you know why it took so long? also what do suggest or possibly advise I do next? His hearing was on aug 29th, 2014. I orginally applied in may of 2012.thanks in advance!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Latoya,

      Read the judge’s decision carefully to see if you disagree with the judge’s reasons for denying the claim and to see if you think there are any mistakes of fact or procedure. If so, you can file a request for an Appeals Council review. If you do not have an attorney, it would be a good idea to discuss the claim with a Social Security attorney because special rules apply regarding what the Appeals Council will consider in its review.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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