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

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  1,338 Comments

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

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

Timeframe for Getting a Social Security Hearing Decision

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

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

When Benefits Start After a Favorable Hearing Decision

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

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

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

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  • Published: 7 months ago on March 3, 2016
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  • Last Modified: March 4, 2016 @ 4:05 pm
  • Filed Under: Hearings

1,338 Comments

  1. kelly says:

    I had a horrible judge who did a horrible job on my case. He made many mistakes and left out a lot of info on my case. So, I won federal appeal and I will be going in front of another judge. What are my chances of winning ssd?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kelly,

      The fact that the federal court remanded the claim indicates you have a reasonable chance for approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Denaud Egana says:

      Dear Kay, On July 6, 2016 I received a fully favorable decision from the AJL. The AJL’s ruling went all the way back to the date of my application in 2013. About three weeks ago, I received a call from a lady wo said she was from social security and that she was working to determine my benefits. She asked me a few questions about where I live and any sources of income. she also asked me about another property that I own. At any rate, I received a letter about two days ago from social securityadvising that I am to receive about $3000.00 in back pay and that I am not eligible for any benefits from henseforth.
      The lady that caculated my benefit has gotten all the information wrong. For example, I own a proprty that shows in current county records that it is valued at $8800.00.The lady used that figure to claim that I have more that $2000.00 in assets and i am therefore not qualified for benefits. However, when I spoke to the lady about the property, I informed her that the property is in complete disrepair and is uninhabitable. In addition to all of this, the current back taxes that I owe is at $6000.00. The County had the property listed for a tax sale but no purchase was made of the past due taxes. As mentioned above, the property is in complete disrepair and is uninhabitable. My question is, who do I appeal this decision to? Can i submit Pictures of the property that shows its uninhabitable? Another question that I have is related to this: The house that i live in belongs to a Trust not to me. I am the Trustee over the Trust. Can Social Security attribute to me the property that belongs to the trust? If the anwser is no, then Social Security cannot count the above mentioned uninhabitable property against me a second home or an asset. As such, can you give me some insight concerning tis matter as well?

      Sincerely,
      Denny

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Denaud,

        If you are the beneficiary of the trust, then the property belongs to you. You can appeal its value by filing an SSA-561 at your local office on the grounds that the equity value of the property and your other countable assets come to less than $2,000. To support this, submit the photos that you mentioned and get a realtor to write up a letter as the property’s market value and submit that together with proof that you owe $6,000 in back taxes. If your equity in the property (market value less tax debt) together with your other countable assets add up to $2,000 or less, you will be eligible.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  2. Kimberly Yarris says:

    Hi my name is Kim I just had a question regarding my disability and actually applied in 2010 I’ve been denied about 3 times in Florida I couldn’t get any kind of medical proper medical assistance due to Florida’s limitations I actually move back to Ohio and then I got a hearing for July 1st 2016 I have been approved for Medicaid and get lots of medical assistance due to the fact is that now I can actually see doctors because of being approved for Medicaid question is it’s been two and a half months I haven’t heard nothing I called today they told me the case was closed and a letter was sent out but nobody know what the answer is when they say closed does that mean my case has been denied and that is it I’m just curious

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kimberly,

      “Closed” just means that a decision has been made and the hearing decision letter has been out. If you don’t have the letter within ten days of when they said it was mailed, check to be sure they mailed it to the correct address. If needed, request a duplicate letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  3. S.Potter says:

    Kay,

    I had an ALJ hearing on Aug. 25th of 2016. The judge did not ask me any questions only my attorney. As my attorney was asking me questions I heard the judge say “she has a lot of limitations. When my attorney finish her questions, the judge did speak with the VE who called out about 4 codes. The judge then said “light work.” I have done sed work all my 30 years of work history. Before the hearing was over the judge could not decide on an onset date. He stated he wanted ro read the case again. Afterwards, my lawyer said I had won. In my portal file it states I should be favorable, just don’t know onset date. Kay, I’m a nervous wreck. Does this mean I’m really approved or can I be denied again. In my reconsideration appeal they notice I had limitations but they denied me. My limitions have gotten worse and 3 of them meets SS medical blue book. Please advise.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear S.,

      The judge’s saying that he had to decide on an onset date supports your attorney’s opinion that your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jenniffer Baker says:

        Hi Kay, I couldn’t figure out how to start my own thread so I’m asking here. I had my hearing today and I feel it went pretty well. The judge was very nice and asked me a lot of questions. He asked the VE if I could do my past jobs and he said no. He then asked if I could do any other jobs and the VE came back with 2 but when the judge asked if I could do them with my limitations the VE said no. The judge thanked him and said that’s all he needed to know. He then told me he knew how hard it was for me to be there and we were done. My attorney didn’t even really need to cross examine the VE and said he feels really good about how it went. I’m just curious if it’s normal for the judge to only ask one hypothetical or if it’s a good thing. Thank you.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Jenniffer,

          The judge apparently accepted the vocational expert’s testimony and did not see a need to follow up with more questions. It is nothing to be concerned about.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Tasha says:

            Hi Kay, I also can’t figure out how to start my own tread. I went to 3 hearing and on the 3rd one, the judge said, he agreed that I was unable to work and was gonna rush my case since I’ve waited so long. Well, now its in some kind of writing process. He’s finish with his part. What exactly is that and how long does that usually takes?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Tasha,

            The judge’s decision is being written up in a letter for the judge to review and sign. This process can take a week or two or a month or more depending on how backed up your hearing office is.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  4. Chanel says:

    Hi Kay,
    I had my hearing on Aug. 18, 2016. It was flagged as a medical dire need and I also have a congressional inquiry. My attorney says, I won but I haven’t gotten an approval letter yet. She even contacted my former workers comp attorney several hours later that day requesting a copy of my stipulation agreement of my settlement from Aug 2015 to forward to the payment center. I’ve been approved for food stamps as a homeless person since July 2016 because I have no permanent place to live and I’m in jeopardy of losing my car if I don’t get money soon. It’s at least a place I can sleep in. I contacted my congressional constituent on Sept 9 to give a temporary address for one week. He asked if I heard anything about my hearing as of that day. I said, I had not heard anything. Every time I call, I’m told it’s in editing or in writing. Then I told him, I won’t have a place to live by this week but someone might pay for a few nights in a hotel. He then said, he’d call again the day we talked and I told him I have proof from the dept of children and family servicess showing I’m approved for food stamps and it states my address as homeless. He asked for a copy and forwarded it to the hearing office that day. I desperately need my money by Friday. I’ve exhausted all the help I can get. The judge already knew my living situation but my attorney didn’ts specifically tell her I’m homeless at the hearing and she told me, I’d just have to wait. I was able to successfully get my claim flagged as a dire need and a congressional inquiry with my hearing date moved up more than a year ahead on my own. I didn’t get this far to end up on the streets anyway. Can I get this money in a few days? What is left for me to do? My workers comp was settled so that there wouldn’t be an offset , I’m currently about to be two mos behind on student loans but I requested a forbearance last week due to me not having an income. I owe local taxes for a business I once had in 2013 but I closed it. I don’t owe any other federal, state taxes or child support. I just need least enough to keep my car from getting repossessed so I’ll have a place to sleep.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chanel,

      Given that your appeal is in the stage of getting a letter prepared, you should have a decision soon. A medical approval will not result in immediate money. The local office will calculate and authorize Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, but you cannot expect to have payment immediately. A financial update interview has to occur first. As soon as you have the letter you can request an early appointment based on dire need. At that appointment you can request an emergency advance payment due to your housing situation. The minute that you have the medical approval, I suggest that you communicate with the lender that you have been approved for benefits and will have the money to make payments and, when you get the back pay, catch up the arrears. In the meantime, it is unlikely the car will be physically repossessed because you do not have a permanent address for them to locate it. Note that if you are approved for Social Security Disability (SSD), you must disclose the worker comp settlement because settlements are prorated out over multiple months and cause an offset against SSD in those months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Chanel says:

        I see. I called the hearing office today and they said it was waiting to be signed by the ALJ and it would be forwarded electronically to the payment center. I was told I may qualify for both ssi and ssdi. I just hoped my congressman person was able to get something done quickly. It has been at least a week since he has tried to get them the info over. I’m just so tired of the waiting.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Chanel,

          The associate at the hearing office saying that the decision would be forwarded to the payment center makes it sound as if your claim has been approved.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  5. Alan says:

    I had my hearing on Monday in which I represented myself. The hearing went well. I even submitted a pre-hearing brief and the judge seemed very impressed byit and told me I did a good job on it during the hearing. I got the VE to testify that I couldn’t do any work. The judge has made his decision and now it’s been sent to the writers after 3 days, is that a good sign I’ve been approved?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alan,

      The VE’s testimony and the judge’s remark about your brief being well done and are more an indicator of possible approval than the speed with which the decision was made.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  6. douglas brewer says:

    i have a anxiety disorder and have applied but been denied i had my hearing and thought things went well the judge put out for my records and said he would accept letters from close family explain what the see when i have my attacks my hopes are high but i call a few weeks ago to see if there was any update and was told the judge send the decision to an underwriter to write it up and send it back to the judge so he could sign it and send it to me i have checked the mail everyday since and still nothing so i called today and found out the decision was made and mailed a month ago but i still haven’t received it so they are having to resend it and that’s all they told me so no my hopes turned to worries any insight you have would be greatly appreciated

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Douglas,

      I can’t predict whether you will be approved or denied. If it is a denial, pay attention to the date on the replacement letter to see if it is the date the first letter was originally sent or the date of the replacement. You should have sixty days from the date the replacement was sent out to appeal; however, if the original month-old date is on the replacement letter and you decide to appeal, to be safe file the appeal within sixty days of that date.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  7. Trinity says:

    Greetings. My hearing Judge told me I was fully approved, and he apologized for being behind on paperwork, but that he would send out my official letter within 3 to 4 weeks. My attorney told me we won 3 years back and that SSI office would be contacting me because my SSDI only covered up to $680 a month and I should get a total of $733, SSI making up the difference.
    However, my question is about SSI updating my finances/housing for 3 years. What if during a part of this I was “homeless” and living in a tent? What if part of this time, I slept in my car? Is that considered “free housing”, lol? I had food stamps the whole 3 years, and renting a room from a guy for the part of the 3 years that I wasn’t homeless. Will SSI need a lease or receipts, or both? Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Trinity,

      You will not be charged with in-kind support and maintenance for period that you did not have shelter. If you did not have a written rental agreement for your room rental or lost it, try to get a copy of the agreement or a statement from your landlord of the dates you rented a room from him or her, the amount of rent you paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  8. Jennifer says:

    My husband’s hearing was June 6th 2016. Over 100 days ago. The judge was extremely tough. He is diabetic with gastroparesis and neuropathy. He had pages and pages of critical care unit stays in the hospital. The vocational expert agreed that he couldn’t work. But the judge was just sooo tough, almost condescending. He had a congressional flag on his case. It’s just taking so long! Apparently the decision has been made, but we are still waiting waiting waiting. Does it matter the length of time we have waited? Could that be good or bad?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      If the decision has been made, now you are waiting for the letter to be written and signed. The length of time is not necessarily an indication of the decision. As you describe your husband’s condition and the vocational expert’s testimony, if your husband is denied, I recommend appealing with the assistance of an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front, and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  9. Diana says:

    Dear Kay,
    I was approved in early September by the judge for SSDI disability. He also agreed that my start time of disability was October of 2014. I am wondering with the automated Medicare insurance starting once you’ve had benefit payments for 2 years if the Medicare timeframe of two years backdates to the start of your disability or if literally starts the tow-year-countdown as of the first time you get benefits paid from SS? Another words in October of 2016 or October 2018? Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Diana,

      Medicare starts after twenty-four months of benefits have been paid including back pay. Benefits begin the later of twelve months before you filed your application or the sixth full calendar month of disability (April 2015).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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