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What is the difference between a fully favorable and a partially favorable Social Security Disability decision?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  98 Comments

Learn about a partially favorable versus a fully favorable Social Security Disability decision and learn about appealing a partially favorable decision.

Claim limitationsA Fully Favorable Social Security Disability Decision

A fully favorable Social Security Disability Decision means that your claim has been approved and your benefits will begin based on the date of disability that you claimed and that you will receive ongoing monthly benefits.

A Partially Favorable Social Security Disability Decision

In contrast, a partially favorable decision means that your claim has been approved, but with limitations that will cause you to receive less money than a fully favorable decision would have. There are two situations that result in partially favorable decisions. The decision on your claim might be partially favorable because Social Security determined that you became disabled on a date later than the one you claimed; and therefore, your benefits will start later. Or, the decision on your claim might be partially favorable because Social Security has determined that your disability has ended and that you will receive a one-time-only payment.

Consider a Social Security Disability Appeal

If you receive a partially favorable Social Security Disability decision, look at the decision carefully. If you believe a mistake has been made, you have the right to appeal. At this point, it would be a good idea to get legal assistance from an attorney who is experienced with Social Security Disability claims. For information on how to appeal, appeal deadlines, and how attorneys get paid, visit our articles “I Was Denied Social Security Disability. What Can I Do?” and “How Do Social Security Disability Attorneys Get Paid for Representing You in Your Disability Claim”

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  • Published: 9 months ago on March 3, 2016
  • By:
  • Last Modified: December 5, 2016 @ 5:32 pm
  • Filed Under: Appeals
  • Linda

    Hello Kay
    is it true that now in New York (Sample) if you applied in Feb 2014 and get approve now for SSD AND SSI that they would only pay back pay of one year not more?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Linda,

      SSI has never paid benefits before the date of application. Any back pay will begin the month of application if you applied on the first of the month; otherwise it begins the month after the month of application. Social Security Disability (SSD) has always been limited to twelve months before the month of application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Linda

        Thank You.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Linda.

  • faye love

    do we get a raise on our checks in january 2017

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Faye,

      The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) this year is .3%. You can figure your new benefit amount by multiplying your current benefit by 1.003. For example $1,000 x .003 = $1,003. The increase will appear in benefit checks paid in January.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Emma

    Can a ssdi partially favorable decision be made by an ssa alj at an otr review?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Emma,

      An on-the-record (OTR) decision has to be fully favorable; otherwise, you have the right to a hearing. The only exception might be if in your claim you both claimed a disability onset date and asserted a date that your disability ended and the judge agreed with both.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Emma

        Hi Kay. Thank You So Much For This Information, It Is Very Helpful. Have A Blessed Day.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Emma.

  • August

    THANK YOU. I ONLY APPLY FOR SSDI NOT SSI CAN I APPLY FOR SSI AS WELL.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear August,

      You can apply for SSI. Benefits would start in November and your Social Security would be reduced by the amount of SSI paid, so there may be no advantage to you except perhaps getting some income a little earlier.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • August

    I got approve for partiall favorable and my and my onset date was april 30 2015 but the judge changed it to march 15 2016 will i ne getting any backpay.I am not understanding this

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear August,

      If you were approved for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), your benefits will begin with October 2016 to be paid in November 2016 and there will be no back pay because the first five full calendar months of disability are not paid. If you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your benefits will begin the later of April 2016 or the month after the month in which you applied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Levi

    I just received my daughter letter from ssi,it states fully favorable, and also with the letter, was a fee agreement paper I guess for lawyer,have u any ideal what is going on,I’m lost

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Levi,

      If an attorney represented you, the attorney has the right to collect a fee from our back benefits. You would have signed such an agreement when he or she started to represent you. You do not say whether this is new agreement to signed or it is a copy of your already signed agreement. If it requires a signature, check to see if the fee is the same or less than 25% to a maximum of $6,000. If it is not, ask the hearing office why a new agreement was sent and/or talk with your attorney for an explanation. If needed seek independent legal advice about what is legally required.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Randy

    As of July 1 2016 my SSDI case is in a closed status, my lawyer is telling me this means a decision is made but being audited! Is this true? And if so how long before a decision after case is put in “closed” status?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Randy,

      Given how long the claim has been in closed status, it is likely that it is undergoing a random quality assurance (QA) review as your attorney said; although usually a letter notifying the claimant of the review is sent. If the QA review does not result in the claims examiner doing more investigation, the review should not take longer than two months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • L.L.

    I received a letter saying to send updated medical records to see if a fully favorable decision could be made without a hearing. It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve submitted records, how long should or will it take before I know something?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear L.L.,

      I cannot predict how long the review will take. When it has been completed, you will either receive an approval letter or a date for a hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Loretha Covington

    Hi Kaye I filed my claim in February of 2014 but the judge put my onset of January 2016 and I won’t get no back pay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Loretha,

      See my response to your previous post. You will get SSI back pay, but no SSDI back pay.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Loretha Covington

    Hi Kay I received a decision on disability I qualified for both SSI and ssdi they paid me SSI for 5 months of 488.67 my ssdi won’t kick in till September but I was wondering how do I get retroactive back pay should I file an appeal please help me I wanna make the right decision

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Loretha,

      A need a bit more information to respond. On what date did you file your claims and what date did Social Security establish as your date of disability onset?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Loretha

    How can I get fully favorable disability

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Loretha,

      I suggest that you read the articles under the “Apply SSD” and “Claim Process” tabs at the top of this webpage. The articles will give you an overview of the claim process.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Carmena

    Hello Kay. I was not sure how to use this website so I made a reply somewhere else but did not get an answer. Well here’s some questions. Jan 11,2016 was my court date finally. We finished and we’re waiting for a reply (my lawyer and me). In the mail I received a letter stating it was continued which we could not understand because we thought it was all done. Wait some more till May 4,2016 went to court thought it went well and sure enough I got a fully favorable decision on May 20,2016. Have not heard anything yet. Still waiting. They say I did not make enough for my daughter to get benefits. I only qualify for ssdi. I will get $495.00 a month only they said and since my onset date is June 30,2013 will I be able to collect from them that date on minus five months?? When can I expect to hear about how much it is. How do I know when it’s been too long. What month will they start benefits?? Anything you can tell me??

    • Carmena

      Hi Kay I just looked on website and the ssa web sorry and it states that my back pay would be from December 2014 to April 2016. And that my first payment will be in July of 252.00. When my monthly amount will be 495.80 minus the Medicare would be $373. Why is it like 253?? For July. I got a fully favorable decision with June 2013 as date of disability started. I fold in January 2014. Should I not collect from December 2013?? Please help!????!? Thank you so much

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Carmena,

        Payment for months before application is limited to twelve months. So even though your five-month waiting period ended in November, benefits do not begin until January 2014, which is twelve months before the month of your application.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Carmena,

      Your Social Security benefits will begin to accrue the later of December 2013 or twelve months before the initial application that was approved by the judge. If you have not received benefits by the end of July, ask the local office to followup to the payment center.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Eloise Glover

    I received a letter today stating an update and requesting new information on my condition to determine if a decision can be made fully favorable without holding a hearing. Is this a good thing to get this?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Eloise,

      Yes, it’s a good thing. The judge is considering approving your claim without a hearing if current medical information does not indicate significant improvement. If the judge decides a favorable decision cannot be made on the record, you will get a hearing to present whatever you want and for the judge to gather any needed information.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • carnell

    i was sent a fully favorable decision letter for title II and title XVI. The letter stated that i would get back pay from Sept 2013 to AUG 2014. Does this mean i would get back pay from SSI and SSDI? the local office called and got my bank info,how long will it be before i get my money and whats the minimum SSI and SSDI pays?

    thanks carnell

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Carnell,

      You will be paid SSI (Title XVI) first. Any SSDI (Title II) back pay you are eligible for will be reduced by SSI paid for the same period. Minimum monthly SSI is $1. I do know the exact Social Security minimum benefit, but I think it is about $120. (As an aside, you say that you got a fully favorable decision but that back pay will be for a limited period of time [September 2013 through August 2014], which would usually indicate only a partially favorable decision.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Shameeka

    My husband was found fully favorable for disability. However, it doesn’t state if it is for SSI or SSDI. How can we find out?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shameeka,

      Look in the approval letter. Title II is SSDI; title XVI is SSI.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • joe

    I was just told by the psych doc that he was given me a favorable decision to be reinstated for ssdi. What does that mean and will I have to go to the hearing that is schedule for july

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joe,

      A consulting physician does not make the decision to approve or deny a claim. The doctor submits a report with your medical findings and the judge either makes a favorable decision from the records or you get a hearing in July to present any testimony or evidence you have in support of your claim. If there is a hearing, the information given at the hearing is considered before a decision is made.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Talitha

    I was just approved for partially favorable. What does that mean

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Talitha,

      Either your disability date was established to be later than you claimed or you were approved for a limited time because you were determined to have recovered. The letter that notified you of the partially favorable approval explains which of these situations applies.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Natasha

    Hi Kay.. I received a fully favorable decision on 4/20 ..What happens next

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Natasha,

      The next step is to wait for your Title II Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits to be calculated and paid by the regional payment center, which can take a couple months or more. If you were approved for Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI) also, the local office should contact you for a financial update within a couple weeks.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Enrique

    Hey I received a fully favorable decision for both ssd and Ssi what does this mean and how long will the whole process take

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Enrique,

      Your approval means that you are eligible for both benefits, either SSI changing to SSDI or for both ongoing if your SSDI is low enough.

      Your local office will contact you to update your financial information and will then pay your monthly SSI and issue installment payments for your back SSI benefits. After SSI has been paid, your SSDI will be paid. The SSDI back pay will be reduced by SSI benefits already paid for the same months. The entire process through getting your SSDI back pay is likely to take three or four months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Johanna

    Hi Kay,

    After a 3 year process I received a fully favorable, decision from the ALJ. It says my claim is for disability, and disability insurance. I didn’t apply for ssi benefits, is this something they do automatically? And as I’ve read on other comments, this does mean I’m approved correct? I applied Sept 2013, but was approved with an onset date of May 2013. Does that mean I get back pay from both? I apologize as this is all very confusing.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Johanna,

      When you applied for Social Security Disability, you were also screened for financial eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Apparently you qualified financially for both, so the medical review was for both. Your Social Security benefits will begin to accrue in November 2013 after the five-month unpaid waiting period. Your SSI benefits will start in October 2013 unless you applied on May 1, in which case they will start in September. SSI will be paid first. Your Social Security benefits for past months will be reduced by the amount of SSI back benefits paid for the same period.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Jackie

      I recieved a favorable decision and was told to come In with a friend or family to become my representive payee does that mean I am approved ?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Jackie,

        Yest you have been approved. You would not be asked to bring in a person to serve as your payee unless you were medically approved.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Ernesto Garcia

    HI KAY,I JUST RECEIVED A FULLY FAVORABLE DESITION FROM SSDI BUT IS SAYS POR A PERIOD OF TIME ,WHAT THAT MEANS? ONLY DISABILITY FOR A WHILE ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ernesto,

      Please post again with the wording you are referring to so that I can respond.

      Thank you,
      Kay

  • nikita

    I filed for an appeal on my reconsideration in February, they’ve already made a decision and said a letter has been sent, is this good or bad because I was told it could take up to 4 months

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nikita,

      It is hard to say. If you submitted strong, clear new evidence, it could mean an approval. If you simply disagreed without new evidence, it could be a denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jay

    I recieved a letter in the mail I was fully favorable letter I called the hearing office and they said the case was closed and allow 14 days and I have not recived a awards letter or nothing yet. Also called the social security main number and one said have paitence with us and called again and they said thirty days, from March 9 2016. What can I go on since I am hearing so many different things.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jay,

      If the benefits for which you were approved are Social Security Disability (SSDI), a regional payment center calculates and authorizes payment. The call center, hearing office, and local office have no way of knowing exactly how long it will take. Usually it is a month or two, sometimes more. If you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the local office should contact you within ten to fourteen days for a financial update interview. If that is the case, go to your local office if possible, take the approval letter, and ask for the interview.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Christy

    Kay
    I received a fully favorable decision in writing today. How can I determine if the approval is for SSI and SSDI ?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christy,

      The letter may refer to Title II of the Social Security Act to mean Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Title XVI of the Social Security Act to refer to SSI.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • earnest

    just recieved a fully favorable decision all the way from 2010 kay when would i get award letter and when would i see this money SSI FULLY FAVORABLE DECISION

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Earnest,

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits begin a month or two after you get the favorable hearing decision. If you also have an application for Social Security, it will be paid after SSI has been paid. If you have an SSI claim and you have not been contacted by the office for a financial update within a couple weeks of the hearing approval letter, contact the local office and ask for an appointment for the update interview.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Anthony

        When does SSDI income come in if I am fully favorable

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Anthony,

          It can take a couple months to get Social Security Disability (SDI) started after you receive a fully favorable hearing decision.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Denise Miller

    Hello, I received a letter from my lawyers office stating something in reference to a Fully Favorable decision. Does this mean that I’m approved?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Denise,

      Yes, the letter means you were approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • jay

    dear kay
    my husband just went to see the dds and the doctor told him that he should be hearing from social security in 6 to 8 weeks is that good or bad

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jay,

      The information you have provided does not provide any clue about the outcome of your husband’s claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • jay

        he had two ruptured brain aneurysm and we filed in feb.2013 he was denied and we appeals he was sent to one of the social security doctors last friday and the dr said to him that he will be hearing from social security in 6 to 8 weeks is that a good thing or bad

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jay,

          A decision will be rendered on the claim and a notification sent whether the claim is being approved or denied, so the physician saying that Social Security would complete the decision in six or eight weeks is not a sign of either approval or denial.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Catherine. Moses

    How much do ssi pay , do i go to the office. And show them my letter an dee what’s. Next. I need. Iy i need a doctor. Thank u Catherine

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Catherine,

      Please tell me what the letter is about so I can try to respond.

      Thank you,
      Kay

      • Dave

        I had my hearing back in October and I still not receive a Letter or anything about a decision on my claim..
        So, I called last week and I was told that Judge made a decision on my claim month ago…
        Could this means that i won my claim?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Dave,

          A decision can be either an approval or a denial. Did they say the letter was being prepared or that the letter had been sent? If the letter has been sent more than a week ago, I suggest that you request a duplicate copy.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Juliet

    Hi Kay,
    I finally got my fully favorable decision for ssdi. The onset date is May,2013. Does that means that I will receive benefits starting then or will it be six months from then? Also, does it means that I will get medicare now? I know that I am not eligible for medicaid.
    Kay, I really do appreciate all the help that you have given me along the way
    Thanks,
    Juliet

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Juliet,

      Your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits will begin to accrue the later of November 2013 or twelve months before the month of your initial application. Medicare coverage will start after you have received twenty-four months of benefits including any back pay months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Juliet

        Kay, thanks and I have greatly appreciated your help throughout this long journey.
        Juliet

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Juliet.

  • Rosalind Johnson

    I want to know I got a letter in the mail and said fully favorable do that mean that I won my case and going to get my money.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rosalind,

      A fully favorable decision is a medical approval for benefits. It can take sixty days or more for benefits to start.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tiff

    My on set date is back in 08 will they pay me that far back?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tiff,

      Social Security Disability benefits will begin to accrue the later of the sixth full calendar month of disability or twelve months before the filing of the initial application that was approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Bobby

    I just got my fully favorable decision. I am guessing they all say another office will process my decision and all that jazz. And it says it can take 60 days. Mine is for ssi. Just wondering what they will do now?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bobby,

      The local Social Security office should contact you for an update on your finances since you file your claim. After that they will release the next monthly payment followed by the back pay. If the back pay is more than $2,199, it will be paid in up to three installments six months apart.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tiff

        So I was told I have to set up an accout for my backpay can it be on a debit card?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Tiff,

          I believe that back pay can be sent to a DirectExpress card rather direct deposit to a bank account; however, there may be a dollar limit to the amount that can be sent DirectExpress. I suggest that you check with the Social Security Administration.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Lavette

    How common is it for a judge at your ssd hearing to make a deal if l l would let them move my onset date to 2014 instead of my original onset date of 2011? Then the judge would approve my disability?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lavette,

      It is fairly common when the judge determines that there is not enough medical evidence to support disability on the date that claimed. If you are still insured for Social Security Disability on the date in 2014, accepting that disability date would assure approval. If you do not accept the date, it is likely the judge will deny your claim and you will have to appeal if you want to continue continue to pursue the claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Wayne

        Kay,
        My case is similar, but the judge waited 3 weeks and called my attt to say ‘it was close’. He would approve my claim if I agreed to amend my onset date to the exact date of my first appt with my Psyc Dr. which was 3 months after my application! My physical records for diabetes, neurapothy, CTS, foot and knee mobility issues, nerve pain in my rear are extensive dating back to 2009. I also had psyc treatment until my insurance expired and i couldn’t afford all drs and meds. But my primary for 15 years continued Rx as long as I saw him annually, all out of pocket, except for free meds provided by mfg low income plans.
        I feel like an innocent man being offered 10 years in prison if I plead guilty or risk life if I I don’t. My atty agreed. I found out my atty didn’t provide all my records, some i had to get the weekend of my hearing.
        Should I appeal the atty 25% fee, can I appeal my onset date as I feel I was coerced by the judge ?
        (lowest approval rating in the state of CA)

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Wayne,

          You can ask Social Security to approve a lower amount giving your reasons. They will make a decision at their discretion, which cannot be appealed. If your attorney agreed to the change of onset date without your approval, you might be able to appeal the onset date; however, if appeal the date, it reopens the issue of whether you became disabled at all.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • connie

    My daughter got approved for both programs and the local office approved ssi but denied social security i have to appeal that what should I do

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Connie,

      The first thing to do is to understand the reason for the Social Security denial to be sure you want to appeal. Your daughter is a minor so she would not be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, which require having worked and earned work credits. If you applied for dependent benefits for her on your or your father’s earnings record, then you need to look at the reason for the denial and say in the appeal why it was wrong.

      If you need help, I suggest that you contact 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 sending your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • angel

    Finally received my fully favorable decision after such a long battle. I first went to court in 2012 and was denied went through more appeal got another hearing may of 2015 just received fully favorable letter last week. Now the hard part is over. How long do it take to receive payment

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Angel,

      The guideline is for you to be paid within sixty days; however, the length of time varies from less to more than sixty days.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • angel

        Thanks kay

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Angel.

  • kaprinus

    Hi Kay,
    In late 2013 I received a closed period judgment for part of 2011 and 2012. I chose closed period because I appealed, and went back to work and couldn’t wait anymore for ssd. GOOD CHECK, bad move. About 6months after I got the check my symptoms got even worse then they first were in 2011 when I applied. I finally stopped working and have reapplied. Since the judge approved me partially, will have go through the standard wait times, or will it be speed tracked?
    I just don’t thin I cant wait 2 years like I did last time, but this time there is NO way I am going back to work.
    Thanks Kay
    Kaprinus

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kaprinus,

      Your new claim will be processed the same as any other, though if you didn’t, it would be good to let the claims examiner know that had been approved previously, especially if it was for the same medical condition(s). If the medical conditions are the same and you are approved for benefits, you will not have a new five-month, unpaid waiting period because your recovery was for less than five year.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • kaprinus

        Wow,
        Thank you Kay. I received a closed period judgment last time. I will let you know what the outcome is. I just spoke to the DDS examiner. I hope I get approved for on going benefits.
        Kaprinus

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Kaprinus.

          • kaprinus

            Hi Kay,
            Going on month 2 into month 3 of waiting while the states disability determination service is reviewing my records. It does look like I am going to have quite a long time without a decision. Did you mean they wont withhold the 5 month back pay? Or it will take 5 months or less to determine if I am disabled? Any insight would help me out 🙂
            Thanks
            Kaprinus

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Kaprinus,

              It can take two to five months to get a decision. Social Security Disability law also provides for a five-month waiting period that is not paid. The waiting period begins with the date your disability began, not with the date of your application.

              Sincerely,
              Kay