You are here:  Home  >  Hearings  >  Current Article

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

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  945 Comments

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.

social security disability hearing dateWaiting 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?”

How long will I wait to get a Social Security disability hearing decision and what should I do while I wait?
5 (100%) 1 vote

  • Published: 9 months ago on March 3, 2016
  • By:
  • Last Modified: December 5, 2016 @ 5:53 pm
  • Filed Under: Hearings
  • Susie

    Hi Kay,

    I had my hearing for SSDI on Sept 19th. I called ODAR on Nov 16th for an update. I spoke to a very nice lady who told me a decision had been made and it was in unassigned writing. I called again today, Dec 7th and spoke to the same lady and she said my file was still there at ODAR and apologized. I asked her if it had been assigned to a writer and she said it had not. I asked if they were backlogged and she said very much so because they were having to assist San Bernardino. My question is, why would she say that my file is still there at ODAR? I know if you are approved, the file goes to payment processing. Where does it go if it’s denied after a hearing? My hope, of course, is that she was saying it hadn’t gone to payment processing yet. Just reading the tea leaves here. 🙂

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susie,

      If no decision has been made by the judge, then the appeal would not have gone to the letter writing department to write up the judge’s decision. It’s not really possible to know why the first person gave you incorrect information. The approval or denial letter will be sent out to you at the same time as the file is sent out. In case of denial the claim is sent to ODAR in Falls Church, Virginia for storage pending a possible appeal in case of denial. In case of approval, it is sent to the payment center for review and authorization of payment. If Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is involved, the local office is also notified so that a financial update can be obtained from you and SSI benefits can be calculated and paid by the local office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Diana

    I asked a question on this post and it was on here and now I can’t find and I don’t see it on here.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Diana,

      Comments are not posted until they are answered, which is usually twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Yours was answered today, so you should be able to see it now.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Dee

        Dear Kay ,I have been denied 3 time by paper March 2014 and March 2015.I got a Rep- hearing Aug 2016 , over 100 days. Complicated I work up to 2015..never over gainful money.PT ran out doctor refer to Y for pool aqua therapy.Been in Pain management years for meds and injections I have Rheumatoid for Psoratic Arthritis , Fibromyeleia ,Collagen vascular disease, tarlov cyste disease n spine, bulged nw herniated cervical has neck effected ,arms and thumb first 2 fingers are numb.My feet numb in toes ,vascular pain th entire feet.I have to go to Y to get in water and bike to help stiffness and pain. Why is it taking this long -Do I stand a chance , so depressed .My neuro doctor order neuro phyc -gait walking is off and memory failed.I had 2013 torn tendon ischel rear left side, left me limp that eroded hip. I am 49, will be 50 next month.I worked 33 years and pad n double self employed for 20 of those years.Im 5 month behind on rent and beyond stressed.My heart had bee monitored for irregular fast heart beats .Im on depression meds ,BP, muscle and narcotic .The VE mentions mom and pop gas attendant or parking lot.My doctors form show I missed lot of work and with cane and not being able to sit a nd stand longer than 30 min-leave me out.I have alway been sick all my life from toxic shock syndrome to tumor on lung 24 pregnant . also have IGG mucous immune deficiency .Just not sure what is the hold up. Can you help me. Thank you ,Dee

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Dee,

          You can submit a dire need statement to the hearing office on the basis that you are five months behind in your rent. Did the judge or your attorney ask the vocational expert whether you could do the gas station attendant using a cane and/or with thirty-minute standing limitations. If not, you may have a basis for appeal if you are denied.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Dee

            Thank you Kay -No they did not.Im getting on that right away .Thanks ,Dee

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Dee.

          • Dee

            Kay ,I called the new system online 2 x .First lady sad unfavorable on the phone.I was devastated , crying -How can this be and n over the phone .The 2nd lady said she made a mistake doing that .You have to await the mail.Im so so upset.The one lady on here had a online reading like mine2/02/2016
            Appeal Under Review

            A medical decision has been made and we are working to process your decision. A Social Security Representative may contact you or your appointed representative directly if we need any additional documents or information.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Dee,

              It is correct that decisions are not supposed to be given out over the phone. It seems as if the new system is taking some time to settle in and errors are being made in communicating decisions orally. The letter is especially important at the hearing level because whether a claim is approved or denied, the notification is a several page letter explaining the reasons. If a denial, the letter helps the claimant decide whether or not to appeal further.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

    • Patricia

      Dear Ms. Kay.
      I have been doing extensive reasearch online for the past month desperately trying to make sense of my situation. I found your site. I hope that i’m doing this right & that you get this. I will attempt to give you a snapshot of my dilemma.
      HELP! I’m in the dark about my claim. Abandoned by two attorneys! I am 61 years old. Have not had health insurance since 2013 so patient care & documenatation has been very limited — also out of pocket. Charged. Currently in debt 30k from medical and living expenses.
      First attorney withdrew. NOTICEABLY right after it was determined I had a low approval ALJ. Sought new attorney 2 months prior to my hearing, which was August 30, 2016. I was in a lot of discomfort-pain that day, no sleep, overwhelmed & confused. Right after hearing attorney was elated, while walking swiftly out the door saying to me: “She’s going to approve you, she’s going to approve you, you did great.” Off he goes rushing to his car. I had to ask him when will I find out. He said two months. Anyway, I was totally confused….what just happened in there?! How does he know this?! The ALJ asked me a few personal questions: Do I live alone, how much do I weigh, what were my meds for the sarcoid/chronic broncitis, how long was I doing that particular job. I remember the VE saying no to the hypotheticals put forth by the AlJ. No attorney cross examination. No questions-discussion regarding restrictions, pain, limitations, etc. And if I remember correctly…My attorney only spoke 2X. Told the ALJ how my inflammatory arthritis started in my shoulders in 2009 and he asked me one question. Could I pick up a 5-lb bag of sugar and move it from one side of the table to the other. I said yes! In the end the ALJ asked me if there was anything that I’d like to say. Respectfully, I said “I’ve given it my best shot Judge. I’m not here because I want to be, I’m here because I have to be.”
      I was a professional in my career for 38+ years Kay. Steady work history for 40+. Excellent work ethic. First attorney submitted a number of my official job related performance reviews. Anyway…..
      My health has been deteriorating rapidly over the past 4 years, primarily due to my breathing and arthritic issues. Filing for ssdi was a last resort for me. I do have a little part time position, out of sheer desperation, to avoid being homeless. 2 days week, 14 hrs, far from SGA. It’s considered an UWA in my claim.
      I did not decide to go see a Rhuematalogist until 2 months prior to my hearing, due to expense. $$$ I desperatley want to know what was wrong with me but i also felt it was an investment into my claim. (1K later)
      There is not much in my file due to no insurance but a Pulmonologist diagnosed me with Sarcoidosis/Persistent Asthma in 2014. Three other Drs captured Chronic Broncitis. Current Permanent Handicap Parking Permit from PCP. She diagnosed me with Osteoarthritis but had been telling me for the past two years how I need to see a specialist. A Rheumatologist.
      Osteoarthritis was first diagnosed in my shoulders and knees by my former Orthopedic surgeon in 2012. I had right rotator cuff surgery in 2010. Arthritic issues started in 2009 in my shoulders and have worked their way throughout my entire body.
      Diagnosed Claim Impairments: Osteoarthritis, Chronic Broncitis, Sarcoidosis-Granulomas on lungs, Asthma, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Anxiety. Note: Dire need & congressional inquiry from senator attached to my claim.
      A month after hearing I get an email from senators office. Tried contacting attorney via phone 2x. No call back. Same thing when I called his office to ask him what he had me sign at the end of hearing. He just slid it next to me. I had to call the ODAR and ask if they knew what is was. (no obligation post hearing, evidently he thinks I’ve already been approved.) It was my agreeing to change onset date. That said, after I receive the email from senators office about post hearing development, I called the attorney 2X. No call back. I decided to forward the email from the senator to get a response because he’s not returning my phone calls. According to the senators email i am in post hearing development, alj needs evidence, connect with your attorney, etc. What exactly does the judge need? I don’t know! 3 days later, attorney finally responds with a call and a lousy attitude. The ALJ asked for written interrogatories from the VE. What was all no’s by the VE in the hearing, is now yes to the two interogatories. Attorney proceeds to make derogatory remarks about the ALJ while denying that he ever told me that i was approved. I was very upset to say the least. His misconduct and lack of integrity. He was not only an ineffective communucator but he hardly did anything on my claim. He withdraws!! 2 days later I receive his withdrawal letter in the mail and how he won’t be collecting any fees. And his difficulty communicating with me. WHAT?! On top of all this and now he makes it about me?! How dishonest and insulting. He should be disbarred. Moving on….
      I had a scheduled follow up with the Rhuematologist where I brought her some radiology documentation about the very large hemangioma and addional smaller ones on my liver. She appeared relieved that i brought this to her attention. She’s a very conscientious and compasionate individual. I was very fortunate to have found her. Anyway, she said that i need 3 MRI’s. But because of my lack of funds and health insurance i cannot afford continued patient care. She printed out all my symptoms along with a prescription for pain management. Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia, Sarcoidosis & Osteoarthritis. Pain Mgmt I still cannot afford! Prior to, my PCP was prescribing Tramadol for the pain but I had to stop taking it because it was causing shallow breathing.
      Where I no longer have an attorney and a decision had not yet been made on my claim I forwarded this updated evidence from the Rhuematologist along with a letter addressed directly to the ALJ and sent it certified mail to the ODAR. It was received and attached to my claim file on October 24th.
      Having called the HO last week I was told that a decision was made on November 10 and that it is in letter writing. What do you make of all this? I would truly appreciate any feedback that you can provide. Thank you for your time and all that you do to help assist claimants with this very daunting process. We are in need of reform!!
      Happy Thanksgiving. Sincerely.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Patricia,

        You are very close to getting a decision on your claim. I would expect you to have a decision letter within two to four weeks.You took the right action in forwarding the rheumatologist’s report given that the hearing record was still open. I can’t explain the difference between the written and oral testimony from the vocational expert; however, if your claim is denied, the difference might make good grounds for appeal.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Patricia

          THANK YOU for your reply. I truly appreciate your time and the feedback.
          I just re-read my post: My apologies. I was all over the place. It’s obvious, I’m a wreck over this whole situation. I’m 61, have legitimate health issues and no family. Lord, have mercy!!
          Good to know that I took the right action forwarding the updated documentation/chronic pain perscription to the ODAR.
          If you could please put my mind at ease about 1 more thing….I have been doing all this online research on post-hearing VE written interrogatories. What is due process? Did my then attorney have opportunity to respond/cross examine? All he did was send me a copy via email and then he withdrew.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Patricia,

            Anytime an ALJ submits interrogatories to a vocational or a medical expert post hearing, the claimant or her representative is given an opportunity to comment on the expert’s answers, request a supplemental hearing, and/or cross examine the expert.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Patricia

          Dear Kay. Did you recieve my other reply thanking you while asking about the written interrogatories? Does the alj have to give you the opportunity to respond to them? The HO did tell me that there won’t be a supplemental hearing. And where a decision has already been made on my claim I can’t help but think the worst. Is there still a possibility that I could be approved? Especially after forwarding that additional Rhuematologist documentation. Or, are these ve written interrogatories lethal? I still can’t comprehend all the ve no’s at the hearing and then the 2 yes’ with the interrogatories. I’m a wreck!

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Patricia,

            I just responded to your question about your rights related to vocation expert interrogatories. Please look for it below the first post. Until you get a decision, there is always a chance for approval. If you are denied, you can request an Appeals Council review.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

            • Patricia

              Hello. I just found-read your response. Thank you again for your reply. Much appreciated.
              Well, obviously no action was taken on those interrogatories by former attorney due to his withdrawing. Nor was I, the claimant, given the opportunity bcuz I never heard about them from the ODAR. Where a decision has already been made all I can do now is wait. I’ve been truthful throughout this entire process. I have legitimate impairments that affect my overall functioning and QoL. I’ve a steady work history for 40 years. I need this approval in order to survive. And its the right thing to do!! Hoping & praying for the best. Thank you for all you do Kay.
              Sincerely.

              • Kay Derochie

                Dear Patricia,

                You are welcome. I suggest that you request the e-file of your claim file including the post hearing evidence and a copy of the hearing transcript to submit with your request for Appeals Council Review to support the statement that the vocational expert (VE) responded differently in the hearing and after the hearing. If you hire a new attorney to help you, he or she will need these documents to get up to speed.

                Sincerely,
                Kay

      • Dr.Mrs Kay how can i ask u a question on here

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Alexis,

          Scroll down past the last comment under the article and enter your question in the blank comment window.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Diana

    I had a hearing at the end of June, 2016. My lawyer told me that he knows I deserve ssi and he said the judge that took my case is a new judge with not a lot of experience. My lawyer said if she tries to give me a decision of denial then he will appeal the judges decision because he said I have a very strong case. He said normally he wouldn’t bother appealing a judges decision of denial if he knows the person’s case isn’t a strong one. Does this sound like I may get approved or not? I have been waiting for a decision now for 5 months and two weeks now. This is so hard for me and nerve wrecking. I have no money and I have my kids to rake care of. I’m not going to be able to buy them Christmas gifts… I have depression, suicidal thoughts and attemps, anxiety, bipolar, asthma, heart arrhythmia.. I lost my appetite a lot from my depression and couldn’t eat or drink. I lost over 100 pounds from being so depressed I couldn’t eat. I am so afraid I am going to die from starving to death. This depression is terryfying me so much it’s making me not want to eat and scaring me. I had to be hospitalized a few times this year for being dehydrated and not eating enough I got dizzy and passed out. I often have dizzy spells low blood pressure, am dizzy when I wake up, I am on fall precaution in hospitals. I fall a lot even out of the hospital I am constantly falling. I am so fatigued and tired all the time everyday. I have no energy. My doctor even wrote me a letter stating I can not lift more than 20 pounds or I could get chest pain or a heart attack if I do and that if I walk more than a block I get shortness of breath due to my heart condition. I have a narrow pulmonary artery and had heart surgery. I have a heart murmur. I can’t even take medicine for the bipolar because the meds give me very severely painful adverse reactions. I can only take anti-anxiety meds. Now my psychiatrist left and is no longer at the place I was seeing her so I’ve been out of meds for a couple months now and have to wait two more months until I can get in to see a psychiatrist. I have to see a therapist once a week and go to groups every werk all day long. I haven’t been able to attend my groups though because I have two babies I need to watch everyday and nobody else to help me watch them. I have to take the bus that picks me up at more doorstep because I can’t walk to the regular bus stop because I get shortness of breath and too tired and weak to walk a couple blocks to the normal bus stop so I have been approved to ride the bus for handicapped/disabled people to pick me up at my doorstep. When I do have my anti-anxiety medicine I am so drowsy even more tired than I am without it. Without it I am very weak and tired and with the meds I am double the tiredness.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Diana,

      As you describe your illnesses, I would expect your claim to be approved. Waiting for a hearing date and for a decision after the hearing is hard. If the hearing has not yet occurred, be sure the attorney knows you are without access to a psychiatrist or medication and about your current inability to get to your groups. (You might try to return to the childcare you were getting when you were able to attend your therapy sessions.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Diana

      Thank you.

      • Kay Derochie

        You are welcome, Diana.

  • Robert C Litts

    I had my hearing on June 15 and was told 2 to 3 months for a decision. It’s almost been 5 months. I don’t understand why it’s taking so long.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robert,

      Presumably large numbers of cases and a backlog are the issue. You can call the hearing office to find out where your appeal is in the process: awaiting the judge’s decision, in letter writing, or back with the judge to sign off on the decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kari reckord

        Dear kay
        I cant find what we was talking about ‘ my hearing was only 10 15 mins . He didnt ask me alot of questuons . My lawyer said I was disabled

        Thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kari,

          You can’t find my response because you posted your question under a different article. Here is what I responded:

          I think there is reasonable possibility that your claim will be approved; however, there is no way to know for sure until you get the decision.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Kari reckord

            Ok thank you ‘ he didnt ask to many questions

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Kari.

    • Alexandra

      Dear Kay sorry didn’t know where to ask my question my finance had a hearing in front of a judge for social security on September 23 after reading your advice here for many ppl & trying to calm his nerves I told him to try the hearing officer number he was told his case is pending not sure it that’s a good sign I’ve been trying to b positive by telling him if it was denied we would have heard something by know. My question is I guess would a denial letter take as long as a approval letter or should this wait be taken as a better chance of good news

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Alexandra,

        Pending just means that your fiance has not been sent a decision. How long the decision takes is not an indication of either approval or denial. It reflects how backlogged the hearing office and judge are and/or the work habits of the judge.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Willy Wil from the group home

    I had a hearing in NY on Sept 13, 2016, I haven’t heard anything or received anything from anyone. My lawyer said it was a favorable decision, actually at the hearing the judge only talked to the M.D. On phone and never even looked at me.. I was wondering how many letters am I waiting for and if the timeframe seems normal? Just stressing out, reading other replies in ur thread 2 months isn’t that long… Just wondering how many letters should I be expecting?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Willy,

      The guideline for the you to receive a decision is sixty days after the hearing, but it can take less or more time. You will get a letter from the judge with the medical ecision. If it is an approval for Social Security Disability (SSD/SSDI), you will receive a second letter from the payment center giving you your monthly benefit amount. Other notices can include the amount of back pay and notification of payment to your attorney.

      If you also applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your local Social Security office will send you a letter or call for an interview to update your financial information back to the time you applied. You will receive an SSI award letter with payment amounts and dates listed. SSI, if applicable, is paid first, and SSDI back pay is reduced by SSI paid for months that you were eligible for both benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Elizabeth

        During my disability hearing the judge gave the VE a hypothetical based on someone who could do all the things that I and my doctors say I cannot. I have documentation from three specialists as well as two RFCs plus my own testimony stating my limitations. When the judge presented his hypothetical to the VE it did not include any of these limitations. It was based on someone without any restrictions at all and of course the VE said someone in that position could go back to their job. The judge then presented a hypothetical with some restrictions and the VE said a person would not be able to return to their job. Why would the judge ask a hypothetical that goes against all the medical evidence and RFCs from my doctor?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Elizabeth,

          It is standard procedure to have the vocational expert identify jobs that someone of your age, education, and background could do if you did not have limitations. Once occupations are identified, if they are, then the judge or sometimes the claimant’s attorney will ask whether a person with your limitations could do the work.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Thanks for posting this I had my hearing on aug 12, 2016 so I’m just patiently waiting since I’m right ato 60 days.

    • Willy Wil from the group home

      Just wanted to leave update, received a fully favorable decision letter today 11/25/16 from a Sept 13, 2016 hearing in Westchester, NY

      • Kay Derochie

        Thanks, Willy.

    • Willy Wil from group home

      Just an update and a thank u: Received a fully favorable decision on Fri Nov 25th, 2016 written Nov 18, didn’t apply for SSI only SSDI, thanks for allowing me to pick ur brain over this matter

      • Kay Derochie

        You are welcome, Willy.

  • Kathy

    I’ve been in the SSDI system for nearly 3 years (I have Lupus, Fibromyalgia, am on oxygen and severe osteoarthritis in my lower back and get steroid injections to relieve the pain). My initial application was denied in April 2014. I had my first hearing with a judge Nov. 3, 2015, and he requested additional information, which was submitted. In April 2016, I was told the judge had scheduled a supplemental hearing. After waiting for three months, I got a letter with a Aug. 2 hearing date. A week before the hearing, I was notified the hearing was cancelled because the orthopedic specialist was not available that day. I finally was notified a couple of weeks ago, my new hearing would be Nov. 1. I received a call about an hour ago saying my hearing was cancelled because the judge had made a decision in the case and I would be notified by mail. Does this mean they made a decision in my favor?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      Yes, your claim will be approved; it cannot be denied or limited without a hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hi Kay. .
    I have a question about remanding the denial of a decision …it has been sent back to the judge to relook at the case again… Can you tell me how long it’s going to take??
    They did it pretty quickly August of 2016 was the hearing it went back for Counsel review and within 60 days and they have already sent it back to the judge.
    I don’t have a hearing date yet. Per my attorney, but I was wondering how long it would take for the judge to relook again and make a dscision.
    thanks
    Donna

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Donna,

      Usually a remand results in a second hearing, sometimes after the judge requests and receives additional information. I would expect you to wait a few months for the remand to be reviewed and a hearing scheduled if needed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kay
        I apologize for not knowing how to start a new thread. My question is, the judge had made a decision as of 4 weeks ago but they have not written or mailed my letter yet. Thru advised thru can’t tell my her decision via phone….is there anyone else that would know our be able to see the decision that could tell me? Maybe the local SS Office?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Cynthia,

          Apparently, there is a back up in the letter writing department or the letter is done and back on the judge’s desk for review and signature.The decision is not final until the judge signs the letter, so the local office won’t get the decision before you do. You will be notified when the letter is mailed, but most likely the hearing office will follow procedures and not give you the decision verbally.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • peggy

    If anyone is in Texas, this may help out some to answer wait times and judges

    http://www.disabilityjudges.com/state/texas/houston-bissonnet

  • Karen

    Dear Kay I was granted a critical hearing. If I am awarded benefits will my benefits be expedited as well?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Karen,

      If you receive an approval from the judge, you need to file another dire need letter with the payment center if you are approved for Social Security Disability or with your local office if you are approved for Supplemental Security Income. The local office will accept the letter and forward it to the payment center if applicable.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Karen

        Dear Kay , could I have my daughter help me write a letter for dire need to my local social security if approved for ssi ssd if approved? I need to get a car before winter I can’t get to my doctor and therapy appointments . I’m currently asking family or the transportation social services offers isn’t available dates I’m being ask to come for appointments at times.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Karen,

          You could write a dire need letter based on needing access to medical care; it might be considered.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Karen

            Thank you Kay

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Karen.

    • Maria

      Dear Kay; I just had my hearing on Oct 5 th and I have a lawyer. For SSDI..The VE said No Jobs…I have 4 MRI’s and medical RX & Records included..I have Carpal tunnel both hands and Cubital tunnel on Right hand scheduled for surgery in 2 weeks for right carpal and Cubital tunnel release ..I had left hand carpal tunnel surgery 8 months ago….I have 7 herniation disks and Cervical / Lumber Radiculopathy….Monthly injection on back or neck to move around that lasts 2 weeks sometimes less..I’m also on Hydrotherapy and Cervical therapy….I’m a pedestrian hit by a car while crossing the street bless to be alive..been going through alot of stress with bills and living with little income since 2015…my lawyer did a dire letter request is why I had an earlier hearing it’s going to be 2 years since I apply. Do you think I’m accepted?? How long the wait? I have a minor child also will my child get back pay too if I’m accepted?? I’m so stress and anxiously waiting ??

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Maria,

        If the judge determines that the evidence submitted for your claim supports the limitations you are claiming, your claim will be approved based on the vocational expert’s testimony. The guideline for getting a decision after a hearing is sixty days, but it could be less or more. If you are approved, I suggest filing another dire need letter in the local office to be forwarded to the payment center. If your earnings records is strong enough to provide dependent benefits, your minor child will receive benefits for the same months you do including back-pay months.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Mea

          Thanks it’s been 2 months since my hearing and I just had surgery yesterday in alot of pain going through financial hardship now I just called hearing office was told a decision was made by the judge it’s in writing now what that means? How much longer do I need to know my decision can my lawyer have access to the judge office

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Mea,

            The judge’s decision is being written up in a letter to you. After the letter has been completed, it will go back to the judge for review and signature. I would think you would have the decision letter within a month. If you are in dire need, such as in danger of eviction or losing your home, you can submit a dire need statement and the time frame might be shortened a little.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Kathy

    Hi Kay, I was just wondering I had my hearing the end of last month Sept,26th how long should I wait before calling to try to find out anything? I have convinced myself it will be a denial, and I am so anxious about it, but anyway thanks for info you can give me.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      The guideline is for you to get the decision within sixty days of the hearing, but it is just a guideline. I suggest you wait a month from the hearing date before calling to check on the status of the decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kimberly

        Dear Kay. Sorry I was unsure on how to start a new thread to ask a question….
        I had my hearing for ssi on August 31st and at the end the Vocational expert was asked what jobs I could do and she named off 3 but when my attorney asked more questions from her, she stated I would lose my job quickly at any of those due to my problems… I have copd, fibromyalgia, 2 leaking heart valves, sleep apnia, major depression, ptsd, chronic migraines, degenerative disc disease, anxiety and bipolar. I have numerous doctors and a psych report stated if I worked and got stressed out I would go back to drugs or kill myself. They say its being written up now but I don’t know what to expect. Please any ideas?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kimberly,

          If the judge accepts that you have the limitations your attorney listed for the vocational expert, the judge will likely approve your claim based on the vocational expert’s testimony. The only problem that I can see is that benefits are not paid for disability due to drug use. That means that you must prove disability without considering your dependency or potential dependency on drugs.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Lilly

    THANK YOU KiNDLY MS.KAY!

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Lilly.

  • Jaquelling m. Villano

    Kay,
    We applied for Social Security disability in September 2014. We were denied 3 times and obtained attorney. The attorney filed in December of that year. We follow all the doctors orders, I call after every appointment, test, so they can obtain his current records. He is now going to 2 new doctors due to the stress of waiting. His health is not getting any better.
    My fience has neuropathy very severe, no feeling in his hands, feet, legs. We are told it can take up to 2 to 3 year’s for a hearing. What I don’t understand, is we are told this is the norm for any applicant weather we have a lawyer or not. We could have filed our selves and not pay a 1/4 of our settlement to the attorney.
    He was diagnosed back in December 2013. We were told to wait to apply until we received the disabled diagnoses for sure.
    Is there a way to obtain information on were stand in the court system. I work full time and support both of us. It took 2years also to get health insurance. With the amount to medications he has to take and no insurance all our savings is depleted due to the fact his medications cost$600 to $800 a month.
    37 years he worked and paid into the system. He is 58 years old still young.
    Is there anything we can do to move this along.

    .
    .

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jaquelling,

      If your fiance has been denied three times, his current appeal is with the Appeals Council, which could decline to review, could overturn, or could remand (send back) the claim to the judge for additional investigation and a second hearing. The value of having an attorney is not to reduce waiting to time but to have expertise in knowing how to present the case. This is especially important with an Appeals Council review.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I am 58 years old and I have scoliosis and pain with my back,neck, hips,and headaches. I have depression , anxiety, and carpal tunnel in both my hands. When I was denied twice they did tell me I couldn’t do my past jobs. I can only stand for 3 or 4 hrs at a time and my medicine makes me sleepy and have to lay down through the day. I sent in a dire letter and they got my hearing set up a lot sooner. The judge ask me about my health and how much wt I had to lift at my jobs and I told him around 40 pds and and sometime more and It got till I was in to much pain. I can’t concentrate and have trouble remembering. The judge then smiled at me and said you’re probably wore out aren’t you? I said yes sir. He then ask the VE if she had anything to say and she said no. The judge looked at me and said I will send you my decision in the mail. My lawyer said my doctor sent in a very good report about my health problems.Do you think I have a good chance of approval? Thank You Patricia
    9/18/2016 8:09 PM

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patricia,

      I would say that you have a good chance of approval. Otherwise, the judge would have asked the vocational expert some specific questions.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Bertha

      Who did you send the dire letter too. I have attorney, was denied Aug 2015, they file appeal but still waiting. Any help would be appreciated. Ihave PTSD, ANGIOPASTHY 2, ANXIETY, MAJOR DEPRESSION, BACK PROBLEM S, BAD RT KNEE NEEDS SURGERY, LT KNEE FULREPLACEMENT DID NOT HEAL WELL, CARPAL TUNNEL AND TENDONOSIS BOTH ARMS HANDS, TORN LT ROTATOR CUP, RT HAD SURGERY STILL PAINFULL, FIBROMYALGIA.HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. THANKS PLEASE E MAIL ME ANY HELP, ripm01@hotmail.com

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Bertha,

        A dire-need letter should be sent to whichever office is currently working on your claim. If you have a reconsideration pending a medical decision, the letter would be submitted to your state Disability Determination Services. If you have a pending hearing, the letter would be sent to the hearing office.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Kay Derochie

    Dear Mrs. Carter,

    I would say, yes, she has been approved. You can call the office to find out.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Denise

    Hi kay, the father of my children called and said he was approved for disibility. He paid child support faithfully up until the past 3 years he wasn’t working. Although we are not together he continued to do what he could. I called the SS office they stated I couldn’t make an appointment due to final decision hasn’t been rendered. What does that mean? And do you have a estimated guess on time frame in which my children will draw benefits from their father. Thanks in advance

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Denise,

      The children’s father may have some idea of when his benefits will start to accrue. The children will receive benefits for the same period. Benefits will begin the later of the sixth full-calendar month of disability or twelve months before the month he applied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Upon further investigation the judge told him he was approved at his hearing. He is nervous that he yet to receive a written decision. If all works out will my children receive back pay? If so will they receive it now or when they are 18? They are 14 and 17 now. One more question, sorry. Do you have a estimated monthly amount they may received. Their father is 57 and has worked 37 years up until he wasn’t able…thank you for your help I’m sure this must be stressful for you.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Carrese,

          Your children will receive benefits as soon as their father is medically approved for benefits and his benefits have been calculated and paid. I cannot estimate the amount of their benefits; it will depend on their father’s work and earnings history.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Hi,

    I filed in June 2013, my date of disability (Severe PTSD, Anxiety & Depression) began March of 2009. Which the court changed to November 2010, because to earn some money due to my inability , I sold used computers/electronics (that I bought & fixed) from home periodically (10 hours a week) in 2010. This application is my third. My hearing was in February 2016 and my lawyer submitted more medical documentation due to being hit by an SUV while walking on the sidewalk (neck, back, knees, hips, shoulders left arm, fractured and sprained left ankle and severily sprained right ankle. I am financially exhausted and have been suicidal, because of all of the stress and my reality of not being able to walk and possibly needing surgery. I have come to my senses and shook off the thoughts by laying down and napping to calm down and that works. No worrys anymore though, I have recently been very successful of not having those thoughts, by reading the Bible and listening to music daily, It lifts my spirits and gives me hope and encouragement.
    So ultimately, I’m wondering what does it mean if your lawyer says it’s in the decision writing stage. And approx. how long does it take to get the actual decision when it’s in that stage?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Adrienne,

      The judge has made a decision and the decision letter is being written. Once it is written, the judge will review it for accuracy and sign the letter. I’d estimate that you should have the decision letter within a month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Paul

        Dear sir had a hearing this week, judge gave me and my lawyer privacy to negotiate retro pay, then we agreed and so did judge. Is this favorable decision for me?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Paul,

          Yes, I’d say the judge is going to approve your claim with a disability date later than the one you claimed.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Lilly

    Dear Kay, I am receiving my grandchild benefits, it was discontinued in May of 2016 due to they said he is improving. He was born 1lb and 6ozs at birth., Thank God he has come along ways but not on the level he should be at thirteen., I had mail issues responding back to receiving benefits until the hearing. My question is I called the alj office in the beginning of Sept.2016 they said the judge had 30-60 to make a decision, today I called they tells me the hearing should be schedule Nov. 2016 sometimes and I’ll receive a letter. Bills are backed up, Is this normal to give two different answers? Do they still send you a letter if you didn’t want to attend? I’ve been taking care of him for thirteen years and good care may I add. Just tired and stressed trying to maintain shelter and etc. Thank you Ms. Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lilly,

      The judge has sixty days to write up the decision after the hearing. I strongly encourage you to attend the hearing and the judge may want to briefly talk with your grandson as well. If you did not get payment continuation, you may be able to get an attorney to assist you because there would be back pay from which attorney fees could be withheld.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Gable

    What if the VE found a job you could do was your age consider along with transferable skills. And didn’t my attorney ask could i do this with the amount of time I would have to miss work 60 days with then a year. I’m 56 years old

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gable,

      Your age together with work history is considered in deciding whether you are able to work in a new occupation. In dependent of age considerations, I would expect your claim to be approved if the judge accepts that you would miss two months a year due to your medical condition.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Brianna Ramirez

    Hello was wondering if you could help my mom had a hearing with Judge Thomas Sanzi on 3-9-2016 and its has been almost 7 months and she hasn’t heard anything she does have a lawyer They told her that they haven’t heard anything either she has call to check but they told her that he hasn’t made a decion yet because they are “back up”. Is this long wait too long what could it mean? We live in GA and they gave her a judge from Illinois. Thanks in advance!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brianna,

      Your mother’s claim has pended much longer than usual. If your mother is in danger of becoming homeless or can’t get needed medical care because of her financial situation, she can file a statement of dire need, which could move her claim closer to the head of the line. Otherwise, all se can do is wait and check on the status every two weeks.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely.
      Kay

    • I’m in ga and i also had the same judge from Illinois, its been bout 3months no decision letter yet.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear James,

        Apparently this judge is very backed up with his hearing decisions. If it gets to four months, call the hearing office to see if you can get a status. If it gets to five months, ask to speak to the hearing office manager.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Rogerroger123

    Helllo kay, I have one more question if it was not appoved would it still go to another office ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Roger,

      I am not able to provide a reliable analysis regarding the significance of where claim files are sent.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Jen

      I’m sorry to invade on your post but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to start a new thread. How do we start one?
      So my real question is my alj told me he makes his decisions within 30-60 but he told me my onset date will go back to when I first applied. Is him telling me my onset date a good sign? My anxiety is killing me waiting for a decision. 😞

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Jen,

        Of course, you will not know for sure until you get the decision letter, but he judge’s comment about your onset date would seem to indicate that he plans to approve your claim.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Vivian

      Hi Kay,
      My hearing was june 22, 2016 I was told a descion was made but, told might not get an answer until nov. Also ve said couldn’t do any jobs with knee brace and cane. I have spinal stenosis,fibermyalga, deterating disc disease in my back herniated/bulging disc, arthritis of right knee and ankle. Your thoughts please.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Vivian,

        With the vocational expert’s (VE’s) testimony, you have a good chance of approval. If you are denied the VE’s testimony may be good grounds for appeal.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Jennifer

    Hello, I had a Disability Hearing on June 23rd 2016, on Wednesday it will be 90 days, I have heard nothing, I am in Maine and my conditions are PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Cervical spine herniations, Osteoarthritis also in neck, Chronic Migraine’s, DDD & DJD and basically feeling like i have been in a fight against a pro boxer every morning. What should be my next step?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jennifer,

      At this point, your role is to wait. In the meantime, you can call the hearing office to find out where your appeal is in the process.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Alan

      I apologize dor being an ignoramus but I couldn’t figure out how to start a new thread, so i apologize again!
      My issue is that after waiting since oct 2014, i finally went to court on the 8th of August where I received a fully disabled decision with a doctor in the courtroom as well. When the ALJ asked him if he had any questionsfor me he said no then rendered hee favorable decisiin.heres the issue… since then i havent heard one single thing from ss admin… its almost been 2 months, any ideas as to what, if anything ivcan or should do? I did have a lawyer..ty for your time!

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Alan,

        You can call call the hearing office to get a status, whether the appeal is still awaiting the judge formalizing the decision or the decision has been made and the letter is being prepared.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Alan. Hadaway

          Thank you Kay, I did that and the lady I spoke with was very rude and disrespectful and wouldn’t answer that one question so I think I’ll just wait if out, lol. Thank you for your time and for what you do here!

          • Kay Derochie

            You are welcome, Alan.

  • Rogerroger123

    Dear kay,
    It’s me again I forgot to say after she told me the editors has had for 3 days now andoes after it is finished it goes back to the judge for final review , the wOman I talked to said I should get it sometime next week or week after is this good or bad she was saying they do everything there in the hunington office I’m talking about howhat they send to another office if it was approval or do u think she didn’t say me because I did ask her this but she would not tell me because she said she is afraid to lose her job ?. And keep in mind the judge already made a decision in 6 days

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Roger,

      The process that has been described to you is routine including not being told the decision over the phone; the information does not reveal what the decision is.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rogerroger123

    Hello ,Kay I have a question I went for my 2nd hearing on Wednesday 9-7-16 today friday 9-16-16 i called the office and they said the judge has made a decision already and it’s been with the dlecision writters now for 3 days do you think it is in my favor ?? Please get back with me asap I’m very excited thank u

    Rogerroger123

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Roger,

      It is good that you are not having to wait a long time for your decision, but I can’t say whether the decision is in your favor or not.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Jim

      Hate to burst your bubble, but you may have been denied. I got a decision with the writers in the same time frame as yours. I called the ODAR office, and the person I spoke to looked and said it was unfavorable. I should get the disappointing letter in a week or so. I’m beyond devastated.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Jim,

        I suggest that get a copy of your claim file to see the exact reasons for the denial. If, after reading the basis of the decision, you believe an error has been made and truly believe you cannot sustain work in any occupation, you can appeal 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

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Wanda Palmerie

    I applied for disability in oct 2014. I am scheduled next week for my hearing. I’m still not sure why it has gone through all the steps of disallowing me disability. I have worked since I was 16 and am now 45. As of 2014 the medical list of problems have increased. Medical issues from pituitary adenoma, balder neurostimulator, migraines. Asthma, frozen rift shoulder, capsulitis, osteoarthritis, limited range of motion right arm due to rotator cuff surgery 2015 and broken right toe 2015( can’t bend toe being held together with a pin and staple). Panninectumoy due to complications from past surgery infected stomach. Subtotal colectomy (11ft intestines gone), IBS, bladder incontinence and oh yeah I survived brain surgery for a tumor. Over past 2 yrs I have had 6 surgeries. Wish all this I am still battling for disability and trying to maintain a life and pay bills. Are my chances even remotely good to win my case?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Wanda,

      If several of the conditions you have listed overlapped, I’d say you have a reasonable chance for approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mike L.

    My hearing was back in Late February, the judge asked for additional medical records (received by ODAR within a month). 7 months (6 after medical records) seems way too long to make a decision. Is there a legal limit? I should have a right to a judgement by now if nothing else so that I can appeal it to the next level.

    I haven’t had a job since 2010… I can’t even get people to let me do an odd job here or there. I’ve been existing on so little even my recycled stuff is getting too worn down to continue using. If I can’t afford cleaning supplies soon, I’ll even lose my VASH(Sec8) housing. The little bit of cash I get from State and VA benefits just is not enough to exist on.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mike,

      Six months is outside the norm. There is no law, however, the guideline is sixty days. I suggest you call the hearing office to make sure no letter was sent. If not and if it is still awaiting the judge’s decision, ask whether there is a possibility that the claim has dropped off the judge’s radar and whether there is a way to call his or her attention to the fact that the post-hearing records were submitted six months ago. (Sometimes churches will provide one-time assistance; that could be a source for cleaning supplies. Alternatively, if your community has a dollar store of some kind, that might make the supplies affordable.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jennifer

    Hi Kay-
    My daughters father had a massive heart attack in January 2014 and he has been denied disability twice. He does a have a lawyer and they have said for about 6 months that they are waiting on a court date that his case is in the judges chambers. I cant always trust what he says so, I was wondering if this sounded normal.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jennifer,

      The wait for a hearing date runs from twelve to twenty-four months depending on which hearing office with most at fifteen to eighteen months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Carisma

    Hello Kay I have a question my ssi case is at the alj office and I waited almost two years to get some answers a representative told me that I should be receiveing a letter from the judge soon on when my hearing date will be scheduled I’m only having this hearing because I lost my ssi two years ago because I missed a appointment with the judge now I’m trying to get it back ..the thing that I’m worried about is that a year after I lost my ssi I had to get a job I mean I had no other options but to find a job I was homeless and didn’t have to type of income will this affect me if I was to win my case plus I know there’s a certain limit you have to make from a gross income for ssi and they say you can’t go over the amount of 1130 but my earning wages are 8298 will I automatically be denied due to me working ? PLEASE HELP !

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Carisma,

      Please provide some additional information so I can respond.
      1. You wrote 8298 as your earnings. Is that a correct amount? If so, is it monthly or annually?
      2. Did you apply for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or both?

      Thank you,
      Kay

      • Carisma

        Dear Kay

        On my w-2 form from 2015 it says my annual wages are 8298 I applied for ssi my case just made it to the alj office so I’m going to have a hearing really soon I’m just scared because I feel like the judge might say I’m not disabled if they find out I had previous work related activities I had to work I was homeless with all of these health problems diabetes,asthma ,neuropathy ,and depression disorder I stopped working and my doctor wrote me a note after he examined me again stating I can’t engaged in gainful employment I don’t know if my chances are good anymore due to my past work I’ve waited so long and I just hope you can give me some advice on what I should do thank you Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Carisma,

          The impact of your work on your claim depends on the pattern of the work. Gather your pay stubs together so that you can show the months in which you worked and how much you earned. You may have earned too little to have performed substantial gainful work or you may have worked for short enough period of time that your work will be treated as an unsuccessful work attempt.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Carisma

            Okay I will do that thank you so much Kay your advice is really helpful !

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Carisma.

      • elizabeth booze

        hello… i cant find my answer to my question… i dont know where to look… i also have a new question… please help ty..my daughters desicion has been written up and sitting on the judges desk…her hearing was august 12th .3 days later the judge made a desicion, and has been written up waiting for the judge to sign it…since this was so fast, and she is 21 going for ssi and has strong medical evidence, which i explained in my last question that i cant find, is that a good sign??… is it true denials take longer to get the letter?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Elizabeth,

          Your question and my response have been posted. Scroll up to see it. The speed of the decision on any single claim is not an indicator of approval or denial. The judge has to give detailed rationale for either an approval or a denial. Also, if the judge is caught up the decision will come faster.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • elizabeth booze

            she was denied… saying not enough evidence… she has 10 yrs of psych records since she was 12.. letters from drs, tgerapists.. witnesses… RFC forms that say severe in every way… what else do they want… she just turned 22… when she heard that she as severe panic attack and almost had to call 911. 3 yrs we waited… the VE saod nothing she can d at all.. what could have went wrong… WE HAD EVERYTHING…

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Elizabeth,

              You can request an Appeals Council review, but I suggest that you discuss this with your attorney.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

    • Sanna Thomas

      Hi i am wondering what it means when you have a hearing in front of alj and the decision is sent back to local office. Is this a good thing?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Sanna,

        It is possible that your claim was approved, but you should get the decision letter soon to know for sure. If you are approved applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and don’t hear from the office for a financial update interview within two weeks of when the file was forwarded to the office, I recommend you call to request an appointment.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Robert

    I had a heart attack at work in August of 2013, after many attempts to return to work it was pretty obvious to me and my employers I could no longer do my job as I was. I was hospitalized several times with depression and anxiety issues and filled for disability in December of 2014. It was denied so I appealed the decision and it too was denied. I then hired an attorney to handle the appeal from there, I spent a month in a treatment facility and was diagnosed with bi-polor disorder, treatment resistant depression, and anxiety. I had a second heart attack in August of 2015 that the Dr. said was very close. I still haven’t heard anything about a hearng yet. I’ve lost my condo, my car was repossessed, my wife makes too much for medicare but not enough to get help from the ACA and we cant afford for me to go to the dr. or get my medications. Does it ever end?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robert,

      Try contacting the pharmaceutical company that makes your essential medications. Sometimes the company will provide a supply for free for a while. Some other sources for medication assistance can be found online. Try searching on the internet for “free medication programs.” Several sources will come up.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michael

    I had my hearing on the 4th of August, I have a 100% disability from the va as of August 2012… At the end of my hearing the Judge did not ask the vocational expert anything at all. Is this a good sign for approval?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      The fact that the judge did not ask for vocational testimony could be a sign of an approval. If you are not approved, the lack of testimony could make good grounds for appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Michael Brennan

        I received my approval less than 5 weeks after hearing. It was my second hearing in front of a judge and this has gone on for 4 years.

        For all of you waiting just keep getting more medical evidence while you wait. Good luck to all and thanks for the hope Kay, it helped me get through with a little less anxiety. 🙂

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Michael.

        • What state?

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Joseph,

            Except for SSI state supplements, SSI and Social Security law and benefit amounts do not change from state to state.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Lauren

    Hi Kate,
    My husband applied for disability October of 2014, denied, denied then applied for hearing 2/2015. Borderline personality disorder, bipolar, PTSD…I think our chancing are good considering the severity of his disorders. The wait time however is excruciating, we are struggling financially to say the least. I’ve been watching the hearing wait time reports monthly, out of frustration I called social security to complain about the wait times and was told not to bother even looking at the report because their inaccurate. She told me not to expect a letter until 24 months after applying for a hearing…so upsetting. Is this true? One more question, what kind of time frame am I looking at from notification of your hearing to the actual hearing?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lauren,

      Depending on which hearing office serves you, the wait for hearing date is from twelve to twenty-four months. You will be notified of the hearing date approximately three weeks before the hearing. You can look up the average wait time for your office at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html. In the meantime, stay under your doctor’s care and be sure that the hearing office has your medical records for the period of time between when you requested the hearing and when the hearing occurs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Lauren

        Dear Kay,
        The link you shared is the report I’ve been looking at. A women from social security told me it’s not accurate, just assume 24 months even though my location says 18 months? Your thoughts ? Thanks for all your help and advice 🙂

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Lauren,

          I have no inside information about the accuracy of the online report, although the site claims to have been updated in July of this year. Let us know which turns out to be accurate in your case.

          Thanks,
          Kay

          • Lauren

            Will do Kay, thank you again.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Lauren.

  • Martha

    I had my hearing on July 7, 2016 after being denied twice. I originally filed in January 2012. I have degenerative disc disease, PTSD, major depression and was diagnosed with RA in May 2014. I’m a nervous wreck waiting for the judges decision. I have been unable to work at all and have depended on the goodness of my sons to help me. During my hearing I was asked a few of the basic questions, and there was not a vocational specialist there. I just turned 59. Is is a good thing he asked so few questions or am I doomed to be denied?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Martha,

      I can’t say for sure, but the fact that the judge did not have a vocational expert (VE) present, together with your age and how you describe your conditions, leads me to think that the judge will approve your claim. If he does not, you may have grounds to appeal because no VE was called for testimony. If you have to appeal, I recommend that you hire an attorney versed in Social Security Disability appeals to file the appeal for you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Priscilla

      Hi. Didn’t know how to start a new post. I had a hearing on June 13, 2016. About 2 weeks ago the ssa office told me that the disability examiner agreed that I was disabled. My attorney states that the judge would approve my disability case due to the disability examiner agreeing that I am disabled. Is that true that I could be approved? The judge now has my case and is reviewing it. How long does it take for a judge to review and make a decision? Thank you

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Priscilla,

        Your attorney’s assessment is what should happen; however, you will not know for sure till you get the actual written decision, which could take the judge a couple months from when any post hearing evidence was submitted.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Susan M Cook

          Didn’t know how to start new post but also have a question had a hearing on august 31 judge said I should have decision in 30 days if there are no delays do u think that means approval or denial

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Susan,

            The judge’s statement gives no hint as to what the decision will be.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Ron

    Hi Kay,

    I had to resign my position in October, 2014. I filed for disability in Feb. of 2015 in the state of Florida. I was denied and filed a reconsideration in April, 2015 – then a denial was given for this reconsideration in July, 2015. I immediately retained an attorney and a hearing was requested.

    Since July, 2015 I moved back to my home state due to issues with my mental status and my case was transferred to Louisville, KY. Today my case is in a “ready to schedule” status. The legal assistant with my attorney tells me that she is not familiar with this office so she can’t give me an approximate wait time. Is there an average time that a case can sit in this status?

    Thanks in advance – I appreciate anything you can tell me.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ron,

      I don’t know the answer to your question, but you are approaching getting a hearing date. Perhaps the legal assistant can tell you what it is in their area, which would provide some frame of reference.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tracina Cavins

    I have been unable to work since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. I am cancer free now but unfortunately the chemotherapy has left me with many other physical issues. I do have an attorney working for me and my claim has been denied 3 times. We are now going to have to go in front of a judge and then it could take another 3 months to get a decision. My attorney has been in shock as she says my medical file is the biggest one she has and all of my Doctors have all said I am unable to work at this time. So now I am at a point where being a single mom I am completely broke. Family and friends have helped all they can. I am going to lose my home soon and my sister who lives 2 hours away in another state has offered her very large home for my children and I to come and live in. We both feel the stress of money has inhibited my ability to get better. My question I guess is will I have to start a new case in the state I move to or with Social Security being federal will it be okay if I have to move? I can’t let me and my children be homeless and still sitting around waiting for them to make a decision because they could easily deny it again and then I’m more in debit. What would be your advice to me in regards to having to move and my case?

    Sincerely,
    Tracina Cavins

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tracina,

      Your appeal will still be pending even when you move to another state. It will be finished where it is or transferred to the hearing office near your new address. In making the decision, here are some things to consider:
      1. Based on his licensing, your attorney be able to represent you if you move out of state?
      2. Would you be able to travel back to your current state if the hearing had to be in the current jurisdiction?
      3. Would you be allowed to choose the jurisdiction?
      4. Would you be okay with a video hearing if the appeal had to be transferred?and you couldn’t travel to the hearing?

      You should be able to get answers to questions 1-3 from your attorney and/or the hearing office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tonya Crownshaw

    Hi Kay.
    Everyone I talked to said they knew there decision before they left the Court room, yet the judge just told me he has to goo over all my paperwork and etc then he will make a decision. I have severe anxiety, paranoia. Ptsd, and bipolar disorder. The vocational rep said there are no jobs for me. Duo you think I have a chAnce?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tonya,

      Most hearing decisions are not made and revealed at the hearing. If after the judge reviews your claim file, he determines that you are as limited as you claim, the vocational expert’s opinion should result in an approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • michael

    Hi Kay,
    I just heard from my Lawyer that the judge made a decision in my SSDI case. I am 51 and my disability started March of 2013. I didn’t file for SSDI though until Feb 2015 though. The judge asked twice when I stopped working due to my disability. I stated March 2013. I’ve not worked at all since that date due to my disability and have been going to the VA since March 2013 for therapy 5 days a week since then to present.
    Will my start date plus 5 months forward be March 2013 or Feb 2014 ?
    Also I have heard 2 different version on how they calculate your monthly SSDI amount. I have 33 total years of work history since 1983. Will they add all those years up and divide by 33 or go back my last 10 years of work ? Also if it makes a difference I am 100% total and permanent service conected. Thank you Michael

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      If the judge determines that you became disabled in March 2013, your benefits will begin to accrue September 2013. Your benefits are calculated based on all your earnings, not just the last ten years. Receiving VA compensation will not affect the calculation of your Social Security benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kayu

  • Tyler Foster

    My husband filed for disability in Jan 2013. In December 2015 he had his hearing. Fast forward to July 2016 we still had no decision. I guess the judge requested additional documents, and our lawyer was not on top of it (2 lawyers we had from the office we went with quit since we filed, and as of now we have no lawyer and have not had one since April. One of the ladies in the office said she would monitor the mail for anything for us and let us know). Finally the end of July the judge got the paper, which we believe is the paper our family doctor filled out for child support stating my husband is unable to work and he doesn’t forsee that ever changing. It took about a week since the paper arrived at his office for him to render a decision. We don’t know what it is, as it’s just now being send to the decision writers but can anyone tell us if any of this sounds familiar in their case and what our chances are on getting approved? It’s been 8 months since our hearing.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tyler,

      I can’t predict whether your husband will be approved or not. The situation with the attorney firm is somewhat unusual.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • richard manning

    Hello Kay, I had a remand hearing on 7/18/2016 in front of the same judge. When I was waiting for the Fed. courts to make a decision on my case I file for new claim. Before all the briefs were in the Commissioner of Social Security voluntarily remanded my hearing. Like I said I had my hearing on 7/18/2016 and they allowed me to submit new evidence on my new claim. The judge didn’t ask me many questions only about my new conditions. Then he ask the VE if i could do my last job and he said yes, then my lawyer asked VE if I could do the job that I was doing before with the conditions I have and he said no. I would like to know what your opinion is on two different things.1-is it a good sign that Commissioner of Social Security remanded my hearing? 2- When my lawyer asked the VE about doing my last job and he said no is that good. Thanks for all your help this waiting thing is driving me nuts oh and by the way i’m almost 53 years old

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Richard,

      Both points–the remand and the vocational expert’s testimony–are positive for your claim, but you will not know the outcome for sure until you get the decision letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Deena

    Dear kay!
    I filed for ssi for my 9 year old under learing disability and emotional problems we had our hearing June 13th. The judge ask if he had any other medical problems I then told him my son also had adhd so he had me sign a consent to get those records. Yesterday I’m the mail I got a envolope from the judge stating that there were addition records put in in his file. I states that I could send in additional information or request a supplemental hearing. I’m confused. Please help. Ps I have no lawyer

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deena,

      Please see my response of earlier today to your first post. With regard to this second question, you can say that if a decision on the record will be an approval you do not want a hearing. If an approval cannot be given on the information in file, then it could be a good idea to view the records that were sent to see if you have anything else you can submit. Also, think about whether you want to testify more about how the ADHD affects your son’s daily life. If either is true and an approval cannot be made on the record, request the hearing. Whatever you respond, put it in writing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Deena

        Good morning Kay Thank you for responding, he did receive the additional records stating he has adhd I also got a copy of them with the letter. I noticed in the letter he stated if I had any other medical records or anything I think would help him make a fully favoriable decision I’m just confused about this whole thing. My son had an evaluation again today and one on the 18th but other then that I have no other record’s I mean I know my son has difficulty everyay. It’s just sad ppl who really have disability have to fight extra harder.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Deena,

          I think you are being given an opportunity, not an barrier. That is, I think you are being asked whether you have any earlier records to prove disability on the date you claimed for your son, perhaps earlier than the evidence already submitted, so that a decision can be made to approve him earlier than the evidence now in file. If you do not, then you can say so. If you do, you have the opportunity to submit what you have.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • deena

            good afternoon Kay!
            thank you for answering me, i appreciate it! i did have some additional records to submit, i also wrote the judge a letter, hopefully he can make a decision, i mean i have info stated that his ADHD was diagnosed in 2014 his PCP even wrote a letter stating his diagnoses and that he started treatment. so i guess this is the waiting game again….. i know he came back from vacation today. so please pray for our family

      • deena

        in regards to my questions kay, what would you suggest that i do?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Deena,

          If you have nothing further to submit, all you can do now is wait. If you hear nothing in a month, then you could try following up.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • deena

            thank you Kay!
            you are a big help for people who have no knowledge on this type of stuff. i will keep you posted

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Deena.

  • deena

    good evening, my 9 year old son had his hearing june 13th, i filled under learning disability and emotional support, the judge seemed fair ask questions about his disability ask if a special ed teacher and how he struggles then he ask me if he had any other medical problems i stated that he does have adhd and he had me sign a form to get those records in his exibits? so i still havent heard anything the hearing was june 13th 2016

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deena,

      I suggest that you check the hearing office to see if the records the judge requested have been received. If they have not, you could contact the medical provider or school office that has the records to encourage them to respond. It can take a couple months after the records are received for you to get a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Randy

    I had a disability hearing where where the vocational expert said that there was no work for me to be doing but the judge asked if I could go to a a consultation is this in my favor or no does the vocational expert calily said that as somebody at my age and my condition and cannot work

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Randy,

      The vocational expert’s opinion is in your favor, but the judge is asking you to go to a medical exam because he wants more information to decide whether the limitations you are claiming are accurate. If he finds that they are, then the VE’s testimony will help you get approved. Be sure to attend the exam.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Laurent

    Hi, I had my social security hearing before a Judge on April 27 and was told a decision would be made within 2monthns, but its three months now and still now decision what should I do??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Laurent,

      Really all you can do is wait for the decision; however, you can inform yourself of where your appeal is in the process by calling the hearing office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rickey

    Hello, I too have a question. I have multiple schlerosis and have had this horrible disease for twenty years. It is a progressing disease so therefore I am tripping multiple times a day, balance is very off, bumping into things all of the time, falling, heat is horrible on me with this disease. It affects my nerves and alot of others; depression, anxiety, memory, etc. I also have three things that are wrong with my back. I have worked since I was 15 every day of my life. I am now pushing forty. I have gotten to the point I just cannot do it any longer. I filed for disability through ss office in Mississippi where I live and got denied, I appealed and got denied again (even with my doctors statements) then I got an attorney and appealed it and now I am awaiting a court hearing date. It has been 16 months since I applied at social sec office. I have a family of four and I cannot work so we are struggling. My question is, my attorney is saying that mississippi is backed up and behind on court hearings, but it has been 16 months, I need this hearing date asap. I have an attorney I have hired but I don’t ever hear from him at all unless I call him and all he tells me is i’ve gotta wait, they’re backed up and thats all he says. Is there anything I can do to hurry things up a bit? can my hearing be somewhere else where they’re not so backed up? Just need a little advice! Thanks= Mississippi resident

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rickey,

      Although you are struggling financially, if you are not in danger of losing shelter or being unable to get critical medical care, you probably to not qualify to submit a dire need statement, which might speed things up slightly.

      Most, if not all hearing offices, are backed up to some degree. Check with your attorney about the advisability of trying to switch venues. You and the attorney would have to travel to the more distant hearing office or you would have to have a video hearing. In your case, where aspects of your disabling symptoms are visible, I wouldn’t advise a video hearing.

      Sincerely
      Kay

  • Jason

    Hello,

    I was deemed disabled in March of 2011 from severe PTSD. I was awarded SSDI in April of the following year. During that time I was denied two times and had to be represented by a social security disability attorney. They won my case and I was awarded a monthly amount and given back pay. In October of last year, social Security did a review of my case and deemed that they felt I was able to work again. At that time I had to go back to the Doctor Who said that she did not feel I was able to work and supported my case filling out additional paperwork and providing it to Social Security along with the with evidence to support everything. I was denied. In November 2015 I suffered an emotional breakdown and was hospitalized for 7 days. My payments were stopped for a few months. We sent more documentation to Social Security and then they sent paperwork stating that my payments would start again and that was it. Today, out of nowhere I got a letter stating that I have a hearing scheduled in August. Why? Why are they doing this again?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jason,

      If you still have the letter that said your payments would start again, read it to see if the payments are provisional and limited to the time your appeal is pending. If that is the case, the hearing being set up is probably correct. If not, then clarification is needed. One possibility is that it is simply an error. Perhaps an on-the-record decision was made eliminating the need for a hearing and your claim was accidentally not taken off the hearing waiting list. See if your attorney will help you sort it out. However, if you can’t get a clear understanding of the situation before the hearing date, either attend the hearing with the letter that says benefits were being reinstated or request a rescheduling to give you time.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Darrell

    Ms. Kay

    I was recently told my case was at the unassigned writing level in the Denver office, my question is how long should this process take from here on out?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Darrell,

      The letter writing process can take from a couple weeks to a month or more.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kathy

    Hi
    My hearing was in September 2015 and I still do not have a decision. I was told that the judge needs to review and sign off but it’s been 6 weeks in that position. I went on the SS website to just look around to see what my records state. It stated that I do not receive benefits. Then is has a benefit verification letter to prove I do not receive benefits so I wanted to see what the letter says. It stated “There was no cost of living adjustment in social security benefits in December 2015. The benefit amount shown is current as of the date on this letter” but there is not an amount listed. My question is what does this mean anything? It did not verify that I did not receive benefits or state that I do
    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      Your online record shows no benefit amount because your claim is still pending.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Kathy

      Hi Kate
      My question has been answered by my decision of unfavorable.

  • Jamie

    Hello, Kay. How are you doing? A decision have been made but it have not been written up yet. How long will this take? Why can’t I find out the decision yet even though it’s not written up yet? Does this means my child is approve?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jamie,

      Decisions are not released until the letter of decision, which is quite long and which gives all the reasons for the decision, is finalized. The agency has a policy of not giving out decisions over the phone, so you will have to wait for the letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • yumi

        Hi Kay,
        My name is Yuri I just went to my hearing on July 12th and I’m so worried. I am diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features, and also borderline personality disorder. I am also suffering from focal seizures. In my hearing there was a medical expert, and a vocational expert. The medical expert stated that after reviewing my medical records I can’t be around other people for more than 25% of my day, I can’t work with a highstress environment but that I can work doing something with a low stress level. The vocational expert advised the judge that I can clean floors and toilets. My lawyer asked the vocational expert that if I would have my episodes more than twice a month “which I do” would any job allow me to miss work that often? She replied absolutely not. Do you think I have a chance of being approved or denied? I need a little bit of reassurance I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I am a wreck. Please can you give me some advice?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Yumi,

          I do think that there is a reasonable chance you will be approved.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • yumi

            Thank you

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Yumi.

          • Cali

            My vocational person flat out told the judge that with my frequency of seizures and recovery time after them that I wouldn’t be able to hold down a job. HE STILL DENIED ME saying that I wasn’t credible, and thought my doctor was exaggerating for me in fear of hurting our doctor/patient relationship. I’m scared to death cause I’ve refiled a new claim 4 years later and I have the same judge for my hearing coming up. I pretty much know I’m already denied at this point. Smh 🙁

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Cali,

              If you really are unable to work and the judge denies you, file a request for an Appeals Council review with the assistance of an experienced Social Security attorney. In fact it would be good to get an attorney involved for the hearing if it is not too late. 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

    • vantae

      Dear kay i was wonder is it a possible i can see the judge before my 17 month frame time i have a iep statement my son have a learn disabilities in adh in speach from his school in his doctor i had this case open for 3 year now ince i see the judge this time we have a better change as aprove in in the state of illinos do social security pay u back pay for that long period of wait

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Vantae,

        You will have to wait for your son’s turn to come up for a hearing unless the appeal file is reviewed and an approval is possible without a hearing. Such an on-the-record approval, if it is possible, will take nearly as long as waiting for a hearing. If your son is determined to be disabled back to the month of the initial application that you are now appealing, benefits will go back that far.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • STEPHANIE CRAWFORD

    Kay, last year April 2015, I had a hearing with a Judge here in NC and this year I found out the Judge left and I was scheduled another hearing this year (2016) April, as of now I have not heard anything back from the second Judge, and just to let you know I’m 100% disabled from the US Army it’s now July, is this a good sign or bad sign?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stephanie,

      The second judge may be backed up with cases taken over from the judge who left in addition to his own. That could account for the long wait time. You can call the hearing office to find out where your appeal is in the process. VA and Social Security laws are different, so being approved for one is not a guarantee of being approved for the other.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Emma

    Hi Kay,
    I’m confused as well. I had a hearing with the ALJ June 23rd. When I called the ODAR office for an update today, I was told my decision was in the legal department? Then the lady said, “yes, we have a legal department”, even though I didn’t say anything at all.
    What is the legal department for? Is it the same as the decision writer?
    The only thing that scares me was the judge’s astonishment of the pay I received for one of my previous jobs. It was high for what I did, but we traveled every week.
    Is there some legal aspect I should be afraid of? I’ve been honest.

    • Emma

      oh, and when I asked her what it meant, she said “it means when they are done they will send it back to the judge and he will mail a decision”.
      I don’t know if she was trying to sound intimidating or if this means I will get denied.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Emma,

        My response is to both your posts. The letters are written up by a legal staff after the judge renders a decision. The letter is then sent to the judge for review and signature. If the judge finds any errors in the letter, it will be sent back for correction; otherwise, it will be mailed out.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Emma

          Thank you, Kay!

          • Kay Derochie

            You are welcome, Emma.

        • Mel

          What if you had your hearing.. ALJ Requested medical outsource 2nd opinion.. It’s been over 3 months .. Letter came today as if I just requested hearing date!! Same judge with a hearing date! Same paperwork as when I first received first hearing date..?.. I’m confused! It’s says I have a new disability application hearing date ..?.. WTH? I already went before this judge did the whole admit evidence after review of what his medical opinion doctors evidence he wanted to admit to case.. I reviewed and sent back my new evidence rebuttal.. Have been waiting 3mibths.. Now I get this letter as if I never started.. Is this a mistake???!!! I certainly hope so! Help!

          • Mel

            Don’t know how to make new comment so hopefully a little help to post..?..

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Mel,

              Scroll down until you get to the last comment and reply; there will be a box to post a new comment.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Mel,

            It appears the judge wants a second hearing after reviewing the medical opinion and your rebuttal. It may be to get vocational testimony from a vocational expert or to ask you additional questions. Be sure to attend the hearing.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Jamie

    My duaghter have ADHD ODD and depression. Sje is on ritalin la, intuniv, and prozac for 2yrs. Hello, my daughter had a hearing in front of the ALG on July 06. During the hearing, the alj ask my daughter her name, her age…she told them. He ask her grades….she said up and down the street…. She would not sit down unless the alj prompt her too. He ask her does she gets along with others. She said sometimes she does and sometimes she dont. She is receiving intensive in-home services. She is back in fourth to psychological doctors. After the judge prompt my daughter to leave out. He prompt my lawyer to ask me questions….then the alj stated that the hearing was closed. The alj did not ask me any questions….is that a good sign???

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jamie,

      I can’t say for sure; but from what you describe, it is possible that your daughter’s claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jamie

        Thank you

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Jamie.

      • Jamie

        Hello, Mrs. Kay. I called today which I know it’s too soon and they told me it’s in post hearing and one lady told me that he is re-viewing it….what does that means? Is that a good thing or bad thing? The day before they said it’s on his desk for him to review it. I never been thru any of this before. Thank you again.

        • Jamie

          Re-reviewing it I meant and another stated it is in post hearing but like I said the other day, they said it was on his desk for review.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Jamie,

            Please see my reply of a few minutes ago to your first post.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jamie,

          You were told the same thing both times you called, just in different words: the judge is reviewing your claim file and the hearing record to decide whether you are disabled according to Social Security law. I suggest that you limit your calls to get a status to once every three to four weeks.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Danny

        Hi kay mi wife had her hearing on june 3 of this year she apple for ssi in 2014 will this affect her back pay from ss if she gets approval

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Danny,

          Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is paid first. Her Social Security Disability (SSDI) back pay will be reduced by the amount of SSI paid. SSI is not taxable and depending on your family’s total income, SSDI may be partially taxable, so there can be some advantage.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Colleen

    I talked to the Social Security office today and she told me that the judge couldn’t decide so it is being sent back to a lawyer to look at it. Is this bad? Not in my favor most likely? She said there would be a hearing with a lawyer? Not sure what all this means. Just not sounding so good. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Colleen,

      I have not heard of this situation before; I would have expected that after the lawyer did the requested review, there could be a second hearing with the judge rather than the attorney. Apparently, the judge wants the second legal opinion or wants research done on some specific point. Of course, an approval from the judge would have been better, but it is good news that the judge is trying to make the right decision based on the law and is using all resources to do so.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Colleen

        Thank you Kay.

        I was told by SSD that it is being sent back because the judge couldn’t make a decision so it is going back to the hearing phase. Also I had found out they didn’t have all my Dr. records and all the Dr.’s I went to see. They sent me a release form to sign and send back. My records stopped at 10/15 and I am still going to the Dr’s. to date. So I am glad that I had called and the woman went over my information with me. I guess I am going to have a hearing if the judge sent it back. Is that correct. Thank you

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Colleen,

          The information you have provided indicates that you will have a second hearing, likely after all your medical records have been received.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Colleen

    Hi Kay,

    What does it mean if you never had a hearing and it went to the judge? Right now my case is in writing. Does that mean the judge has made a decision without a hearing? Can it go backwards and he wants a hearing? I am confused. Because I never had a hearing and it went to the judge. Not sure what that means. Seems like almost everyone has had a hearing? Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Colleen,

      Please see my prior response of earlier today. The additional information that you are providing indicates that the claim has been approved without a hearing. The judge will review the letter for accuracy when it is completed and then it will be sent to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Colleen

    Hi. What does it mean if your claim is in writing and you never had a hearing? It just went to the judge.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Colleen,

      All claims go to the judge before a hearing is held. If you mean that your appeal is being reviewed to decide whether a hearing is needed, it means that there is a possibility of an approval without having to have a hearing. If there is insufficient information to approve the claim without a hearing, you will get a hearing to present your case.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • shaniqua

        Hello Kay,

        My lawyer is writing a brief for the courts because he states that their is enough medical evidence that a hearing may not be needed. how long will it take to know if they accept it and it was approved?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Shaniqua,

          I suggest that you check with your attorney, who would be familiar with wait times in your area, for an estimate of how much wait time might be cut off with a brief filing, that is, how long you are likely to wait before the brief is reviewed.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Jane

    Hi Kay,
    I was told that my case was worked up in April of 2016. It is still unassigned. Is this normal?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jane,

      It is possible to have lag time in any stage of the appeal. The judge is usually assigned only shortly before you receive notice of the hearing date.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Randy

    What do I do when a judge misrepresents my limitations to the vocational expert?

    Let me preface by saying I don’t have a lawyer. I had one but once they found out who my judge was back in february they dropped me as a client after waiting two years for a hearing. This happened just few weeks before my hearing. I went to the hearing and the judge wanted some more recent medical records. So we rescheduled.

    I just had my hearing and the first 20+ min were spent by asking my how my illnesses (dystonia and mitochondrial myopathy) affected my daily life and what my limitations were.

    The next 20+ involved the judge creating a hypothetical person to the VE who didn’t have any of my limitations! Basically the judge misrepresented me to the VE, so of course the VE said this ‘hypothetical’ person could do all these various jobs. The judge basically lied to the VE (who was on the phone) about what my limitations are. I even had doctor’s letters telling them of my helth problems and that they limit my ability to work. Then I never had the opportunity to cross examine the VE. The judge simply gave me about 30 seconds at the end to say something about my case. I was so angry and appalled that he lied to the VE.

    Do I have any recourse? If I file an appeal will I get the same judge?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Randy,

      You had the opportunity at the end of the hearing to politely say that you did not have the limitations the judge inquired about and that you wanted to ask the vocational expert whether you could perform the identified jobs with the limitations you actually have. Because you didn’t ask those questions, I do not know whether you have a basis for appeal. That said, you can always try. The rules for appealing to the Appeals Council are very specific, so it would be a good idea to engage another Social Security attorney experienced in appeals to help you formulate it. The Appeals Council can deny your appeal, overturn the judge’s decision, or remand (send back) your claim to the same judge for more investigation and a second hearing.

      Alternatively, you can file a new claim with an alleged disability onset date one day after the hearing denial letter’s date. For Social Security Disability (SSD), this option only works if you were still insured on day after the hearing denial letter. So, before deciding to file a new claim, I suggest that you check with Social Security for your date last insured. (If your claim was only for Supplemental Security Income [SSI], insured status is not a concern.) For both SSD and SSI, a new claim will result in no retroactivity.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Patricia John

    Hi
    I had my diasbility hearing at the end of May. I have severe Fibromyalgia, activity induced asthma, sleep apnea, extreme fatigue, etc…The Judge did not do the “hypothetical” person thing during my hearing. I was in extreme pain, and I know it showed. At the end of the hearing the judge said he is sending me for ANOTHER SS Dr appointment, which is next week, and I will be going. Also he stated due to my Fibro fog he was sending me to a SSmental health appointment. WHY????

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patricia,

      The mental evaluation may be to determine whether you are capable of managing your benefits if your claim is approved and/or it may be to determine /whether/how much your “fog” affects your ability to work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michael carlton

    I have been waiting for a hearing since May 28 2015 ! My lawyer said it could take up to 14 months . I have lost my home my cars an truck now I’m getting evicted . I tryed yo work during this time an could not do the job will it hurt my case where I tryed to work an I havnt been able to go back to the dr I’m so far in Debit I can’t afford to go or get my medicine I really need help

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      If you worked less than six months, your work will likely be treated as an unsuccessful work attempt and not adversely affect your claim. You should let you attorney know about the work attempt. I suggest contacting your local social services office to see whether you can get Medicaid. Another possibility is to try to get into a county clinic for a prescription and then contact the pharmaceutical company that makes it to request free medications. Some companies will provide free essential medications for a while. The doctor’s office should be able to tell you which company manufactures the medications. Another idea is that some large pharmacy chains sell some generic medications for as little as $4. Perhaps a friend or relative could help out with the cost of a prescription. Also, ask your attorney to submit a dire need statement to the hearing office based on being evicted and having no money for medical treatment or medications. If might move the hearing date up a little bit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Betty Norton

    Hi, I have a question. I just had my hearing before a ALJ needless to say it did not go very well. Even my lawyer was confused after the hearing and stated that before the hearing she would have said i had a 99% chance of being approved due to her experience and my history.After the hearing she felt differently. I was the first hearing it was delayed by 35 mins due to the fact that someone turned of the volume and nobody relized it just no sound, then the quard told us to go into the room before the judge was ready, then when he went over the rules and was swearing us in the VE phone starts ringing. So before i even sat down the tension was so thick you couldn’t cut it with a knife. at the hypothetical came up she named of like 5 jobs that i could do, weird jobs like a tube clerk that she said had about 21000 jobs nationaly. After everything even though the Judge was nice and respectful I have to agree that i will get a denial. Would it be worth it to appeal since that is very hard to get approved or start over.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Betty,

      If your appeal is denied, I suggest discussing your options with your attorney. You and the attorney can get a copy of the claim file and hearing transcripts to analyze. The attorney should be able to tell whether the judge made any procedural errors that would result in an Appeals Council overturning or remand.

      One thing to consider in making a decision is whether you will be still insured for Social Security Disability on the day after the date on the denial letter. You cannot claim a disability date earlier than the day after the hearing decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Momto2

    Wondering if you could answer a question. The father of my children applied for SSDI in May 2015. I have been without any financial support for the children since then. We expected his hearing to be sometime this fall. He messaged me and told me that his attorney had contacted him and the judge had approved his claim without a hearing back to December 2014. Does this happen? That a judge will review the case prior to the a hearing being set and automatically approve it? I don’t want to get my hopes up as I’ve never heard of this happening before.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mom to 2,

      Yes, judges will sometimes approve an appeal on the record without a hearing. If the children are living with you, I suggest that you apply to be representative payee for them so that you can receive their dependent benefits if their father’s work history is sufficient to provide dependent benefits. Take their birth certificates and Social Security numbers and, if you have it, their father’s Social Security number.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Momto2

        Thank you Kay. He did actually send me a copy of his letter so I will be making an appointment this week to get the children’s benefits. I do have full physical custody of the children and they do live with me. This will be a relief.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Mom to 2.

    • lee

      Hello kay just had my disability hearing about 3 weeks ago the judge asked me a few questions then the vocational expert told the judge that I could not do my job that I was doing for 35 years and that they were no other jobs that I could do just want to know does that sound good for a ruling in my favor

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Lee,

        If the judge accepts the limitations you are claiming and that were the basis for the vocational expert’s opinion, your claim should be approved.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Amy

    Hello Kay. I hope this question reaches you. I had my SSDI hearing on May 26 for mental health issues. I have recurrent major depression resistant to treatment, major anxiety disorder, and am currently in treatment for PTSD. I have been hospitalized in psychiatric hospitals/wards four times since September of 2015, once for a suicide attempt and the last two times for ECT treatment. I will continue having maintenance ECT once a month beginning January 15. I see my psychiatrist once a month and my therapist (for the PTSD) twice a week. My attorney said after the hearing that she felt it went well; however, I am troubled by one aspect. The ECT treatments have left me with severe short-term memory loss, and the hearing was less than a week after my last treatment. There were several instances where it took me longer than it should have to answer the judge’s questions due to this memory loss, and at one point I felt the judge was getting irritated by my slowness in answering his questions. Is this something I should be worried about?

    Thank you for your response.

    Amy

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amy,

      Visible signs of disability at a hearing can help rather than hinder a case, especially if you expressed having trouble remembering or thinking.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ashley

    Hi Kay,

    I’m currently awaiting an SSDI hearing in TN and my attorney said it would take 12 – 14 months. I have a neuromusuclar disease, and my attorney says I have an “excellent case.” I really want to have a baby. If I were to get pregnant would this ruin my chances of getting my SSDI claim approved? I’m so worried. I’m 35, and infertility usually strikes around this age so I don’t have long. I know of disabled people who have children. Would they deny me if I’m pregnant? Thank you for your time.

    Ashley

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashley,

      I suggest that you get your attorney’s advice on this.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Josh G

    Hi Kay,
    So, I’m starting to get antsy I guess you might say. I had my ALJ hearing on January 20, 2016. The judge grilled me for two hours, not on any of my medical issues or limitations, but on my life clear back into my teenage years (I’m 37). She was rude and condescending, and blatantly voiced her opinion that she didn’t believe 37 year olds could be permanently disabled. She kept twisting my words, and also kept trying to back me into a corner and admit I planned on returning to the work force. I have two medical source statements, a letter from my primary care physician stating I am permanently disabled and why, evidence of my service animals, my handicap placard, my prescription cane, letters from family and friends giving testimony of my conditions and limitations, my medical records, and more in my SSDI case file. After the hearing she deemed I needed to see their dr, and I had that appointment on March 8, 2016. Towards the end of March his report arrived at my attorneys office, and it was full of “inaccuracies” (to be polite) such as he recorded 28 minutes with me when in fact he only spent 10, and he made “decisions” about things we didn’t discuss and he didn’t examine me for. Fortunately my attorney counseled me to take notes and document everything from times to exam activities, and we returned those to ODAR quickly. My attorney also said my primary care physician’s opinion, after 13 years of treating me, should carry far more weight.
    I haven’t heard anymore on my case, and it’s been right at two months since we filed the response to the SSA doctor’s evaluation. How much longer does the judge have to make a decision? My attorney is hopeful, saying she left herself wide open for appeal on a denial, and as such would probably approve my case in the end, but…I’m a single dad, unable to work for years now, and money is tight. I’m tired of the fight, and pray it’s over soon. She can’t just leave it on her desk indefinitely, can she? What are your thoughts/opinions?
    Thanks!
    Josh

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Josh,

      The judge cannot just approve or deny; she has to write a very detailed explanation supporting her decision. It sounds as if your appeal became complicated and it could be that she is either trying to give herself time to think it through or is putting it off. Either way, ou and your attorney have no control over how long it could take the judge to make a decision and there are few controls within ODAR regarding this. You might ask your attorney whether he can follow up or it is better to leave things alone.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Josh G

        Kay,
        Thank you for your response. I did call ODAR, and the receptionist said “the decision has not gone out yet but they’re working on it” so hopefully that means it’s been made and being written up. I’ll follow up with my attorney in a few weeks if I still haven’t heard anything.

        If I may ask, I’m curious about the vast differences among not only the different ODARS, but the judges inside the same location. Are there not standard guidelines judges must follow? Why are some locations consistently so hard to get approved from? I understand each case is different, but even still it’s federal and statistically speaking all the ODARS and judges should run within the same windows of averages. Instead, you find some locations, such as the one processing mine, repeatedly in the bottom 10 for approvals and top 10 for denials year after year, and the same goes for individual judges. Why is this? And why the lack of general uniformity and equality? Mild to even moderate fluctuations of statistics is understandably expected, but instead the patterns more consistently reflect certain locales and judges are somehow predeterminedly biased against their claimants/cases. Why is this?

        Again, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I’ve been at this for over five years now, and a lot has left me confused with unanswered questions about not only my own experience but the system as a whole. If I could work, which I miss very much, I would’ve thrown in the towel years ago. More often than not, the process has felt almost like a punishment for becoming disabled…especially when forced to deal with time sensitive and confusing denials and appeals while having health issues and focus altering medications to contend with simultaneously for years on end. Reading all the comments, your answers have helped many and are a much appreciated light in the dark.
        Take care,
        Josh

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Josh,

          Judges judge. They are supposed to look at the evidence and the law and make a judgement about whether the claimant meets Social Security law’s definition of disability. Some cases are obvious and some are hard calls. Judges are also human and imperfect like the rest of us. As far as geographic variations, my opinion (not a fact) is that more conservative areas of the country may overall have more conservative (stricter) viewpoints about what meets disability in the borderline claims. It is also possible that some geographic areas have more poverty so that more people who have illnesses but who are not disabled file for benefits because of the dearth of jobs.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Laura

    Hi I posted this earlier but I cant find where I posted it. I don’t know if it was deleted so I am posting again.
    I just called for the status of my alj hearing i had on 3/31 They told me it is waiting for the judge to proofread and edit and if I dont hear by 6/1 to call back and recheck status. Depending on how much the judge is backed up it can take upto 4 weeks for her to get to it. Can someone please tell me what this means, I have no idea, and my attorney is on vacation. Thanks in Advance

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Laura,

      It means an approval or denial decision has been made, the decision letter has been written, the judge has to review the letter for accuracy and sign it, and you should get the letter by June 1.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Veronica Greene

        Hello Kay, my 13 year old had his adhd hearing today. Is it normal that the judge wanted to see him? After the questioning withmy son, the judge and my lawyer question me. Then the judge said I will hear something in month. My lawyer just told me we answer well and that what he said about the month was a good sign. Is this true? Thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Veronica,

          It is common for a judge to want to see a disabled child. There is no reason to doubt the opinion of your attorney who was present at the hearing.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Veronica Greene

            Thanks Kay,

            Didn’t mean to sound to curious. I been turned down 3 times so I finally got a lawyer. This is so new to me.

      • Bobbie Reeves

        Hi Kay. I couldn’t see anywhere to post so I hope it’s okay to ask my question here. I had my hearing on March 17th. The judge said she would keep it open until April 1st to receive new documentation. As of today May 20th they still have not made a decision yet. I have applied for disability based off of SLE lupus and anxiety. When asking the vocational expert if there were any jobs I can do the vocational expert listed a few, the last hypothetical the judge asked if I had to be out x amount of days is there any work I can do and the vocational expert said that I would not be able to maintain employment. I’m so anxious to know what the outcome was, do you have any advice? Thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Bobbie,

          The vocational expert’s testimony is favorable. If the judge finds that the medical evidence in file supports your having to be off work as much as you allege, your claim will be approved.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Darrell

    I have a new one after several months of waiting for my hearing another SSDI judge stepped down over the course of 5 months 2 judges have stepped down from my case and now it has been moved to SSDI court in ALASKA , My residence is in WA,State.

    Is this normal ??? Do I have any rights to a hearing ever ? My original judge stepped down at the request of my lawyer and it has been mess ever since Darrell

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Darrell,

      You will eventually get a hearing. It is unusual for a judge to step down at an attorney’s request; however, it is not uncommon for a hearing to be transferred to another jurisdiction due to excessive workloads in the original one. If you need clarification for why your case was transferred, I suggest talking with your attorney.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Darrell

        Thanks for your reply I wanted to clarify that there has been 3 judges since the fall of last year with judges #3 stepping down days before my court date of 5/16/16 this doesn’t sound like due to excessive work load here, A person who gets assigned 2 different judges within a few months sounds like foul play to me.And being sent to ODAR Alaska with the worst approval rating in the united states. Sounds pretty slippery to me.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Darrell,

          I don’t know what is going on, but my guess is that there’s some problem in your local hearing office and that the situation is not personal to you even though it affects you personally. Perhaps your attorney can get an explanation.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Darrell

            Hello found out today was moved to Alaska for July Hearing lets see what prev-ales from this mess, I think no one wants to touch my case after original judge made promises and dint keep them so everyone else is Leary of touching it .
            It has been almost a year since second court date and I am still in limbo what if new ALJ steps down ? Can they keep doing this to people ??

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Darrell,

              Hopefully, the series of unusual events will have ended. Without knowing the reasons for a judge stepping down I can’t comment on whether it could happen again.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Paris

    I have been cut off my benefits for two years my case has been at the alj office of adjudication and review for a year now the reason why I been cut off is because I did not make it to my ssi appointment because I was very ill I even called in to tell them I couldn’t make it I have diabetes,gastroparesis, kidney damage , a case of mental history etc. do you think there is a chance of me winning my case when I do get a appointment ? Plus I have a lawyer who isn’t helping me at all she just wants my money ..another question I have is if I win do I get back pay from all of those months I had to wait?? Please help me

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Paris,

      If you can show good cause for not making the appointment, I think that your benefits will be reinstated with back pay to the time you were cut off.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Helen

        Hi Kay,
        I didnt see a place to post a comment I hope here is okay. I had my hearing a month ago. I live in NYC I have done jail time bc of my mental illness I have bi polar 1 and I have boderline.criminal system anxiety.depression. my records.have been sent to an ME twice now why and then what?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Helen,

          You have been sent for consultative examinations to gather more information regarding your mental health. Once the reports are received by the Disability Determination Services (DDS), all the information in the claim file will be reviewed and a decision will be made regarding your medical eligibility for benefits.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Mary

            Dear Kay,
            I too did not know where to post a question so I hope you receive this.
            How do I know my attorney is doing everything that needs to be done?
            I am in financial ruin! I have worked since I was 16 now 49. I have been out of work for almost 2 yrs. I had a heart attack, that didn’t slow me down but breast cancer did. Stage 11 mastectomy chemo rad. still need two more surgeries. Chemo did me in. I have horrible neuropathy in my hand and feet. I hurt all over. The worst of it is now I am clinically depressed. I cant read or watch tv I can not concentrate on anything. I cry all the time because I fear the cancer coming back. Sleep is horrible! Every ache or pain in my mind is cancer.
            I wont go anywhere and I don’t talk to anyone. I am seeing a cancer psychiatrist and she is trying different meds none are working. She has told me she would help me with my claim that right now I can not work. I was denied for ss 2x filed for a hearing Oct 2015. my question to you is I am putting all my faith into this attorney who I am really not comfortable with. I called ss and they told me to file another claim and it would not hurt my pending hearing. My attorney told me not to. I don’t know what to do.
            Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Mary,

              I do not think you can have two claims pending at the same time; I believe you would have to cancel your appeal to file a new claim and doing so could lose you money. Until the date of the hearing comes up, the attorney can’t really do anything except gather and submit new evidence. That said, if you are not comfortable with the attorney and decide you want to change, read the termination provisions in the agreement you signed with the attorney and talk to Social Security about what you have to report to them to change. If you do change, be sure you terminate in writing.

              Whatever attorney you work with, submit updated evidence such as a supportive statement from the cancer psychiatrist about your mental state to your attorney. Request that his office notify you when the new evidence is sent to the hearing office.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

        • tara

          Hi Kay
          I did not see a place to ask questions I hope here is ok. I have been denied for my social security disability so of course my attorneys filed for a hearing the judge has accepted all my medical records i have since developed skin cancer and just the other day i was rushed to the emergency room for a seizure my attorneys have told me the judge is trying to make a decision with out me going to court I would like to know if that is a positive sign i will be approved I have done every thing that social security has asked of me

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Tara,

            Is a positive sign that the judge is reviewing your records to see if an approval decision can be made on the record without a hearing. If more information is needed that the judge wants to get directly from you, you will have a hearing.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

            Sincerely,
            Kay

      • Gussie Wilson

        Dear Kay

        I had my hearing February 23, 2016. my lawyer said we won the case but when i called to check the status on my case they told me it will be 2 months before i know anything so it been 2 months and now i call they say the judge is making his decision so how long do it take to hear anything and whats the next steps.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Gussie,

          Apparently, your attorney was offering his or her opinion of the outcome of the hearing. Sixty days is the guideline for the judge to make a decision, but frequently it takes longer. You just need to wait. You can call about every three weeks to see if the decision has been made and has gone to the letter=writing department. (You will not be given the decision over the phone.)

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Tammy

        Dear Kay,

        What does it mean that the ALJ judge didn’t ask any questions to the vocational expert, just swore him in. I have Complex PTSD, Major depressive disorder, and Agoraphobia.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Tammy,

          The judge may have decided that you were disabled without the need for testimony from the vocational expert. If your claim is denied, ask the vocational expert’s opinion might be grounds for appeal.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Paris

        Thank you so much ! God bless

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Paris.

    • Angela edwards

      I didn’t know how to post but I had a hearing April 5th a decision was made the 28th. The judge asked if I had a check account food stamps and where my husband works. Never had this asked and I been fighting since 2010. I’m scared bc he made the decision so fast. Should I be

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Angela,

        I don’t know what to make of the judge’s questions because usually the hearing is limited to medical issues. I don’t know what the decision may be, but the speed of the decision probably doesn’t mean anything one way or the other.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • James

    Dear Kay,

    I went to my appeals hearing on Feb 11th, 2016. I represented myself and the Judge told me, near the end of my argument [in the hearing] that there was no need to continue as he was ruling in my favor. He did go through the steps and ask the “hypothetical” to the gentleman in the room, who agreed that I could not preform (meaningful work)sic. Before I left, I asked him when be able to use my Medicare and he said ‘someone would contact me next week.’ I found out he was wrong about this. No one can give me an even general date as to when my benefits will kick in. The state of FL, has determined that I am not disabled and have reduced my foodstamp benefits unless I volunteer 80hrs per month and 40hrs job training per month. So, I guess my question is if the Judge says I am approved [verbally] yet, the record shows pending. Which should I rely on? and should I continue to offer evidence towards my case. Also, how long am I looking at? If it helps I have Epilepsy, Narcolepsy, Cataplexy. Thx 4 your time

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear James,

      It is unlikely that the judge will deny your claim after saying he will approve you. It can take sixty days to get a written decision. It can take another couple months to get payments started. Medicare coverage begins with the twenty-fifth month of disability. You will receive a Medicare card if you are eligible already at the time that you receive your award letter with the calculation of benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • James

        Dear Kay,

        Thank you for your response. The SS office says that my claim is at the payment center. So, I guess that is good news. Again. Thx

        James

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, James.

  • IAN DUMAS

    Hello, my hearing is in 14 days but I haven’t had too much contact with my law office. I got a lawyer in Feb. They said he would call me 2 days before the date for coaching. Is this normal? It all seems a bit last minute. Its been 3 years since I applied. A long time to wait just to do things wrong now.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ian,

      It is common for lawyers to meet with clients shortly before the hearing. Presumably, the attorney will have read the full claim appeal file before meeting with you. If you have any new information to give the attorney, do it now and then ask at your meeting whether he or she got it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • IAN

        OK, thank you very much for the reply. I feel a bit better no .

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Ian.

      • Lauren

        I’ve been waiting for a hearing for just about a yr and a half. Wondering how far in advance will I get notice for the hearing? I saw they have to let you know 21 days prior but what’s the norm?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Lauren,

          Yes, it is typical to get the hearing date only a short time before the hearing.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Richard Valdez

      I spoke with my lawyer the day of the hearing like 45 minutes prior to and he gave me some pointers on what to say and how to answer some questions he said he wasn’t too worried about my case due to the fact I had a strong one but the only thing against me was my age being 34. just don’t be nervous make sure you look the judge in his or her eyes and don’t offer up more information than what they’re asking

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Richard,

        This site is not set up for visitors to offer advice, but I am making an exception because your attorney’s advice that you are passing on is sound in terms how to handle yourself in a hearing.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Hi Kay,
    My son is 10 and he currently suffers from autism,adhd,social and emotional liabilatity, simple tics, learning disability. We went for a hearing with an alj in Jan.2016. Within a week I received a call to bring him to there doctor for another exam. The dr (psychologist) examined my son also and has determined he has mild and moderate limitations and after his appointment with the dr I received a letter from the judge asking to add the additional evidence for to his record. The judge still hasn’t issued a decision. Do you think this may be in my sons favor to win his benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susan,

      Please see my response of yesterday to your first posting.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Peggy

        Hi Kay, I am not sure where I should be asking my question but I hope that this spot is ok. I had my hearing before alj on Feb 25, I called the local ss on Mar 22 and was informed that my case was pending and that a complete decision had not been reached, but I should be getting a letter fairly soon. So I decided to call odar the next day for case status update, and I was told that it had been assigned to senior writer as of yesterday Mar 22. My question is , what could the reason be for it to be so quickly assigned over and is there any significance to it going to senior writer?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Peggy,

          How long it takes to get a decision is not an indicator of the outcome. I do not know the significance of the appeal decision being given to a senior decision writer versus a non-senior writer. It may be a random assignment.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Peggy

            Thank you Kay, just like everyone else the wait is HORRIBLE!

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Peggy.

      • Helen

        Dear Kay Derochie,
        I couldnt find another way to leave a question. I had a disability hearing on Febuary 25 2016. My claim is from denile December 2013. I have been working part time since the end of 2015 out of deperstion for money.I have a son. I struggle everumyday with bi polar one and boderline been arrested did time muiltiple hospitalizations past suicide attempts since 13 . No VE at my hearing. Judge asked for records from 2012 before my onset date application whats going on.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Helen,

          The judge is getting your medical records to review to determine what your limitations are. He or she may set up another hearing with a vocational expert (VE) or may make a decision based on the hearing that was held and the records received after the hearing.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Helen

            Okay Thank you

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Helen.

    • Anxiouschild

      Does the ALJ usually follow the medical expert’s opinion when making a decision or do they sometimes disagree and make a different decision to approve or deny a claim? If ME says child has 1 severe but other domains from other sources show more than one severe (example)

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Anxiouschild,

        The judge is supposed to consider all the evidence in file, not just the medical expert witness’ opinion.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • my son has a tramatic brain injury in 2015, has had a lot of problems with mental thinking, moods, speech, outbursts, personal hygene, taking medication for bipolar disorder, he on about 8 different meds. blood pressure, anxiety meds, sleep meds. , was diened disabilty, but waiting on the ssi decision, its been about 6 months, how long do you think before he get, the decision, also he goes to a community health center to see thearpist.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rosemary,

      Six months is longer than average to get a decision. I suggest that you and he call the Disability Determinations Services (DDS) and speak to the claims examiner handling his case to find out whether they are waiting for something from him or his doctors and, if not, when they expect a decision. If they are waiting for something, perhaps you can get it submitted.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Is a post hearing interrogatory usually good or bad for child ssi claim?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Fanika,

        The interrogatory serves to provide the judge with more information about your child’s medical condition, which apparently the judge felt was needed before a decision could be made. The only thing that it is a sign of is that the appeal is still pending a decision.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Wouldn’t the parent and attorney be given a copy of this and if so when before during or after it is sent for interrogatory? If not does it mean that the alj is approving the claim?

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Fanika,

            I am unable to answer your question. I suggest you consult with your attorney.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Hello Again Kay,
    I thought I submitted a question a few weeks ago and not sure it came thru. So I want to apologize if you hear from me twice.
    I had my SSDI hearing in 12/2015 and the VE was asked three difference questions from the judge and the VE did state that they were possibly 2 jobs I may be able to perform. The judges last question to the VE was a hypothetical question regarding if I missed 2 or more days a month was I employable? The VE clearly stated ” No jobs are available “. I suffer with Mental Health Issue, Major Depression Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and I’m treatment resistant to antidepressants. I’ve been put on every class of antidepressants and even have undergone ECT. I’ve been seemingly ng my Primary Doctor for follow up appointment every 3 months. they have taking on my medications as well, but only see my psychiatrist about twice a year. The judge wrapped thing up very quickly after the VE spoke and then requested that I have a Psychological Exam. Which I attended in January. The Psychologist stated at the end of my appointment that he/she had no doubt the the Mental Health Issues were real and then went on to say that he had no doubt that I’d more than likely win my case but was unsure of when? He even proceeded to showing me the paperwork he had to fill out and sent back to the DDS. I’ve been waiting since 2014 and have been unemployment since May 2013. Do you think I have any chance of getting a Fully or Partially Favorable decision. I’m tired of all the unknown and I live in the Midwest in one of the state’s that fall below the national average of Fully or Partially Favorable. I want to thank you again for any response.

    I’m also very confused about the back pay as well. Will I receive SSI and SSDI back pay if I get a Favorably decision? I applied for both at the initial application. I have 3 dependents as well.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Margaret,

      Of course it is not possible to know for sure; but with the favorable psychological evaluation report, conditions seem favorable for an approval. If you are approved for both SSDI and SSI, SSI will be paid first and your SSDI back pay will be reduced by the amount of SSI already paid for the same months. If your minor dependents are eligible for Social Security dependent benefits, their benefits will be paid for the same months as you are entitled to SSDI and will not be offset by your SSI.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Thank you so much Kay…I really appreciate you.

      • Kay Derochie

        You are welcome, Margaret.

  • HUMBLE D

    HELLO KAY IM WRITING YOU TODAY TO TELL YOU THAT I CALLED THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION TODAY BECAUSE IM GOING IN MY 21ST MONTH WAITING FOR A HEARING AND THE REPRESENTATIVE FIRST ASKED ME DID I HAVE MY HEARING ALREADY AND I TOLD HER NO THEN SHE TOLD ME ALL IM WAITING FOR IS A DECISION LETTER MY QUESTION TO YOU IS DOES THIS MEAN WHAT I THINK IT DOES ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Humble,

      I don’t know what you think it means, but here’s what I think. If a decision is being made without a hearing, the decision is an approval because denial cannot be rendered without a hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ms. K

    PS: Ms. Kay, I do sedentary work, but the problem is having to switch positions and stand and sit with a walking cane.

  • Ms. K

    Hello Again Ms. Kay,

    I had my hearing on today and although I have a very negative Attorney because I work less than 20 hours per week. I think it went well. There were only 2 jobs that the VE said that I could do. Now, the hypo was no for both jobs. It bothers me that I have a very negative Atty. He had me nervous about the judge, but she was great! Little did I know, I should have been nervous about him….After it was over the first thing that came out of his mouth was negative. The only positive thing he said was that…I did a great job testifying, and for people that have exceeded the allowed SGA, she will not even consider. I did not exceed and fell below the cutoff. I fell like, I may be denied because I work. Its like, if u sit around and wait for SSA you will be destitute, because they still deny people that do not work at all. He seems to think me working to maintain my health insurance and go to the Doctor is not a good idea for anyone. That does not seem fair if judges hold it against you and Social Security says its ok. I am confused. His assistant was always encouraging and he was soooo dry. I will go to a higher court if need be, but I do not want him representing me anymore. He was so negative based off past cases and yet, I am not those people. I got positive vibes from her, and even the judge said that the hypo would not be tolerated in that type of setting. I had never talked to him until last Friday, and I met him today. I wish I had known this sooner. To me, he has killed the case and yet the answer was no for the hypo, due to trying to work an 8 hour job with a walking cane and being able to function properly in a full-time job with a cane used for pain and balancing. Ironically, I almost fell when I stood up to reach for my cane after the hearing due to stiffness that sets in after only about 30 minutes. What are your thoughts? I feel that I have a great chance because I have tons of medical records. Even the letters from my employer were down played by him, after he requested them. Help me understand. His personnel staff told me about SSA and working and I told him that they told me. He then backed down…I know that I have to wait for a decision, but, I am considering changing attorneys if it is denied. I am not happy with him. Please help me, I could use some encouraging words right about now. Remember me, I was the one with the Obamacare problem and my income. Thank you so much for allowing people like myself to air their frustrations.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ms. K.,

      The judge is making the decision and not the attorney, so if the judge assesses that your limitations are supported and that you cannot work more than you are, you should be approved based on the vocational expert’s testimony. If you have to appeal and decide to change attorneys, be sure to do paperwork with the Social Security Administration to go on record as having terminated your contract with the first attorney.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Ms. K

        Thank you Ms. Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome.

  • Ms. K

    Dear Ms. Kay,

    I am a 54 years old and will be 55 in May. I have a hearing on Tuesday, 3/15. After speaking with my Atty this morning. He has some concerns about my pay. I was diagnosed with Strep on my hip in February of 2013. Onset date is January 31st of 2013. The 31st is the date that I fell ill. I was hospitalized and my hip was irrigated. The infection was so severe, it ate away at my cartilage. I was diagnosed in May of 2013, with Osteoarthritis and of course I was now in need of a hip replacement. My employer continued to pay me after I ran out of leave time and I could not have been more grateful. I work for a church. They were expecting me to be back by May. I thought the same. Once I notified them of the needed 2nd hip surgery, they began the process of short term disability. In the meantime, I still received a full pay check until August, although I was on medical leave. The short term disability finally kicked in and I did not receive any more pay from my employer for the remainder of the year. I got the hip implant on Aug 8th and something went terribly wrong by August 30th. I started bleeding from the wound site. I know now what caused it but due to legal matters, I am not at liberty to say. i was rushed into surgery and my hip was irrigated again. This was 2 surgeries within a 3 week period, & 3 within 6 months. After each surgery I was assigned a Physical Therapist and on all three occasions, I went from a walker to a cane. Well, due to the arthritis, hip implant, and 3rd surgery, I never came off of my cane. I use it for pain and balancing to this day. I also take Schedule 2 drugs and a powerful anti-inflammatory pain medicine for flare ups as needed. The attorney is concerned with my income. I was terminated from my job in early 2014, and did not return to work until March 30, 2014. I averaged $700.00 a month in 2014 from April until December. I work anywhere from 13 to 15 hours a week. We are paid monthly at a set salary. My employer dropped my insurance when I returned to work and set me up with an agent for health insurance. I had to ask for an increase in 2015 to continue qualifying for Obamacare. The least that my state allows for Obamacare is $972.50 per month. They approved the increase, again to help me out (not our normal guidelines for raises but they wanted to help me while i wait on my hearing and the decision. This is a church that helps the community and its members. I have never made more than the SGE cut off allows. He seems to believe that the judge may have a problem because although it is under $1,000.00 per month, she may feel that I could have earned more. I do plan to get a letter from my employer to clarify my current work situation, and how I was disabled in 2013 although it shows income. I suffer from Trochanric Bursitis and chronic pain in my right hip. My pain is brought on by movement. Due to all of the surgeries, the scar tissue is debilitating and the bursitis travels. I get shots in my hip as well. I can not lift much over a couple of pounds of dead weight. Maybe up to five pounds if the object is hollow. Pushing and pulling heavy filing drawers causes flare ups. Bending and stooping causes pain. Repetitive things with my arms and hands brings on pain if my pain level is up that day. I use my cane because of the weight bearing joint. It is to painful to go through out the day without it. I have tried and my hip almost gave out. The staff and volunteers come to my area and help me every day with filing and carrying objects for me. They move items that are to heavy, and pull files for storage and box them. I have to key information and this can bring on pain. All of the things that i do on my right side thru out the day, brings on pain. Should I be concern about my hearing? I live with a relative because I can not afford to pay rent and all of my bills. Up until now, I was receiving the $972.50 per month but due to some pay cuts, it was reduced to a little over $800.00 per month. If I do not get my Disability, I will loose my insurance because there is no expanded Medicaid in our state and it is not enough to qualify. What do you think about my situation? I really need a person that has never met me or know me to give me their point of view and my chances of getting approved. I go to a Pain Clinic every two months for my meds, and my shot. I have been thru physical therapy 4 times and the pain will not subside. I can only hang about 8 hours out of a day and this includes, showering, dressing, preparing and eating breakfast, traveling to and from work, and preparing dinner. After to many hours of movement, the Bursitis kicks in and I have to lay still and not talk for the pain to subside. This is after I have taken my last pill of the day. I take 4 a day and it affects my concentration, memory and it makes me tired. At times the pain meds just stop working. Do you agree with my Atty? He feels that maybe if I give her the letter and explain how my pain affects my day it may or may not make a difference. By the way, I do clerical work and it involves normal office duties. I have been employed there for at least 9 years. I have always worked in a office setting. My Atty stated that judges now days are not as flexible with people that work, although SSDI does allow you to work while waiting. My pay in no way equals the work that I do, and I plan to have that put in writing on company letterhead. Please give me your take on this. sorry it is so long.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ms. K.,

      You are right that you need a letter from your employer that outlines the following:

      1. You were off work from January 31, 2013 continuously through March 2014 return to work date.
      2. They first paid you sick pay and then continued full wages as a courtesy to the specific date in August when you went on company sponsored short-term disability.
      3. If STD had Social Security taxes withheld, the employer also should say that STD may show as earnings because tax law requires SS tax withholding for the first six months after last pay because it is considered third party sick pay.
      4. Date you returned to work and your job title.
      5. Reason for raise to $972.50 so you could have medical insurance.
      6. Number of hours you have worked per week.
      7. Unpaid abnormal assistance from co-workers and list of types of help you get and whether it is every day.
      8. Any observations (what they can see–not what you tell them) of limitations they see; specifically visible pain behavior, limping, etc.

      With this letter and good documentation of your medical problems for the whole period, the judge should be able to get a full picture that you are working at capacity.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Ms. K

        Thank you so much Kay!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Ms. K.

  • Ericka

    I had a hearing on March 1 and there were no jobs my lawyer said to not get my hopes up to high but not down either. What is my next step have I been approved please help

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ericka,

      No decision has been made on your appeal. Now you wait for a decision letter, which can take sixty days or more.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sueellen Justice

        the judge asked me to consider a different onset. date. I said no Whatta you think of that

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sueellen,

          Your appeal may be denied. The judge asked you to consider a different, later date because he or she was having trouble seeing that you were disabled earlier. Another possibility is that the judge will approve you with the date he asked you to accept and you will get a partially favorable decision. In either case, if you choose, you will have the right to appeal.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Jessie Lynn

    My son has a severe case of ADHD. I had my hearing March 8th & I have my own lawyer, he said the hearing went well. Judge said she will send my lawyer & I a written decision. How long will that be?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jessie,

      The guidelines are for you to receive the decision within sixty days, but sometimes it takes longer.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • elizabeth booze

    my daughter is 21… she has hadd mental issues since she was 12… she sent all the documenst and letters from drs… her files are 300 pages long so we got all the letters and even a whodas form filled out … she has severe bipolar and depression and anxiety… and cant think or concentrate… in every letter we got, it states that… they said to send to the ss office to see if she get approved without the hearing even though its at the hearing stage… they said she will either get approved at this stage or set for a hearing since her case has been assigned to the judge .. what are her chances with getting approved at all at her age even with all the documenst stating her conditions…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Elizabeth,

      If her condition affects her mental function as severely as you describe and it is well-documented, your daughter has a reasonable chance for approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • elizabeth booze

        after i just stated and after everything was marked severe, she got denied… they said lack of evidence,,, we had everything… witness statemenst. letters from her drs and therapist, WHODAS FORM which is a modern rfc form…all marked severe… 10 yrs of mental evidence and we had everythng… what do they want?… what went wrong.. doesnt make sense… i dont think the judge read the whodas form… idk but after she heard that she had a major panic attack that almost sent her to the hospital.. lack of evidence?… even the atty said everything is there and teh VE said she could not do anything… now shes getting to teh point of why even live… WE HAD EVERYTHING THEY NEEDED FOR APPROVAL… EVEN THE ATTY SAID THAT… how can she say lack of evidence.. 10yrs worth since she was 12

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Elizabeth,

          As I suggested in my previous response, I suggest discussing an appeal with your attorney.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • elizabeth booze

            i didn see ur previous response and still dont…i heard they read standard limitations and not from her records… na dr she saw they requested at stage 1 -3 rs ago… at the application level… arent they supposed to dismiss that and read the medical records that are more recent and the solid letters form all the therapist and witnesses… all we can think of its her young age… cause everythign else was solid as a rock. BTW… WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF GETTNG THRM TO OVERTURN THE DESICION AT THE COUNSEL?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Elizabeth,

              All your questions and my responses are posted under the article that you posted this question. Scroll up the page until you find them. If you don’t see them, they may be on previous page and there are arrows to take you to those pages. I don’t have statistics on how many Appeals Council reviews result in overturning a decision, but it seems many more are remanded to the judge to investigate further or to correct errors.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • John Smith

    Kay my question to you is I’ve seen regarding the wait time for hearings. I’ve read most of the blogs and noticed that some people wait 16 months from the application date others wait 22 months.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      Please see my response to your last post. The waiting time for hearings is from the date the request for hearing is filed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • NeedUnderstanding

    Hi Kay,

    At my hearing on the 25th of February, the process seemed pretty quick. Before starting, the judge asked me if I agree to amend my onset date from 2006 to 2012 since supporting documents are for 2012 and current while the brain injury incident from the previous date was less supported. My representative asked me questions, the judge asked me questions and then the judge asked the VE questions from hypothetical perspective about my ability to work. Using my previous work experience the answer was no to all previous jobs and a very low percentile rating (below 20%) from whatever information she had on her screen. Then the judge asked my rep do she still want to get information from VR, and my rep said we don’t need it now thanks. So, my question is, do you think the judge might render a favorable decision? I asked because he asked my lawyer (with a tone of relief this is done because of the VE’s response) does she still want to wait and get information from VR services I was about to start seeing and she said we didn’t need it now. Thanks for your attention and reply.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear NeedUnderstanding,

      Based on the information provided, I think that your claim will be approved if you were still insured for Social Security Disability on the 2012 disability onset date that it appears the judge is going to establish.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • NeedUnderstanding

        Thanks Kay. Your communication with us is a major help.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome.

          • Joseph jones

            I recently had a alj hearing the judge stated that if he was to award benefits and I didn’t complete the vocational rehabilitation program my benefits would be stopped immediately. Does that mean that I got approval

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Joseph,

              It sounds as if the judge is thinking of approving your claim with limitations, although I have never heard of a vocational rehabilitation requirement being attached to an approval.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

    • rhonda morris

      Hello my hearing was on 2/19/16 and the doctors an the psycholist stated there was no work i could do the judge didnt evan call the ve to say there was work i could do my attoney thinks i won but when will i recieve a decision or how can i find oit if one has been made

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Rhonda,

        It sounds as if your claim will be approved; however, it can take up to a couple months to get the written decision. You can call every couple of weeks to see whether the decision has been formalized and is in the letter writing department.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • In Pain

    My Ve in my hearing said there were no jobs I could perform in my condition. What does that mean?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear In Pain,

      The vocational expert’s testimony is favorable to your claim. If the judge finds that the information in your claim file supports the limitations you state you have, your claim will likely be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • In Pain

        Thanks Kay, going crazy just waiting.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome.

      • In Pain

        The AJL has my claim, and is about to sign off on it. Is it a good sign that she only had it since Dec 16th? It was held up for a week.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear In Pain,

          How long your appeal has pended after the hearing is not a sign of either approval or denial, but you should have the written decision soon.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • In Pain

            Thanks Kay. Will let you know one way or another. I am praying hard for good news.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome.

          • In Pain

            I received my decision over the phone today and it was favorable. Thanks for all your help.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome.

    • Rene

      I had my hearing 1/25/16. Today I called to check on it and it is in the preliminary stage. What does this mean? At the hearing the VE said there were no jobs I could do. I did not get a bench decision. So, can you please explain what this stage means and how long before I hear a decision.

      Thank You very much,
      Rene

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Rene,

        I associate the term “preliminary stage” with a review before the hearing has been held, so I am not certain what it means after a hearing. However, I’d say no decision has been made yet.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Rene

          Thank you for answering my question. Since my first post, I called again and was told that the judge has made her decision and my case is waiting for the writers to compete their work. If the VE said no jobs and the judge commented that my case was well medically documented, do you feel I will recieve an approval? This has been a three year process and very stressful.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Rene,

            From the testimony and the judge’s comment about documentation I would expect an approval.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Rene

            Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. As you know this waiting period, knowing a decision has been made, is very stressful. I’m sure I will hear something in a month. You are a very good person to take the time to answer all these questions. Bless you!!

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Rene.

  • Jeff

    Hi this is my third time applying for disability,first time was back in 06, I was denied. Filed again in 2014, was denied, appealed it and was denied again but I ended up moving and didn’t get my notice to set up a hearing until it was to late. So I’m June 2015 I got a lawyer and applied again, got denied, my lawyer did my appeal for me this time 12/18/2015. I’ve been seeing doctors. I have had brain surgery for what’s called Arnold chairi malformations type II, two surgeries 2003 and 2008, my equilibrium is messed up, doctors said I’ll never be 100% ever again and it will get worse with age, I get a lot of headaches as well, I have sleep apnea, insomnia, severe lower back pain, knee problems, high blood pressure which has resulted in stage 3 of kidney disease and anxiety.. there a lot I cannot do any more that I could do before all if this, I cannot drive due to my condition, I can’t run, play sports, ride a bike..with my condition it has messed up my equilibrium, speech, eye sight and motor skills.. I’m just wondering with having a lawyer what are my chances if being approved this time and how long will it take..I just sent in a headache questioner, a function report (SSA-3373BK & Function report third party (SSA-3380-BK) like I can’t even shower with out holding on to handle, have to sit down to get dressed, I can’t stand long bc of my back, can’t bend or kneel bc I’ll fall over, can’t lift anything over 10lbs, and cannot walk more than 50′ with out having pain and then having to rest. I have to take a lot if breaks.. can you give me any insight

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jeff,

      I can’tsay whether you are disabled according to Social Security law, which requires you to be disabled from all occupations. If you can’t do occupations you have done in the past, your age and education will be considered in determining whether you can work in a new application that is not physical. The fact that the attorney took your case means that the attorney thinks you have a reasonable possibility of being approved. A reconsideration appeal can take from a month to three or four months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jeff

        Have you heard about disability action advocates.. if so what have you heard..,

        Thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jeff,

          There are individuals connected to various non-profit organizations that sometimes assist with disability claims, but I don’t have any specific information about them.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Jeff

            Did u see my last comment

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Jeff,

              I responded on January 22 to your post of January 21.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Jeff

            There’s another post from me on the 21st

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Jeff,

              I went back and looked at posted comments. I posted your long comment of 3:53, but you did not ask a question so I did not post any response.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

      • Jeff

        Good to know.. my symptoms have gotten worse.. with the Arnold Chiara malformations (Google it type 2).. it makes me walk like I’m drunk. People and even doctors have told me this.. I have a lot of anxiety, stress and fears. I fear everyday that things aren’t going to get any better as doctors have already told me this. I’m never going to be 100% it’s just going to get worse as life goes on and I get older… I stress a lot due to my conditionsurprise and illness.. like I said there used to be a lot I was able to due before these surgeries which I cannot do now.. I canthink sit for more than 30 minutes with out having to get up bc of pain and I can’t walk more than 50′ with out pain and having to stop and rest and takes brakes..I’m in the process of talking with my doctor about seeing a neurologist bc my symptoms have gotten worse again, my balance is getting worse( I’ve fallen a fewhile times), I’m getting major headaches again and trouble swallowing.. like I have to hole onto the wall or something when I walk, I cannot climb or go down stairs with out holding onto railing, while showering I have to hold on to the hand in shower bc I’m I’ll fall.. if I close my eyes for any reason I’ll fall.. I’ve fell a few time already bc of this.. after I do see a neurologist I may need another surgery.. when I was 16 I was almost paralyzed from waste down if I hadn’t gone to doctors about my symptoms and had surgery, I’ve had 2 already.. for my age u really have to many things wrong with me..

        Thanks

        • Jeff

          What do you have to say about this. Does that help anymore at all

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Jeff,

            I reviewed your second post in which you provided more information about your condition. I don’t have anything to add. If your multiple symptoms keep you from working in any occupation including occupations, you will be approved. Again, the fact that an attorney took your case, is an indication you have a reasonable chance for approval.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Darrell

    Hello I posted a question last year regarding my SSDI after waiting over and year my judges has stepped down because of being unfair. Now my case has to be reassigned to another judge, How long will this take ??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Darrell,

      Your situation is unusual so it’s hard to say how long you will have to wait. However, I would think less than for a newly filed hearing appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • tyler

        Kay
        I call today and was told my case is in final review I have not had any hearings or nothing just trying to figure out what that means thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Tyler,

          From what you wrote, I assume that you filed a claim, never been denied, and are waiting for a decision.I would say that you are close to getting a decision within a couple weeks to a month.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Crystal

    Hi! I went to my hearing today (this was a 2nd hearing as my first was in August and my lawyer did not have my updated medical records) so the judge had scheduled a 2nd hearing. Anyway after waiting for an hour and then realizing we were not on the list for a hearing, my lawyer asked the clerk what was going on, and then the judge requested to speak with my lawyer. After about 10 minutes the lawyer comes back out and said the judge canceled today’s hearing, and that the decision was made last week.. My lawyer says that means it was a favorable decision.. Is this true??
    Thanks for any help!!

    • Crystal

      I also wanted to add that we sent in the updated records after the August hearing within about 3 weeks of the hearing. And after that time there was new hearing was scheduled in Oct for Jan 8 (today). So I worry that the decision he made could maybe not be favorable since he could have decided everything from first hearing?! Is that possible? I just worry, and don’t know the logistics of this very well :/

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Crystal,

        Please see my response of a few minutes ago.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Crystal,

      That would be true. The judge should only be canceling a scheduled hearing if an appeal can be approved without the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Crystal

        Thank you Kay for your response! I am not sure if you saw my reply to my original question, but my worry is that this was a 2nd hearing, kind of like a supplemental one that was canceled, would that make a difference? Would a cancelation of hat still mean most likely a favorable decision?
        Thanks again so much for your answers 🙂

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Crystal,

          I think the same holds true whether a first or second hearing–once the hearing is scheduled it has to be held unless the claim can be approved without it.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Crystal

            Thank you Kay!! That eases my mind a little 🙂

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Crystal.

  • KATHLEEN

    Hi Kay
    I had a hearing with the judge 2 months ago. I called 3 weeks ago they said it was in writing. Then I called yesterday and they said it was with the decision maker, what does that mean?
    Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathleen,

      I think it means that the letter has been written and the judge is reviewing it for accuracy before it is sent out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Fran

    My husband has been waiting for his hearing for over 15 months which we realize is normal. My question is regarding the ss website. We went into his “my Social Security” account today and his earnings record has been updated with the past 2 years which were not there last week. His estimated benefit amount is still unavailable as he has applied for disability. Is this normal or would this indicate his file is now being addressed? I was wondering if this could be an indication of an OTR as we have recently sent in updated medical evidence that he meets a listing.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Fran,

      I think that it is more likely that the Automated Earnings Recalculation Operation (AERO) that is run twice a year has picked up his earnings from the IRS computer and posted them. This would be independent of his having filed a claim and appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Fran

        Thank you Kay!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Fran.

  • Kait

    Its been over 5 months since I had my hearing. I called and they said its Pending. The wait is getting ridiculous. Is there anyway to speed this up?

    Most people get their decision within 2 months..
    How does the alj even remember what was said at the hearing? Ive never seen anyone else wait this long. I cannot believe this especially if its a denial.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kait,

      If you are in danger of becoming homeless, you can submit a statement of dire need, which might speed things up a little. Otherwise, all you can do is wait.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tina

    Dear Kay, I had my hearing August 3rd 2015. My lawyers office hasn’t updated me about anything. I check periodically to see what’s going on. It had been in post hearing development and when I called the other day they said as of November 17 it was in pending decision writing. My question is what is pending writing decision? How much longer til I hear something? Should I set up a account on the social security website? During my wait of almost 3 years I have had 3 different lawyers in 1 law firm? My lawyer said my hearing went good. Ve said there was no jobs for me.However I do get paid to care for my disabled mother in our home. My family helps me out alot! I get a total of 4 hours a day/7 days a week. She is on a ventilator. My lawyer told me it was nothing to be concerned about because its through out the day.15 minutes for certain things and its not 4 hours straight. I gross approximately 580 every 2 weeks. Which helps out alot for bills and groceries.I have been doing this since June 2015. I hope it doesn’t hurt my disability. I have been diagnosed with Adhd,severe anxiety,severe depression,ocd,copd,emphysema,asthma,hypertension,4 knee surgies,back issues,sacrolitis,lumbago,broken neck with failed fusion of cervical,DDD,degenerative disc disease,menopause,spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis. After my hearing I had went to see a psychotherapist,which by the way I had seen him 4 times during my process of Medicaid and 1 time after my hearing. It has been a nerve racking process and its literally driving me insane. I been very patient and its not easy to do. Please help me answer some of my questions. When I ask my lawyers they act like its not a bog deal its a waiting game! I’m getting discouraged cause its been 4 months since my hearing. What are my chances and how much longer? Oh and I also had to have a screening for my ADHD and I was very upset after reading my results. They weren’t very polite about what they had said about me. They said I was very aggitated and couldn’t perform what I was told to do and I literally sat down and cried for about a week. It was very humiliating to go to that appointment considering I was the only adult there and it was really hurtful. I wish I hadn’t got a report from them. It made me feel less of a person. Any help would be very helpful. Thanks,tina

    • Tina

      Now my lawyer said its in decision writing process. I tried setting up a account at http://www.socialsecurity.gov and it wouldn’t let me do it. It locked me out and told me to call. So I called and she said she unlocked it. I tried again once and said I was locked out. She told me my disability status had been approved and I should receive a award letter soon. My lawyers office hasn’t said nothing like that. It that normal for social security to tell me that? Sorry to take up so much of your time. Any input on this would help me. Thanks again.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Tina,

        Social Security does not usually give out claim decisions over the phone.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tina,

      The report that is upsetting you may help your claim. Having to wait for a decision is usual and having to wait a long time does happen. How long you wait is not an indication of whether you will be approved or denied. Given that the appeal is in letter writing, you should be receiving a decision before long. Your work earnings would ordinarily be considered substantial gainful activity (SGA). Given that you are doing the work in your own home and that you get assistance in doing the work, might be able to argue that it is not. If the work is determined to be SGA and you were disabled for twelve months before you started working, you will still be eligible for benefits during a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) from June 2015 through March 2015. In any month after the end of the TWP (beginning April 2016) that you earn $1,090 gross or more per month, you will not receive benefits. This will continue for thirty-six months. After the end of the thirty-six months, the first month you earn at the SGA level, your claim will terminate.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tina

        Thank you Kay! Its been a very long and stressful wait. Its driving me insane. My mother is terminally ill and wants to be home. We had tried long term ventilator facilities,but they couldn’t get her to eat and it was over a 3 hour drive from family. I didn’t know if you had seen my previous questions after my first comments? When my lawyers office said it was in the decision writing process I had called to try and setup a ss acount and it wouldn’t let me do it. So I called social security and the lady told me I had been approved and I should receive a reward letter soon. Do you believe that this is true.? I have read previous posts and you state they usually don’t tell you things like that? Thanks again,tina

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Tina,

          It is unusual to get a verbal decision, especially if you attorney was just told by the hearing office that the decision letter was still being prepared. However, if some time has passed since the attorney last checked with the hearing office, it is possible that the letter will reach you soon.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Tina

            Kay, Is it normal for me to not be able to set up a S.s account because its pending? All but 1 person told me I could,except the last man I talked to. He said I couldn’t because it was pending. Is this normal? Thanks,Tina

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Tina,

              If you filed in an office and not online, you may not be able to set up an account.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Tina

            Thank you Kay. I had to go into local security office and setup a account. However when I got into my account,it wouldn’t tell me nothing. Not even my estimated disability or retirement information. I know how this feels for everyone and can be nerve racking. The wait has been over 4 months and is driving me batty. I hope my letter or decision comes soon. I guess I just got to think positive and hope for the best. Thank you again.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Tina.

          • Tina

            Kay, I got a call from social security today wanting to setup a phone interview. Great news I was ruled fully favorable for ssi and ssdi. I don’t know the difference and I’m very confused? Any help would be nice. I’m so happy about this. I have been waiting since February 2013. Thank you for all your help. Tina

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Tina,

              Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits are an earned and paid for benefit. To receive them you have to have enough work that has been taxed for Social Security and a certain portion of it has to be in the ten years before becoming disabled (unless you are under age thirty-one). Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a public assistance program for disabled and aged people who have low income and less thatn $2,000 in countable assets. (A home they live in and one vehicle and $1,500 life insurance doesn’t count.) Sometimes SSI is paid just until Social Security starts. In other cases when the SSDI is low enough, it will be supplemented by ongoing SSI.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Juliet

    Hi kay,
    What does it mean exactly when the status of your ssdi case is in the review stage with the ALJ? It has been a very long process for me. I hope that this is the final stage and that I will be getting the decision letter soon.

    Thanks,
    Juliet

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Juliet,

      “Review” may mean that the decision has not been made, or it could mean that the decision was made and the letter was prepared and the judge is reviewing the letter for accuracy. I suggest you call the hearing office and ask for clarification.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Juliet

        Kay,
        Thank you so very much.
        Juliet

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Juliet.

  • Jamie

    I had a hearing Sept 3rd 2015 with the ALJ Oklahoma City court. I and my rep have contacted them about the status, I contacted them on Oct 29th and was told they were awaiting more medical records. My rep talked to the judge’s office on Nov 9th and they told him it was with the decision writer. I contacted them today and was told it is on the judge’s desk for final review. I am just wondering when to expect a letter of decision. My original file date was July 28th, 2014 and I am beyond stressed even though my lawyer assured me the hearing went VERY well and he expects a full award. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jamie,

      If there are no errors in the preparation of the letter, the judge will sign it and it will be mailed out. so you are close to getting a decision. If there are any errors in the letter, the judge will send it back to the letter department for correction before it is sent out. Either way, so you are close to getting a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ginger

    Hello, gonna make this as short as I can with all details. I first filed for Disability on Feb 29th 2012…was put in their system March 15th. I was denied 1st time like everyone and it was turned over to SSI due to i hadn’t worked in past 5 years. I have not worked since january 2006 and that was for only a week that month and year. So, I had a lawyer when I first filed,,denied,,appealed,, denied, appealed..had to refile due to my lawyer not getting things took care of by a deadline..was denied 2 times on that appy..waited 7 months to get an appt with a SS doctor in my area..then waited 8 months to get a hearing..was denied at hearing..lawyer disagreed with judge’s decision and filed something about that..it was then sent to Falls Church, Va…waited 15 months b4 heaing anything from that,,and received a letter saying..my request for a review was denied, which meant they were going to stick with judge’s decision…waste of time for 15 months..all the while,, i kept suffering, because I am Disabled…I was ready to fire my lawyer and get a Federal lawyer and file a suit against her n her firm and the SSA. Then her office called me and said,,she would like to talk to me about my case..told them I was gonna get a fed. lawyer and she said if i did that,,it would take up to a yr and half before i could get a hearing in fed court and if i lost, I would have to wait a year before I could file again and that if I would stay with them,, they would get my disability…well why hadn’t they gotten it yet? so I discussed it with several people and they advised me to stay with my lawyer,,so here again i had to refile Aug 21st…2 weeks later, I received a call and did my SSI interview on phone..then a couple weeks later, I received a letter stating i had two appts coming up..one was for a psycological exam and one 2 weeks later for a medical exam..That 1st part upset me as..why do i need to see a psycologist? I have never had to do that before..I applied for disability because I am physically disabled..not mentally disabled. My lawyer said it was probably because I got hateful with someone on the phone from the SSA…well, let me ask you,,if you had been trying to get on disability for 3 and half years and kept getting denied,,would you not be upset too? Am I suppose to be calm and act all nice like nothing’s wrong? I think not..but anyway,, I have completed both appt’s as of last friday. I see a dcotor at my local Health Dept..I have for about 8 yrs now. I have no insurance and no insurance is available for unemployed and uninsured in Tn..The health dept has sent many applications in for me trying to get me on Tenncare but I keep getting denied for that also. It’s so frustrating. I live with my elderly father who is on a fixed income. I worked for 20 some years paying my share of taxes and working hard and I can’t get any help from the Government in any way. It is a disgrace and disgusting. It’s like what I did, dose’nt mean a thing to them. How do they think I live? They could care less and that is sad. This is a serious problem that needs to be taken care of for thousands and thousands of American citizens…There’s illegals getting more help than me and that is even sadder..What should I do from here? Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ginger,

      Your current action is to wait for a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mary W

    Is the 1-800-772-1213 for SS the same as the ODAR number. If they are two different places what can I find out from each of them? I know decisions will not be told until letter. I just would like to find out if the judge has answered and if it’s at the writer.

    Thank You for the time you dedicate to answering us.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      The central call center number 1-800-772-1213 answers general questions and takes reports of changes of address, etc. The representatives there do not have detailed information about the status of your hearing. The hearing office, ODAR, in your area has a different number. The number should be on the correspondence you have received from the hearing office. Also the call center may be able to give your the number; if not your local office should have it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • William

    Hello, I am a veteran with 100% TDIU from VA and been denied SSDI on initial application and reconsideration. I am on a fast track process and have applied for a hearing. Do you have an idea what the length of time will be for a hearing for fast track applicants in Baltimore area?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear William,

      I do not have the information you are requesting. You might try asking the hearings office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Godsgift

    HELLO my daughter ssi hearing was Oct 8 2015 i called the national social security number on 22 of oct and they told me to contact my local office about rep payee issues for my daughters ssi.However I did that same day the lady I spoke with told me I am her payee what it is that I would like to know I told her claim status she said still pending I didnt ask her was it pending decision or payment she didnt tell me I guess because i do have an atty rep her for her case.I assume the alj have made a decision because the info that I gave at the alj hearing was updated in their system already the alj did ask me did I have custody I told her yes I always had custody of my daughter but she lives with her dad we never been to court for child custody could this be why it’s pending but the lady at local office told me I am her payee she have received benefits in the past and i was rep payee however this is a c dr cessation case I have been appealing since 2012

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Godsgift,

      It sounds as if it is possible that your daughter’s benefits will be reinstated. Being “payee” means that you receive your child’s benefits and manage the money for her. If the payments come to you, you must make arrangements with her father so that you use the money for your daughter’s food, clothing, personal and medical needs, school supplies, etc. and possibly for her housing costs. You cannot use any of the money for yourself. (I think the payee issue is that the judge may be going to determine that the child’s father should be payee because she lives with him.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Melissa

    I had my hearing in front of a judge on August 27, 2015. I have CRPS and my primary physician whom I have been a patient for 18 years stated this was the worst case on the disease he has seen. CRPS level 3. in 5 years I have little to no voice, severe bruising on Right arm and hand, severe swelling, severe burning on the left shoulder, severe debilitating migraines and neck and on the right sensations of cold. I have gone to 14 separate doctors and still I am fighting to be accepted for disability. I have every 3 months I have botox injections to help with the migraines. I take 31 pills a day but the judge didn’t understand why I didn’t go to a psychologist even though reports showed depression. I have horrible stomach issues with all the medications besides severe drowsiness. I received a letter from social security which stated that the neurologist showed no reason for the pain. I don’t know what more I can do. I have spent out of pocket $42,000 =/- in 5 years. What more can I and my lawyer do. There comes a point where being shuffled from one doctor to the next is not worth it as you can’t afford to pay for it.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melissa,

      I am not clear about the nature of the letter you mention. If it was a denial letter, discuss an appeal with your attorney. If it was a copy of a consultative examination report, right now all you can do is wait for the decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Melissa

        Kay,

        Sorry I wasn’t clear about my question. I received a letter with 2 doctors (I have never seen) whom was selected to review my case. In the actual hearing the judge spoke about the psychologist , which I didn’t see, as I have prayer partners in my church whom listen to my problems and medical issues. I understand that they are not professionals but isn’t that what a psychologist does is listen. I would like your opinion if this could be why I could be denied for this simple reason? It, as with any long term medial issue has been devastating to not be able to work, costs, etc. It has taken me almost 2 years just to get a hearing as my initial application was denied. Also another question how far back can you receive back pay?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Melissa,

          Prayer partners, as helpful as they may be, are not professionals and psychologists do more than listen, so you are in a situation that you say you have a disabling condition but have not sought any medical care for it. That raises the question of just how disabling it is.

          If you are approved, Social Security back benefits start the later of your sixth month of disability or twelve months before the application you are appealing.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Tomekia

            Hey Mrs Kay..I had an hearing September the 24th…and the Judge didn’t make an decision…the vocational expert said that I couldn’t work my past job, but named three jobs that I could work….then the judge them asked the vocational expert due to her limitations will she still liable to work…?? After one hypothetical question asked by the judge the vocational expert said no to all 3 jobs she stated…the judge was reading from the documents from the social security he request I go too. In which he stated I had spinal stenosis, osteoporosis, and scoliosis…plus this would persist over a 12 month period….the judge then closed my case and said he needed no further information and then he wished me luck!! It’s been 60 days and it’s still in the odar department is that a bad sign?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Tomekia,

              The length of time a decision pends is not an indication of either an approval or denial. You can call the hearing office and request the status of the appeal–awaiting the judge’s decision or in letter writing.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

    • Candice Scott

      My kids father passed away last year before his court appearance in replacing him I went. For a month and half ago the judge has been reviewing the case even requested more information. She was a very nice judge and told me I’ll know everything before Christmas. What are my odds with my girls and I receiving his disability.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Candice,

        If your children’s father died of the conditions for which he was claiming disability, there is a reasonable chance his claim will be approved. The underpayment due him may be paid to his children. While you are waiting for the decision, you can apply for the children to receive survivor benefits beginning with the month of their father’s death.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • david mayes

      Melissa
      I to have crps and had my hearing Oct 5. The judge made me an offer thru my lawyer for 3 years back pay and 6 months medicaid/medicare. I said iys not about backpay its about needing dissability. So we went before the judge and she was very nice she asked me a few simple questions the VE said I couldnt do my old job and qualified for no other work. Then the judge preceded to talk with my lawyer bout overpayment and said we dont want him to owe us. She wished me well with my workers comp case and said our fair wells. My lawyer seemed a little confused with the whole situation but said should know something in a couple months. I did have a physchiatrist and pain doctor ihave been seeing both for 5+years write on my behalf. Now on Dec 2 its wait and see.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear David,

        It sounds as if the judge may have been talking to your attorney about workers compensation offset (reduction) of Social Security benefits. If you make sure that Social Security has all the current information on your workers compensation claim and you keep them updated about future changes in your workers compensation claim, overpayments can be avoided or minimized.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Brenda

    I appealed my disability for my daughter July 2015 how long will it take to go before a hearing judge in North Carolina, I have rep to represent us.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brenda,

      In most locations it takes approximately a year to get a hearing date.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hey Kay I have an onset date of November 2013 the day I became disability but I filed my claim for ssdi in April 2014 I go denied my lawyer filed for a hearing in August of 2014 so its be a year but the ss office says my filed had been sent to ODAR for scheduling so I called them and ask about my hearing they say it’s in line for scheduling exactly what does that means plus I’m in Mississippi and the average wait time is 15 to 16 months so in November it will be 15 from the time I filed for a hearing so do you think will I get my hearing around those months

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Carolyn,

      You are waiting your turn while other people who filed their claims before you have their hearings. It is reasonably likely that you will get your hearing in the usual fifteen to sixteen month time frame.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kait

    I had a hearing in July after getting denied 2 years ago due to “severe but not severe enough”.

    When I got to the hearing I found out my judge took off that day. So I got switched to another judge via video. This judge has an extremely high approval rating.

    The hearing lasted 10 minutes. The first question asked was why I couldnt do a ‘maid’ job. Then my lawyer asked me questions. VE said 2 weird jobs at first, then judge put limitations and VE said NO jobs. Judge said theyd send it to a medical expert then make a decision.

    Its been 2 months now so im extremely worried. Im guessing itll take longer due to the judge hardly having time to prep for my case.

    My mother called social security (i cannot talk on the phone) . They said it was still on the judges desk.

    I feel like my hearing went well? I think the only reason id be denied is due to my age. However my mental illnesses have ruined my life since I was very young. Ive had no choice but to apply for SSI.

    Should I be worried?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kait,

      Having a medical expert review the claim to get more information or another opinion about how much you are limited would add time and then the judge would have to get back to the file after it came back from the medical review, so the delay by itself is not a reason to be worried.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kait

        Was there anything you could tell from what I said that could be leaning towards approving/disapproving?

        The judge also allowed my mom to make a written testimony which we submitted the next day.

        My mother cannot even work full time/not even part time if her boss wasnt so lenient due to having to drive me to appointments.

        Thank you

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kait,

          I can’t predict whether you will be approved from the information you gave me; but if the judge accepts the limitations you are claiming, then the vocational expert’s testimony could mean approval.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Darrell

    I have went to court fort he second time after the appeals court succeeded my request. I was told to get another medical exam and go back to court on June 16/2015 after court hearing judge instructed me to another medical exam, stating that if the doctor agrees with previous exam he would grant my benefits. I have never received a letter from court and their ruling. since the June 16 court hearing he changed his mind and I never got my evaluation. Another court date has been set for Oct 27/15 I have never received a letter from SSDI about new hearing or prior decision. Is this normal for SSDI to do this?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Darrell,

      You say that you have another court date for October 27, 2015, but you have never received a letter about the new hearing. These two things seem contradictory unless you were given only a verbal notice of the hearing. If you were given only a verbal notice, that is not usual.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Darrell

        Yes I have another court date and it was given verbally thru my attorneys office. I have never received an actual letter from SSDI is this normal ? the hearing on October 27th will include a V.E. I do not have to be present for this hearing.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Darrell,

          It is normal for the attorney to receive the notices because you have appointed the attorney to represent you. You should definitely attend the hearing; being there is very important.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • debra

    I received an unfavorable decision for ssdi. There are errors in the Judge’s brief, such as my age is in there for 56 years old and I will be 59 in 5 weeks. She ignored a letter from my pcp, no credibility to psychiatrist and gave no credibility to my (claimants) testimony. I am mostly concerned on the age mistake, not able to find answer-not really trusting my lawyer. Any comments would be most helpful. Thank you 🙂

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Debra,

      I suggest that you check with your attorney; but I have one thought. If you filed a long time ago, you might have been fifty-six when you first filed the claim. and that is what the attorney is referring to. Also talk with your attorney about the viability of filing an Appeals Council appeal, which has special rules for evidence that can be submitted.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • dallas

    Hello ill make this short , i had my hearing july 31st 2015. The hearing went well and at the end the judge asked the vocational doctor if there was any jobs for me and he said no. My question how long until i get a letter or something in the mail

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dallas,

      The guideline is for judges to render decisions within sixty days; however, it is only a guideline and can take longer.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • dallas

        I called for an update and the office saud theyre in the middle of writing upthe decision, do you think that takes veey long ?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Dallas,

          The writing process varies quite a bit in length, but I would expect you would get the letter within three to six weeks.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Had my hearing Sept. Judge causes undo and unnecessary fear and anxiety? Reason anyone? In middle of VE testifying he tell me to stand up. Them command me to go to blinds in corner of room. When I go to face him he says look at wall. Then tells me to go door and put hands on red sign don’t look at him the Stregth my arms as high as they can go and slide them back down! Finally he tells me to go sit down! I have PTSD anxiety depression and some mania. Anyone ever have this part of their hearing? Or know what he could have been doing?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Julieaane,

        My guess is that the judge was testing your ability to follow simple directions as part of an assessment of whether you can work, though I can’t be sure.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Yvonne Batterson

    I had my hearing on June 12, 2015 . Still no word of getting it or not. I contacted my lawyer, 3 weeks ago, and she told me, that the judge that I had for my hearing , has moved out of the district ! So, I am trying to figure out what this means ? My 90 days will be up Sept 15th .

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Yvonne,

      The information from your attorney probably means that your appeal has been assigned to another judge, who will review the transcripts from the hearing and make a decision. The usual guideline for the judge to make a decision is sixty days, but many take longer. The change of judges is likely to add more time.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Darlene

    I went to my hearing August 6, 2015 I called Social Security’s information line, 800-772-1213 09/01/2015 to see if they could offer any information on my case, They (he) stated that my case was in processing, But that the Judge only had 30 days to make a decision! Does that sound accurate??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Darlene,

      The guideline for the judge to make a decision is sixty days, though it can take longer. It has been about thirty days since your hearing, so that is probably why the representative mentioned thirty days.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Florine young

        I’m a 59 year old woman,I have choric migraines,and uncontroll seizures,I’m waiting on a hearing date to be set.but in the mean time I can’t go to the doctors or get my meds,what am I suppose to do. Flo.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Florine,

          Try applying for Medicaid at your state or county’s social service department. If you do not qualify financially, try applying for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). You might qualify for a government subsidy to help pay the premiums. Also some pharmaceutical companies that make the medications give free medications needed for severe conditions on a temporary basis. Look on the RX bottle for the manufacturer. Alternatively, search the Internet for “free medications.”

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Melissa

        Dear Kay,
        I have a question. I had my hearing on December 9th 2015. I called today because it has been 48 days and they said a decision has been made. She asked me if I have received anything in the mail yet and I said no ma’am. She then said that it is there policy that they cannot release any information until it’s been at least 5 days after a letter has been sent out and then they will tell you. She said if you do not receive a letter call back on February 1st and release that information. Is this true, is there any other number I can call to find out?? Is that a bad sign if they won’t release info over the phone? Does that mean it was denied?? I’m so stressed, can you help at all? I live in Jacksonville Fl and had my hearing on a monitor with a judge out of Baltimore MD

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Melissa,

          The information you were given is correct. Not being told the decision is not a sign of either approval or denial.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • JW

    Hi again Kay,
    Within the last two weeks I received my fully approved letter for SSDI. I received a call from the local SSA office wanting to see if I qualify for SSI. I did not qualify when I first applied for disability but somehow I now qualify for $75.41 for SSI starting the first of September. Last week I received $2199 which is for SSI back pay. When I log into my account on the SSA website it shows this. It now also shows $1063 per month for SSDI. It does not show anything there about SSDI back pay. I received a letter today from the local office stating that I am owed SSI back pay in the amount of $9917.96 for the time frame of June 14th through August 15th to be paid in installments. I first applied for disability In June 2014 but my onset date is August 2013. My attorney told me a few weeks ago that my back pay would be about $14000 but once I apply for my dependent children my back pay should be around $22000. This is after the attorney fees. They also said that once the children are added that the monthly SSDI amount should be about $500 more per month. I am confused. Will I get the rest of the back pay in a lump sum or will it be in installments? Will I get the SSDI back pay and SSI back pay differently? Will I continue to get the $75 plus the SSDI monthly payments or will they adjust the two to one payment per month? Also do I go to the local SSA office to apply for my dependent kids once I receive the SSDI award letter? Thank you for your thoughts. This is very confusing.

    • JW

      Hi Kay,
      After I posted what I did last night I looked up my account on the SSA website this morning and the SSI information is no longer there. I am guessing that they are adjusting it into just SSDI. Even when I look at the verification letter it now shows SSI as $0.00.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear JW,

      You should receive the remainder of your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) back pay in a single lump sum because as soon as the Social Security Disability (SSDI) starts, you will not be eligible for the $75.41 ongoing SSI payment. Your Social Security back pay will be reduced by the amount of SSI back pay paid for the same period. While you are at the Social Security office applying for your children (see below), ak that your full SSI back pay be released because you are not eligible for ongoing SSI benefits and your SSDI is starting.

      Your Social Security back pay should begin to accrue February 2014, the sixth full calendar month after your onset date. Your SSI claim does not pay for months prior to the date of application. Now that you have gotten your SSDI award letter, you can go to Social Security and apply to be payee for your children. (Take their birth certificates with you.) If you listed the children’s names on your original application, their benefits will also begin to accrue February 2014.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • estee

    I had my hearing the ve didn’t say anything the me was favorable to the listing I was there maybe 15 minutes the judge asked the me about the onset date he agreed to go back to that date everything seemed to go well my attorney asked the judge about a ruling the judge said to read between the lines now it’s in post hearing development does post hearing development mean they need additional evidence? She also said good job on the file it was up to date

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Estee,

      What I see between the lines is a probable approval. Check with your attorney to be sure, but I think that, although it can mean that more evidence is being requested, in your situation post-hearing development just means that the judge has not formally completed the decision and sent the appeal to the letter-writing department.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • JW

    Hi Kay,
    I received a call yesterday from the local social security office informing me that I have been approved. They also said they want to see if I qualify for ssi until my regular benefits and back pay start. I was denied ssi at the start of my application a year ago. I am confused about this. Will this slow down my regular benefits and backpay? Any idea what time frame I am looking at? At least I know I have been approved and did not have to go to a hearing. Thank you again.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear JW,

      If the financial review shows you are not eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your Social Security benefits should not be significantly delayed. If you are eligible for some SSI benefits, those benefits have to be calculated and set up for pay before your Social Security will be processed to payment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • JW

        Thank you

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, J.W.

  • Cheryl

    My husband had his hearing yesterday. The lawyer called in “sick” and he represented himself and signed a form saying just that. If approved, will the lawyer still get his % if we send a certified letter firing him? He will not return any of our calls to discuss a waiver of fees.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cheryl,

      I suggest that you review your written agreement with the attorney and that you discuss the matter with the Social Security Administration to see what your husband’s rights are.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Billie

    My husband had his disability hearing before an ALJ in NY the beginning of July. We received a letter in the mail Saturday stating that a decision is pending because they are waiting on more evidence. His lawyer inquired what the additional evidence they want is and the judge contacted an outside doctor who has never met my husband or spoken with his attorney, was not at the hearing to be questioned, nor has ever examined my husband, to see if this doctor feels my husband is unable to work due to his injuries. Is this normal? Are they allowed to do this? There was substantial medical evidence submitted at the hearing and he was also examined by an SSA doctor. Thanks for any help!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Billie,

      I think that a judge can ask for an interpretation of medical evidence from an independent physician; however, you should check with your attorney to be sure.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Dawn

        Hi I had my hearing on June 3 2015 I called and they said my decision is in editing do I have to wait much longer?? Also I applied because I have ddd congenital heart disease svt scoliosis swelling in my legs and chronic migraine I am 31 years oldy lawyer said she believes I will be approved bit what is your opinion???

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Dawn,

          I expect that you will probably get the letter within a month. In the meantime, your attorney has more specific information about your medical conditions and work history than I do, so I would trust her opinion.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • richard manning

    I had my hearing and the judge made a decision and it was only with the writer for one day and mailed out to me. Is that a good sign, just waiting for it in the mail

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Richard,

      You are getting your decision more quickly than many people do, but the speed is not an indication of either an approval or a denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Camille

    Dear Kay,
    I just received a hearing date for my son for the beginning of October but my husband just received a job offer in az and we reside right now in ca. Would it be wise to move? Would my son still be able to keep his hearing date in ca if we move? Or would I have to tell ssi and end up with another waiting period for my son in the new state?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Camille,

      I would think that you can move to Arizona and appear for the hearing in California, but I suggest that you call the hearings office to be sure. You might also be able to set up a video hearing, but I do not recommend that. It is my opinion that it is better to appear in person. You, of course, would need to give the hearing office the new address so that any notices or requests reach you in a timely fashion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • kareen

    helloooo i had my hearing on may 20 my attorneys say the ssi dr was favorable to my case..they called the hearing office n they told my attorneys is being review by the judge..is this a good thing thanks :/

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kareen,

      Do you mean your “attorneys” are being reviewed, as you wrote, or your claim is being reviewed. If it is the claim that is being reviewed, that is just a normal part of the judge making a decision. If you mean your attorneys are being reviewed, as you wrote, I don’t know what the significance of that would be.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • kareen

        hello kay is being reviewed by the judge..n my attorneys say dat the disability doctor was favorable to my case.my hearing was may 20 iwent to their doctor on june11.how much more is the wait.thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kareen,

          You could receive a decision any time now or it could be another month or two. You can call the hearing office to find out whether the appeal is awaiting a decision or is in letter writing.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • kareen

            thanks kay..also do u think takin so long is a denial.my attorneys called yesterdayto the hearing office n is still bein reviewed..also the doctor dat ssi sent me said i was disable,is dat a good thing leading to my approval..thank u so much for ur time.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Kareen,

              The length of time your appeal pends is not an indication of either an approval or a denial. The consulting physician’s opinion is considered in the determination along with all the other information in file so it is helpful (but not a guarantee of approval) that the doctor believes that you are disabled.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • JW

    I was told that my status is with the decision writers. I have not had a hearing. Does this mean I have been approved? If so what kind of time frame am I looking at now?

    • JW

      Also the date that showed first for decision writer changed to about 2 weeks later. In other words the status was decision writer dated sometime in June but now says decision writer with a July date. Is there a reason for the change of date? Thanks

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear JW,

        The first date might be when the appeal went to that department and the second date the date that it was assigned to a specific writer.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear JW,

      It sounds as if the judge approved your claim on the record, that is, based on the information in file.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • JW

        Thank you!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, J.W.

          • JW

            Hi Kay,
            I just have another question. As I asked before about my status being with a decision writer and I have not been to a hearing things seem that I have an on the record decision. I called today just to see what the status is and was told it is in editing. Is this a bad thing or just normal procedure to get the wording right? I am hoping it means they are about through with it. Does this add more time to the process or maybe it is about to be sent to me? Thank you again.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear JW,

              I didn’t previously understand that you had not had a hearing. A decision by the judge without a hearing is an approval. Editing is just to get the wording right and adds a little time, but not much. You should have a decision soon.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • liberty

    I think the alj should be required by law to give your decision to your face and the hearing should give the claimant a chance to rebut or clarify during the hearing. Why do you have to wait months to read a judge doesn’t find you credible instead of them having to face you personally with that fact and allowing you the opportunity right there to refute his claim? Also if the alj calls your doctor not credible should you let your doctor knows a random judge slandered them on the record? And why do you just talk about your life instead of being allowed to say ‘I have anxiety that meets listing 12.06 and here are the listing impairments that my illness satisfies evidenced by exhibit xx my medical record from…and so on’

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Liberty,

      You are allowed to present any information you want at the hearing by saying that you have some information to present that was not covered in the questions. You do not say whether you have an attorney; but if don’t and you want to appeal the judge’s decision, I suggest that you hire an experienced Social Security attorney because specific rules apply to requests for review by the Appeals Council.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Beth

    I called the ODAR office they said judge made a decision but I have to wait for a letter, why can’t they tell us instead of making us wait. Is there anywhere I can call go or website to find out?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Beth,

      The hearing decision is not finalized until the letter has been written and the judge has signed the letter, which is several pages long and includes all the information considered in making the decision. Verbal notice could be more subject to error and if the decision is unfavorable or partially favorable, the reasons could not be sufficiently explained over the phone.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Terry

    I just would like to say that I had my hearing and it only took 3 minutes. Yes, THREE. The Judge only stated that he reviewed my case and that he is going to sign his approval. He didn’t ask myself, or the vocational expert any questions. In fact, the Judge never even talked to me.
    I was shocked! My attorney warned me that this Judge is somewhat harsh and most hearing s take around an hour.
    No question, Kay, I am just so happy!

    • Kay Derochie

      Thanks for sharing, Terry.

  • steffan

    HI KAY, I HAD MY COURT HEARING BY THE ALJ ON MAY 6, 2015 AND THE ALJ APPROVED MY DISABILTY, I WANT TO KNOW ITS JULY 2 NOW AND I TALK TO MY LAWYER LAST WEEK AND SHE SAID IT WAS IN THE WRITERS HAND. HOW LONG MORE I HAVE TO WAIT? ITS GOING ON 57 DAYS NOW. THANKS

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Steffan,

      You are in the ending stages of the hearing processing. I cannot give you an entirely predictable time frame; it could be a couple weeks or a month or more.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • April

    Hi Kay,
    I am in desperate need of advice. I appreciate your website and your time answering the comments. This has been very helpful. I had my hearing for ssdi May 7th 2015 and I have still not gotten my letter of decision. I have called the odar office that is handling my case and the lady told me today that my case went to a decision writer on May 12th, just 5 days after my hearing. She also told me that a decision has been made on my ssdi and my file is currently in corrections. Is this a good sign? Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear April,

      The information you received doesn’t give a hint as to whether your appeal will be approved or denied, but it is moving through the decision process at a fairly good speed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kim

    I was denied for the first time in January 2015, I am waiting on a hearing date. Is there anyway to speed this up. We are always out if food. Any info would be appriciated!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kim,

      You can file a statement of dire need with the hearings office, which might speed things up a little. If you have not already done so, I suggest that you apply for SNAP (food stamps) at your local social services agency.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Kathy

      It will be 15 months in two weeks that I have been waiting for a hearing date. So be prepared for a long wait

  • Victor mott

    Hello Ms Kay Derochie,
    I will try and be brief. I had a hearing April 23 of this year. After my hearing I was asked to step out of the courtroom by the judge. Five minutes later my lawyer came out and pulled me in an office. She then told me and my mom that I had been awarded full benefits dating back to enitial date. That I would recieve medicare and congratulations. I was very happy. I called my attorney this week and she sort of had a different tune. She said she doesnt trust anything until she gets a letter in writing. So I asked her why does she feel this way. I guess my question is, is there anything that the judge could have told her to believe that I was getting benefits and if so is it normal for him to change his mind after he has given word he would approve?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Victor,

      To know why the attorney changed her tune, you would have to ask her. It may be as simple as she has a lot of clients and doesn’t clearly remember what the judge said that made her so sure right after the hearing. Hopefully, you will have a written decision soon.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • melinda

    good afternoon Kay,

    I have a question, I was in a car accident 11/09 and was on short term disability. It later turned into long term disability in 6/12/10. I was advised to go for ssdi, which I did and was denied both times. I later received a phone call from my attorney and he said good news I was apart of a class action hearing and would go before another judge which was great. my hearing was in march 2015 and its now may which the 60days has past. my question is this, when I called last month to check the status I was told that the judge made the decision the actual day after and it was sitting on a decision writers desk. the hearing went GREAT!!! I was told by my attorney that it was a 85-90% chance I would win because the doctor that was in the room with us agreed with every diagnostic my doctor gave me. my attorney feels confident yet I was and now im stressed. Could this be a bad sign since its been on the decisions writers desk so long? and i am going for a closed period because i went back to work in 2014 does that make a difference? because i heard that judges usually like when claimants are well enough to go back to work.thank you for you time oh if this helps i live in ny

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melinda,

      It is not unusual for the decision to take a long time in the letter writing department and should not be considered a bad sign. I think your attorney’s assessment of the outcome of the hearing is more significant than your having returned to work as far as predicting how the decision will go.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • jay

    Kay,

    After hearing in dec 2014 we received a letter today stating the the judge wants to enter more ebidence that he has from a wreck…is this a bad sign?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jay,

      If you have an attorney, I suggest consulting with the attorney. I don’t have enough information about the situation to be very helpful, but it sounds as if the judge thinks the additional information is needed to make a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Steve

    Hi Kay,

    I recently reviewed my SS year-by-year earnings report and it appears that I earned 24 credits in the last ten years since my date of disability. I have read that I need 20 credits in the last ten years to qualify for SSD.

    Is there a way to determine what my benefits might be based on the amount of credits I have earned? Are more benefits paid if a person earns more credits during the last ten years or is it simply based on the 20 credit requirement?

    It would really be discouraging if I went through this process of qualifying for SSD benefits only to find out later that my monthly benefit is, for example, only $300 per month. Thank you.

    Steve

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Steve,

      You can apply for disability benefits now that you have sufficient quarters of coverage in the last ten years. The amount of your benefit will be based on highest earning years. The number of earning years included in the calculation depends on how old you are when you become disabled. If you are an older worker, the number of years can be as many as thirty-five years.

      It seems if you are unable to work, it would be worth your time to apply even if the benefit is low. However, you can go to http://www.ssa.gov and set up a My Social Security account to get an estimate. Once you have done that you can request your earnings statement, which should show you the amount of the benefit. If it shows no benefit, it could be because your most recent work is not yet posted.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hi Kay,

    I am 57 years old. I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Degenerative Disc Disease with anxiety and depression. I have a Attorney representing me. I have a ALJ hearing date on May 28.I get confused about the grid rules. My occupation before was a Manager self storage facility. I suffer from chronic pain and severe fatigue. My Dr. filled out the medical resource statement and put that I can only work 0-2 hours daily@4days weekly. No climbing stairs or ladders and a low stress job. Where would the grid rules place me? Thank you Kay for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Pamela,

      Application of the grid rules is complex; your attorney is more likely able to give you a likely assessment of where you fit in the grid than I would be able to.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jared

    Dear Kay,
    I had a disability video hearing with a judge from the Albuquerque, NM NHC on February 10, 2015. My attorney said I should get a decision in about 4-8 weeks. I called the hearing office 2 1/2 weeks ago and it was still on the judges desk. They told me to call in 2 weeks. I called today and the secretary said it’s still on the judges desk and that it could take up to 6-months for a decision because of the case loads. My attorneys office won’t call them until next month, which would make it at least 3-months since hearing. What should I do? This is insane.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jared,

      There is nothing you can do to speed up the decision unless you are homeless or about to be or need expensive medical care for an acute condition, in which case you could ask your attorney to file a dire need statement, which might speed things up slightly.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Becki

    I applied on my own for SSD in June of 2013. It was denied in Sept. of 2013. I retained an attorney and appealed. I didn’t get a hearing until Dec 9, 2014, 15 months later. The hearing literally lasted about 10 to 15 minutes and was very positive. The ALJ didn’t even ask the VE a single question as it was obvious I could do no longer any of the work I used to do, and am a bit old for them to be sending back to school at 56. At the end of the hearing, the ALJ wished me good luck and said I’d hear from him in about 2 weeks. And yes, he said weeks, not months. I confirmed that with my atty.

    My attorney was very glad to have the judge we did because she had worked with him a lot and felt she “knew what he was thinking” most of the time. After the hearing, she said she was “99.9% sure I got a favorable decision.”

    Here we are getting close to 4 months later, and I have heard nothing. My attorney has heard nothing. There is nothing on the website where you can check the status of your claim except the same thing that is there every day. “No decision has been made on your appeal”. The funny thing is, just above that statement is one that says “no decision has been reached on your claim”. Yes, a decision WAS reached on my claim. They denied it. 19 months ago! They claim the information on that site is updated daily, but it appears to me it is never updated, at least not correctly, since they say my claim hasn’t had a decision and my appeal hasn’t had a decision.

    What I’m wondering is why it is if your initial claim is denied, you only have 60 days to appeal and if you don’t, you have to start over, but there is no SET time limit on how long they can attempt to starve you out waiting for a decision on an appeal? I understand they have “guidelines” that say they should render a decision within 60 days, but what good are these guidelines if they don’t follow them?

    My other questions is just exactly what IS a decision letter? Is it not a form letter? Approved or denied like the form letter I got on my initial denial? Is it just an approval or denial letter, or, if it’s an approval, is it an entire packet with instructions, requirements, info about the money, when it will come, how much it will be, etc? And either way, are these still not all form letters that just need names and dates and amounts filled in?

    Thanks for any answers you may have.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Becki,

      The hearing decision letter will be several pages long and will consist of a detailed statement of the issues of your claim and a detailed rationale for the decision. It will not include any financial information. Social Security Disability (SSD) hearing approvals are sent to a central payment center where benefits are calculated and payment is authorized. It can take another two months after a favorable hearing decision to get benefits started.

      I can’t give you an answer to your first question about the why’s of processing times except to say that it has to do with workloads. You can call the hearing office and ask whether the decision is still pending or has gone to the letter writing unit. If it is in letter writing, you can ask if it has been assigned to a writer. The farther along the appeal is in the hearing system, the sooner you will receive the decision letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Leah

    By the way. My claim was for SSD. Is it easier to get the judge to approve SSD vs. SSI? Thanks again!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Leah,

      The medical requirements for disability are the same for Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), so one is not easier to approve than the other.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Leah

        Hi Kay!

        I was unfavorable. Their were errors! I am sick with grief right now. They said I smoke. I never smoked a day in my life. There were doctors listed that I don’t even know. There was no mention of the VE saying that I can’t work twice. Ughh.

        Are you a lawyer? I want to go to the AC, but I don’t want to use the same lawyers. Can I use a new lawyer? Thanks.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Leah,

          Be sure to list all the errors and incorrect facts when you work with an attorney to appeal the denial. There are special rules for appealing to the Appeals Council so it would be best for you to have a Social Security attorney help you prepare the grounds for appeal.

          I am not an attorney. I am not recommending that you change attorneys; however, if you have made a decision to change attorneys I suggest that you look at the contract with your existing attorney to see if it allows change at this point and/or talk with the Social Security Administrations about whether you have the option to change legal representatives. While sorting this out, be careful not to miss your sixty-day appeal period.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Leah

    Hello, and thank you in advance for answering my question. 🙂

    I had my hearing Feb. 10, 2015. It was held in the Atlanta North ODAR. The judge made his decision two days later, on Feb. 12. It has been with a decision writer since March 5. My attorney said things went very good. He said my medical records support my claim a great deal. He said I’m taking a lot of medication and had pain shots at one point. He said I would hear something in 2 months. The hearing lasted about 15 minutes. I know the 2 months aren’t up, but I can’t take it anymore. I can’t reach my attorney.

    My attorney started off by recommending a different onset date. The judge said he agreed, and would accept that date. The judge then agreed that the little bit of money I made a couple of years ago, working from home was of no concern. The judge then asked me to verify my name etc….and to state my various disabilities. Then, he asked my attorney to begin questioning me. After I was done answering my attorneys questions, the VE asked me to confirm 2 of my past jobs. Then, she said I could fold clothes and assembly line pick or something like that. She was giving the judge some numbers.

    The judge then asked her 1 hypothetical, regarding concentration, medication side effects and the need for me to elevate my legs, my difficulty walking/standing and sitting for long periods of time. She said I could not do any jobs. He said thank you, he had no more questions, and then he asked my attorney if he was finished. My attorney said no, then, my attorney cross examined the VE with 1 hypothetical. She told him no jobs as well.

    I will be 43 this year. I have Fibromyalgia, Edema, IBS, Osteo Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue, chest pain, vitamin D deficiency, Severe depression, psychosis etc…. High school education only. My doctors wouldn’t fill out any of those RFC forms, but my attorney said that was no big deal. Most doctors won’t fill them out anymore. He said my doctors notes were very good, and that my doctors never said anything bad about me in their notes.

    My question is. Is my attorney right? Is there any way at all for the judge to deny me, based on what I’ve described? If I’m approved, why is it taking the whole 2 months or more to get the fully favorable? That’s no good. I’m actually afraid. I’m homeless too.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Leah,

      It is always possible that a claim can be denied; however, based on the information you have given, I see no reason to question your attorney’s opinion that the hearing went well. Two months to get a decision is Social Security’s guideline for all claims; it does not necessarily mean that every appeal takes two months.The judge made the decision quite quickly and your appeal is in one of the last stages before the decision letter is sent to you, so you may get the letter before a full two months have passed from the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Leah

        Thank you Kay. 🙂 I’ll come back and let you know when I get my letter. God knows, I’m afraid though.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Leah. Use your support system.

  • Isaac

    I had a hearing on January the 8 I haven’t receive a decision at times

    • Isaac

      Decision at this time is what I meant to said any advice will help thanks

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Isaac,

        A hearing decision most often takes two months or longer. You can check with the hearings office every few weeks to see whether the appeal has moved from the judge to the letter writing department.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • patty

    Hello,

    I have been applying for ssdi for 4years now. I have been denied each time. 90days ago I reapplied cause my neuropathy that was miss diagnosis as carple tunnel has spread to all limbs. My question is, I called the grand prairie office in tecas, wad told after a long silence, that I Will get a letter in 7-10 buss. Days. But dhe would not tell me over the phone. She said can not talk to me until I get that letter. Isn’t that a denial, cause if it was a approval, wouldn’t ahe just tell me and schedule an appointment? I need an attorney, and don’t want to waist time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patty,

      It could be a denial, but you can’t be absolutely sure of that. Social Security does not give out verbal approvals or denials and, if you applied only for Social Security Disability (SSDI), you might not need an appointment to get payment started.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • wondering

    I had a hearing for my daughter back on August 21/14 I made sure myself and my lawyer had all medical records and pic’s… To prove my case…we never received a letter to go to a dr now the case is in writing process is it normal not to be sent to a ss Dr

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Wondering,

      It is more common not to be sent to a doctor after a hearing than to be sent to one.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rene

    My husband had his disability hearing in December and received a letter from the SS administration stating that they needed more info and he needs to call them or it can affect their decision as to whether or not he will get benefits. What does this mean and what other info can they possibly need? Does this mean they are about to approve his benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rene,

      If your husband has not received an approval letter from the judge, the letter he received means that the judge has reviewed his claim file after the hearing and wants some questions answered. Apparently, the letter doesn’t say what is needed, so your husband needs to call the hearing office to find out.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • april

    I went to my appeals hearing last Wednesday January 14. I called the ODAR office today to see if a decision was made yet and follow up to see what comes next and they said a decision was made and it is being written up. From experience is it a bad thing that this was completed so fast? I do have a “dire need case” so I’m not sure if that’s why. I was also wondering if that has an impact on when they will send me the decision letter?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear April,

      How fast the decision was made is not an indication of the outcome.Your appeal should move through the letter writing department faster than average because of your dire need status.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Juliet lett

    Hi Kay,
    I was initially denied for ssdi. I had an appeal before an administrative law judge August, 2014, with my attorney present. I had a consultative exam September, 2014. I didn’t hear from social security until last week when I got an authorization form for me to sign allowing them to gather medical and educational information on me. I got this from the local social security office. I worked as a registered nurse prior to being disabled. Why would they ask for this information now.? Does it sounds like they are trying to deny me ssd benefits?
    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Juliet,

      If you are under age fifty or have advanced education or training and your are over fifty, your claim has to be evaluated to see if you have transferable skills to work in another occupation that you are physically and mentally capable of. The medical may have been requested because the consultative examination raised some medical issue that is not fully explained in the claim file or the judge wants more recent medical for your current condition. I would say that the judge is conducting a thorough investigation, which could result in either an approval or denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Juliet

        Kay, thanks so much. It’s truly a blessing for you to help those of us with small and great concerns about social security. I am so grateful.
        I am 53 years old and have been working in the system since within a month of turning 17. I started working at the age of 12 in the cotton field, etc.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Juliet.

  • Robert

    I had my hearing on Dec 15th, but I haven’t heard anything back yet. I called the Hearing Office Today and they said that the Judge wants me to go for a Psych Eval before a final decision is made.
    Is this normal after you have already been to your hearing, and should I be worried that a Un Favorable decision will be made??
    Now, I am worried. I waited 2 years for a Hearing Date.. Now This

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robert,

      Robert,

      Sometimes judges do ask for additional information after a hearing. Some information arose at the hearing or from the judge’s reading of your claim file that caused the judge to believe he or she did not have enough information to make a decision. Be sure to attend the evaluation; if you don’t, your claim will likely be denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Robert

        I will be at the Eval. Just found out today from my Lawyer, that the initial SSDI Pysch Eval was listed as being performed by a Child Psychologist. I am almost 58 years old. Is that why a Red Flag was up?
        SS made this mistake, I just followed all my appointments.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Robert,

          It is possible that is why the current examination was scheduled.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Laura

    Hi Kay,

    My Husband had his ALJ hearing on December 11, 2014. He suffered a TBI in the Army in 2003 and his health has declined year after year since then. He also suffers from PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar and Syncope from the TBI. He’s a complete and udder mess! The Judge he saw had the lowest approval rate and was said to be “harsh”, but we think it went pretty well. The medical examiner validated everything that was in his medical records and clearly stated that my husband could not work. Our lawyer also said it went very very well. He didn’t even speak to the VE, asked him no questions AT ALL!! Just said that the hearing was adjourned and thanked my husband for his service. So my question is… Does it “sound” like a win to you? Especially since he didn’t ask the VE any questions? Thank you!!

    Laura

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Laura,

      Based on the details you provided, it sounds like a win; but you can’t count on it till it’s in writing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • eddie

    Ive been a diabetic (insulin dependent)since i was 14yrs old and now im 32 i had a hearing date oct 21 2014 and i called today and they said the decision writer already wrote it and its on the judges desk. So how long do i have to wait for my decision?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Eddie,

      I can’t give you a definite length of time because we can’t know when the judge will review and sign off on the letter or whether the letter will require correction. You do know, however, that the decision is moving into its final stages.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • eddie

        Thank you

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Eddie.

  • JOYCE LYNN FAZZINGO

    hi its almost 15 months still waiting for a court date.the social security office told me they called the disability law judges office and they told her to tell me it could be 16 months from the time my lawyer put in for the court date do you think this is true

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joyce,

      Presumably, the hearing office knows the typical wait time and are basing their estimate on that. Notification of court dates are usually sent about three weeks in advance, so it is possible.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • confused

    Dear Kay,

    I forgot to mention that my drs, state in their reports that my left upper extremities will never again be normal.

    Thank you,
    Confused

  • confused

    Dear Kay,

    Thank you for considering my question. I had my hearing in Oct 2014. It was nothing like my attorney had prepared me for. I expected a lot of questions but the judge only asked a few questions like, how long did it take you to drive here, did you drive? He asked about my weight because I’ve lost about 18lbs in the past few months due to a lot of issues. I have a brain and spinal cord injury and the doctors stated in there findings that I have a lot of atrophy from the spinal cord injury. He then asked the VE three typos and the first two she said with someone that has my injuries would in no way be able to perform that work, and the last one she said that I could maybe do but she said there just wasn’t much for me considering my age and injuries. The judge said to the last hypo, would the claimant be able to do that job if he had to take multiple breaks a day to put ice packs on my ribs cages to relieve the pain? The VE said no judge that would show favoritism. He then suddenly said he ad no other questions, and asked my council if he had any questions, he said no judge I don’t. He then asked the onset date, and it was over. I was a barber for thirty three yrs, and worked at the same place all those years. I’ve lost my left side due to the TBI and SPINAL CORD INJURY. The hearing maybe lasted 15minutes . My attorney said it went very well. Can I please have your opinion? I’m 56yrs

    Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Confused,

      As you describe your hearing, I would agree with your attorneys opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Latoya

    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

      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

  • sarash

    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

      My hearing was in September 2014

    • Kay Derochie

      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 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

  • Nadia

    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

      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

  • steve

    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

      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 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

  • shonda

    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

      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

  • Jill Banks

    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

      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

      • henrietta goodson

        my daughter went for a hearing back in august 2012 it took three months for the same judge to denial her now she had a hearing with a new judge in feb 2015 it been 5 months still no decision yet the longer they hold the case does it means she was approve this time. i call the hearing office say it in writing now.

        • henrietta goodson

          hey kate i forgot to ask was editing the last step before my daughter decision be mailed out. and when the hearing office say your case is closed does that means u got dential letter coming.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Henrietta,

            This reply is in response to both your posts of July 7. Editing is the last step before the judge signs the letter (assuming that no new errors that need correcting are found). The case showing closed in the hearing office just means that the hearing decision letter is going out; it is not an indication of approval or denial.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Lachelle

    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

      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

  • Julie Moore

    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

      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

  • Tammy White

    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

      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

  • sarash

    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

      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

  • Jason Higgins

    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

      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

  • Tosha

    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

      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

  • Jason Higgins

    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

      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

  • Kim

    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

      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

      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

  • Julie

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

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Julie,

      The time-frame guideline for a judge to make a decision is expressed in calendar days.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • dana

    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.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dana,

      You cannot count on it but it sounds as if your claim might be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Debra

    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

      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

  • Tosha

    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

      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

        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

  • Brandon Brown

    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

      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

  • Jason Higgins

    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

      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

        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

          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

  • carol

    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

      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

      • carol

        Kay,

        Thank you for making my day. I appreciate you.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Carol.

  • Jason Higgins

    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

      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

  • Jeff White

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

    • Kay Derochie

      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

  • Dawn Newton

    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

      Dear Dawn,

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

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Vickie

    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

      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

  • shawna

    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

      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

  • Jill Banks

    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

      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

  • Christy

    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

      Dear Christy,

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

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Latoya

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

    • Kay Derochie

      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

  • Latoya

    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.

  • Raymond Miller

    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

      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

  • Tison

    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

      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

  • Tison

    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

      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

  • carol

    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

  • carol

    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

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

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • carol Brown

        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.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Carol,

          I meant that if your worked in the same occupation for a long time as you have and can’t do that occupation, it can help your claim, especially if you are in your fifties or older.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • carol

            Thank You….

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Carol.

      • carol

        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

          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

  • sarash

    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

      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

      • sarash

        Thank you Kay so much for the information I applied in 2009 an have been denied and appealed and then had the hearing so now its really a waiting thing

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Sarash.

  • Michelle

    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

      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

  • marcus

    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

      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

  • Marcus

    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

      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

        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

          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

            thanks

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Marcus.

          • Marcus

            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

              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

  • Patti

    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

      Dear Patti,

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

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Patti

        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.

  • Jason Higgins

    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

      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

      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

        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

        • Jason Higgins

          The other thing the judge said during the hearing she was viewing this case as a mental case. I did not what she meant by that

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Jason,

            I would say that they judge meant that she thought that you had limitations due to a mental illness.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          Right, Jason. Hopefully you will have a decision soon.

          Kay

  • sarash

    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

      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

  • Mark

    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

      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

        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

          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

  • Robin

    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

      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

  • Fran

    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

      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

  • 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

      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

      • Thank you for your help!!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Martha.

  • anna

    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

      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

  • Sheryl

    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

      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

  • bianca

    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

      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

  • gabriel

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

    • Kay Derochie

      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

  • 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

      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

  • Jamie Nichols

    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

      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

  • waiting game

    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

      Dear Waiting Game,

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

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • john

    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

      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

  • Ryan

    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

      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

  • Guy

    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

      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

  • 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?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Martha,

      I can’t predict the outcome of your claim. Disabilities caused by multiple conditions are hard to prove; it is a good thing that you have an attorney assisting you with the appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • My doctor has stated to social security that I can not sit, walk or stand for more than 20 minutes at a time.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Martha,

          Do you have a question>

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Just wanted to know what impact this would have on my claim.

  • Tina

    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

      Dear Tina,

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

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • 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

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cheryl,

      If it were my hearing, I would like an in-person hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • april

    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

      Dear April,

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

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • James Falkinburg

    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

      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

  • Bonnie

    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

      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

  • Ryan Gee

    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

      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

        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.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Ryan,

          Thanks for the additional information. My prior response is unchanged.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • sarah

    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

      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

  • Linda

    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

      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

        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

          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

  • Ryan Gee

    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

      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

  • ced

    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

      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

  • Jan

    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

      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

  • Dee

    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

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dee,

      “Pending” means that the judge has not yet made a decision. Your attorney does not have any faster way to get the status of your appeal than you do.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Dee

        Ok & thank you very much.
        With Regards, Dee

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Dee.

  • Veronica

    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

      Dear Veronica,

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

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Patricia Shaker

    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

      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

  • Jan

    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

      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

  • Jan

    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

      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

  • Rodney

    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

      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

        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

          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

  • amanda

    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

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amanda,

      It is not uncommon to wait a year for a hearing date.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • amanda

        thank u a least ill know with n a year god bless u

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Amanda.

  • Tracie Thomas

    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

      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

        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

          Dear Tracie,

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

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  • Maryann

    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

      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

  • christine

    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

      I meant vocational expert not very

    • Kay Derochie

      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

  • Kelly

    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

      Dear Kelly,

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

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • sharon

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

    • Kay Derochie

      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

  • Jodi

    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

      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

  • MaryAnn Cisneros

    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…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear MaryAnn,

      Did you have a question?

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Tracey

    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

      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

  • mani saenz

    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

      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

  • mona

    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

      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

      • mona

        Thank you so much . I called on the 19th of June. it is now in writing status.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Mona.

  • Debbie

    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!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Debbie,

      I see no reason to question your attorney’s opinion.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Tamika

    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

      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

      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

        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

  • Dejah

    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

      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

  • Nicole

    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

      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

  • Tina McFalls

    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

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tina,

      Yes, you are close to getting a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • John

    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

      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

  • Mark

    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.

  • Carol

    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

      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

  • Ryan

    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

      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

  • Carmen

    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

      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

  • Rhonda

    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

      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

  • Jennifer Stone

    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

      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

  • john

    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

      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

  • Elaine

    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

      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

      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

  • Teresa Wright

    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

      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

  • Thomas Wheeler

    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??

  • Tina McFalls

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

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tina,

      Social Security Disability (SSD) back pay is paid all in one payment.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Tina McFalls

        Thanks Kay!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Tina.

  • Nicole

    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

      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

  • Brian Martin

    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

      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

  • Tina McFalls

    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

      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

      • Tina McFalls

        Thanks Kay, it’s nice to have someone to talk with

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Tina. The Disability Advisor is pleased to offer the forum.

        • I don’t know how to Start a thread,im sorry,ive got call from said lawyer today,the ready to schedule my court date,how long does that usually take??,I’ve been wanting since 2014 had 6 neck surgery,ive got bone issues,also alot mental issues,my left hand and arm has no feeling or strength.my lower back and hip also has issues..do I got chance for approval and how long after schedule court date?

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Wanda,

            Given the call from your attorney, I’d say that your court date will be scheduled within a month. I don’t have enough information to assess your chances for approval, but the fact that an attorney took your case is an indication that you have a reasonable chance for approval. The guideline for getting a decision after the hearing is sixty days, but it can take more or less time.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • deb mcmullen

    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?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deb,

      I doubt that there is a relationship between the two events.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • diana casper

    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

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

    • Kay Derochie

      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

      • diana casper

        Thank you.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Diana.

  • Claire

    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

      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.

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

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Jennifer

    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

      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

  • Tim Marquez

    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

      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

  • Olivia

    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

      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

  • Lynn

    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

      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

  • ron

    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

      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

  • Tina McFalls

    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..:((

  • juliushelton

    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

      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

  • Tina McFalls

    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

      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

  • Lenora Parker

    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

      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

  • Ann

    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

      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

  • Janet

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

    • Kay Derochie

      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 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

  • Aria

    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.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Aria,

      It is most likely that the new information you sent will not be reviewed until close to the time of the hearing when your claim will have been assigned to a judge.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Aria

        Thank you!!!!!!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Aria.

  • Latrice

    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

      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

  • Karen Monique Shell

    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

      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

  • 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

      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

  • 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

      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

  • tangela

    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

      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

      • tangela

        thank you

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Tangela.

  • Dan P.

    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

      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

  • Danielle Lander

    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

      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

      • Danielle Lander

        Thank you so much for answering my question.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Danielle.

  • Kimberly Martin

    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…

  • chibi

    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.

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Chibi.

  • chibi

    Without having a hearing.

  • chibi

    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

      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

        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

          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

            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

              Dear Nicoler,

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

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Tracy

    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

      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

      • John Smith

        Kay is that the date you apply? (for a hearing) I haven’t had mine scheduled yet. 12-15 months is average wait time. I don’t know if that’s from the date of the reconsideration or what.

        • John Smith

          meaning appeals or get go

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear John,

          It can take a year or more to get a hearing date. You can check average wait times at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html. After the hearing, the guideline is to receive a written decision within sixty days, but it can take longer.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • estella

      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

        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

      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.

    • Diane

      Tracy, I waited 18 months for a hearing with the judge. I am in Va.

  • steve blue

    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

      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

  • Denisha Hardin

    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

      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

  • Aida

    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

      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

      • Aida

        Dear Kay, Thank you !!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Aida.

    • Melissa

      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

        Dear Melissa,

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

        Sincerely,

        Kay

        • starlene worthy

          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

            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

        • stacy green

          Hi i have a question i been waiting on my hearin date fo ova a year i was told it could take 5 more months before i get a hearing date soo i request that the judge make a decision based on the evidence tht is n ny filed i call ODAR THEY TOLD ME HE MADE A DECISION I JUST HAVE TO WAIT ON LETTER IS THIS GOOD ARE BAD

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Stacy,

            If the judge’s decision the staff mentioned refers to a claim decision, not a decision about whether a hearing is needed, your claim should be an approval. However, without more information, I have to say that it could just be a decision that you will need a hearing.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • melody

    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

      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

  • melody

    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

      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

  • mary salter

    I need to know what my decision was

    • Kay Derochie

      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

        That number is incorrect. Its a chat line.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Eric,

          I recommend calling 1-800-772-1213 for Social Security’s national call center. If another number was posted, I apologize for the typographical error.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • Bonnie

            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

              Dear Bonnie,

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

              Sincerely,

              Kay

      • Rene

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

  • Phillip R

    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

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

      • 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

          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

          • 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

            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

              Dear Elisca,

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

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Antoine

            My hearing was 11-19-14 I still haven’t heard anything on my disability hearing. Every time I call asking about my they say it still pending

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Antoine,

              The guidelines for the judge to render a decision is sixty days after the hearing, but it frequently takes a lot longer.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Vanna

            Hi I had a question my hearing was in the first week of January 2015 and I was told my sons case in the process were its being legally binding (binded) and that I should recieve my letter soon. Also what do u think about this the clerk who answered The phone I asked her, if I had anything to worry about on my sons case ( because I knw they CAN NOT give a yes or no answer) she said quote “if I did I would not be trying to get your letter out to u so quick” unquote……
            Can you help me I have been thinking a lot and the day I spoke with her was 5days ago and I seen the judge in the first week of January?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Vanna,

              It sounds as if the person you spoke to was trying to hint that your son’s claim has been approved.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

        • Melinda

          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

      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

        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

          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

            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

      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

        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

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

          • Destiny

            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

              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

            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

              Dear Destiny,

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

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Destiny

            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

              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

        • Evitta Wright

          I was wondering something simular, my son hearing was 2/9/2015 and when I called they stated it was closed, then several days layer I called again and they stated the decision has been sent out, that was 1 week ago to, I very worried have anyone been through something like this.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Evitta,

            There can be a delay because the decision can go through another office before release. Give it another week or ten days before following up.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

    • Jessie

      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

        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

    • carol

      I recently had my disibility hearing and the judge told me he was ruling in my favor. I called the hearing office at first they told me the judge was was in his editing process, then a week later they said all they were waiting for was the judges signature. Does anyone know exactly what this means? help please!

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Carol,

        Apparently, the judge made a decision and when he got the decision letter back to sign there was an error or omission in it. The letter was revised (edited) and sent back to the him to review again and sign to be sent out, assuming the letter was correct the second time.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • jaycee

      Does a approval decision take more time
      Than a denial decision after a ssd hearing? Would you receive one decision
      In the mail faster than the other?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Jaycee,

        Approval decisions are sent to another office and reviewed before mailing, so there can be a ten-day or so difference in how long it takes to get an approval versus a denial letter after the letter has been signed by the judge.

        Sincerely,
        Kay