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 / Social Security Disability Hearings / 1,466 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.

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

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

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

How long will I wait to get a Social Security disability hearing decision and what should I do while I wait?
3.2 (64.83%) 29 votes

  • Dee dee

    Hey Mrs. Kay, I thought you would like to know that I got my notice of decision from my lawyer and waiting for the original copy in the mail. Waiting 8 months and 2 weeks on my decision, felt longer than the past 7 years to get my Fully Favorable Decision. My lawyer said for me to open a account this coming week, so when I go for the interview at my local FO, I’ll have bank information on hand. I got approved for both SSI and SSDI. I do know that I’ll be on SSI until my SSDI starts. I want to Thank you for being here for us. I’ll let you know when I get my award letter. Again, Thank You!!

    • Dear Dee dee,

      Thank you for the update and you are welcome!

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Robert,

    I suggest that you try discussing your claim and its potential for appeal with another attorney or two. If they decline to take your case, ask them why to help you understand your situation.

    Filing a new claim instead of appealing is possible. It will reduce or eliminate back pay and to file a new claim for Social Security Disability (SSDI), you must still have been insured on the day after the date on the last denial letter because you cannot claim an earlier disability date than the day after the denial.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • robert b

      so I should let the 60 days they give for appeal pass in order for me to be able to do a new application?

      • Dear Robert,

        If you decide to file a new application, you do not have to wait for the appeals period to expire.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • robert b

          Oh okay I miss understood for a second… I’ll see what I’ll decide thank you.

  • Dear Cassie,

    Whether or not you will be approved depends on how limited you are from working in any occupation with the extensive treatment you are getting. You can call the hearing office and ask where your claim is in the post-hearing process, which includes three steps: decision, letter writing, and review of the letter and signature by the judge.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dee dee,

    Neither you or your attorney can speed up the letter writing process. A call to the reception desk of the hearing office would not result in contact to the judge, so a call would be unlikely to affect the decision. However, calling will only possibly give you estimated information, so there is not much to be gained. In short, you won’t lose anything by following your attorney’s direction.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Robert,
    Good luck.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

    • robert b

      thanks Jane have you been through something similar.

      • Dear Robert,
        No I haven’t. I just know it is hard to try to work when you have a disability.
        Sincerely,
        Jane

  • Dear Robert,

    Good luck with the vocational rehabilitation. It does seem a good idea to go two directions at once.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Robert,

    If you can get a qualified attorney, that is, someone experienced in Social Security and SSI disability claims to take your case after you have been denied as many times as you have, I’d say, yes, definitely try to get assistance with presenting your appeal.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • robert b

      yes I already talked to an attorney that specifies in disability & hopefully he takes my case.

  • That’s okay, Carmen.

  • Thank you for your update, Jenn!

  • Dear Robert,

    Editing means that the decision letter was written, the judge found an error in it, and he or she sent it back to the writers for correction. After it is edited, the letter will go back to the judge for a second review and signature. This means that you are very close to getting the decision. How long it has taken is not an indication of either approval or denial.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • robert b

      thank you Kay for the response… when do you think I should be receiving something on the mail, & I wonder what kinda error was made for them to correct it hopefully it’s something in my favor.

      • Dear Robert,

        It is likely that the error was something that would not change the decision. Processing times vary a great deal from hearing office to hearing office and from judge to judge. Your hearing office might be able to give you an estimate of how long it will take for the letter to get through editing and to be reviewed by the judge.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • robert b

          I just hope I get something soon & I hope it’s in my favor… hopefully I get something by the end of this month or the first of November or you think they will take more time.

          • Dear Robert,

            As I said, unfortunately the time frame is not predictable. That said, it is possible that you would hear by the end of the month or the first half of November.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

            • robert b

              Hopefully thank you so much for the replies.

              • You are welcome, Robert.

                • robert b

                  I might start my application over again but this time with a lawyer cause it’s been so many try’s & nothing.

  • You are welcome, Carmen.

  • Dear Carmen,

    Your question was not erased. The questions are not visible until they are answered as they were today. The comment from the Social Security employee was inappropriate and should not have been made.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Carmen,

    Please see my response of a moment ago to your first post. With the additional information about your medical conditions, I would say that you would have a chance for approval except for not having medical records for the past year. If you have been taking medications and someone is prescribing them and you submitted the prescription information that could help. Also, if you had strong documentation of your conditions and limitations before the last year, that could be a supporting factor as well.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Carmen,

    I don’t have enough information about your medical condition or what documentation you had prior to a year ago to offer an opinion.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sunny,

    We can’t be sure, but the judge’s compassionate remark might be an indication of an upcoming approval. You can call the hearing office for a status, but I recommend waiting for sixty days, which is the guideline for the decision to be made and the letter to be prepared and sent out to you. A phone call will give you an idea of where the appeal is in the post-hearing review process; but even if a decision has been made, you will not be told what the decision is; you will have to wait for the letter.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vanessa,

    If you do not appeal the judge’s decision, the judge’s decision that you were not disabled through the date of the denial letter is final. If you file and new application and claim a disability date in the period that has already been decided, the claim will be denied “res judicata,” which means “already decided.”

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Vanessa Armstrong

      Well my attorney called me and told me he found errors in the judges decision. So he is going to appeal he’s also sending me a paper to give to my primary doctor to fill out. My doctor had told me last July that I was unable to work anymore and he was putting something in my medical records. Told me to make sure I called my lawyer to let him know and I called my lawyer that same day and told him what my doctor said. I don’t understand I don’t know if he saw it or what, but I am just glad that he still wants to fight. He must really think I can eventually win my case I know if he didn’t think so he wouldn’t keep going.

      • Dear Vanessa,

        Thank you for the update. I suggest asking your attorney whether the entry in your medical records that your doctor referenced is already in your claim file.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Vanessa Armstrong

          Another thing I read my decision and I saw where my judge reference that one time I had asked my my doctor about getting a handicap placard. And the doctor said no because I needed to loose some weight. Because of I am a diabetic I was weighing like 232 at that time. I also saw a reference to me being obesity I don’t think I’m obese. My question is later on my doctor did issue me a handicap placard because of my knees I have osteoarthritis in them . But I didn’t see any reference to that. Could the judge overlooked that.

          • Dear Vanessa,

            It is possible that the judge did overlook that. I suggest mentioning the apparent oversight to your attorney.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Dear Vanessa,

    If you have been denied and you or your attorney think that the judge did not arrive at the decision using correct procedures and/or considering all the evidence, you can file a request for an Appeals Council review. If that appeal ultimately resulted in an approval of the date of disability you claimed, you would have back pay. If you file a new claim, you must claim a disability date after the date of the hearing denial letter, so SSI benefits would begin the month after application and Social Security Disability (SSDI) would begin six months after the date claimed. Also, to file a new SSDI claim, you would still have to be insured on the day after the hearing denial. I am sure that your attorney will have a recommendation for you as to what might be the best way for you to move forward

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Jessica

    Hi Kay I applied for SSD last February by myself I got denied then I appealed by myself and got denied again so I hired a lawyer and we got a hearing and when we were done the lawyer said I had a pretty good chance of getting approved but then I got the letter saying that I got denied again and my lawyer quit. I didn’t appeal to the court my 60 days is past by a couple of months so I just hired a lawyer to start the process all over again but have a lawyer from the very beginning. I want to know if there could be a chance of getting approved this first time that I am sending the application or does it have to get denied twice and go to a hearing again? And if I do go to a hearing what are the chances of me getting approved this time? Thanks for any answers you can give me. I have severe major depressive disorder and severe anxiety I have been hospitalized 3 times the last one from a suicide attempt I was there for 3.5 weeks plus I have had ECT treatments.and they said my depression is treatment resistant depression. I also have physical problems I have three bulging discs in my neck pressing against my spinal cord and a couple of herniated discs and I have a rotator cuff tear. Thanks again

    • Dear Jessica,

      It is always possible to be approved on initial application; not all approvals are received after appeal. In your situation, being denied three times is not a good indicator for being approved with a new application; however, the severity of your mental health condition as you describe it combined with some physical limitations and the fact that an attorney is willing to represent you indicate that you may have a chance at approval with this time. I suggest that you talk with your attorney, who has all the details of your claim, to get an opinion on the changes of being approved without having to go to a hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • You are welcome, Vanessa.

  • Dear Scott,

    The length of time that you wait for a decision is not an indication of approval or denial. Given the amount of time that has passed, you can call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in the post-hearing appeal process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vanessa,

    Yes, I would expect you to receive notification within ten days.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vanessa,

    The ODAR receptionist should be able to tell you whether the decision has been made and the appeal is in letter writing or whether the judge has not yet made the decision. The information won’t speed anything up, but sometimes there is some comfort in having more information.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dee dee,

    The status “pending decision writing” means that the judge has made the decision and the decision letter has to be written up and reviewed by the judge for accuracy. Then it will be mailed out to you.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Amber,

    I can’t answer your question precisely, but today is a federal holiday so no actions would have taken place today.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lawrence,

    If your medical records contain the correct diagnoses, then the mistake is on the part of the judge. You do not say whether your representative is a Social Security attorney or another professional specializing in Social Security representation. If he or she is, then I recommend that you point out the error to your representative and inquire whether it is basis for an appeal. If your representative is not a professional in the field of Social Security claims, it could be to your advantage to consult with one. Also, you can request a copy of your claim file and the hearing transcript to see what medical information was available to the judge.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dee Dee,

    It might be that they do not have a coding for a hearing after a federal appeal with a second claim joined to it. In any event, as long as you are waiting for the hearing decision to be sent out (final signed copy), the information available online is not very important. Even if it were coded correctly, it would be very general. Only the hearing office has more detailed information.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Jenn

    I received my decision letter today and was approved fully favorable. I believe it said that it was being sent to the payment center. What is an estimate of how long it takes to receive back pay or ongoing monthly payments? I thought it would go to my local office for me to apply for my 15 yr old daughter and spouse. It has been about five years since initial application and I provided marriage license, birth records for me, my spouse and daughter as well as a voided check for direct deposit. When do these steps take place? I’m certain after 5 yrs I will have to reverify. Don’t get me wrong although I’m in debt twice my height not just to my neck but this approval letter has given me peace of mind. Thanks in advance.

    • Dear Jenn,

      Because of the amount of time that has passed since you submitted all those documents, I suggest that you take them to your local office again and ask that they be forwarded to the payment center just in case. This will be especially important if you have changed banks. Also, you or your spouse will need to apply to be representative payee for your daughter. You are likely due a large amount of back pay that will require more than one review and approval.You may receive a monthly benefit within a month or two; however, the back pay is likely to pend longer–two months or more after you get your first monthly benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jenn

        Long story but me onset date was negotiated to July 01 2015. The next day the office is open I will take copies and make a representative payee for my daughter.
        Thanks again.

        • Dear Jenn,
          Kay said you are welcome.
          Sincerely,
          Jane

  • Dear Adam,

    I cannot give you any reliable estimate for how long you will wait to get your decision letter. The guideline is sixty days; however, the length of time varies greatly and may appeals take longer. The information you got from the hearing office about the judge being involved in a special project is, I suspect, a way of saying that you will be waiting longer than usual.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Adam,

    Your attorney may feel that it is not a good idea to push the judge; however, to learn the attorney’s reasons for not following up on the hearing decision, I recommend that you ask him or her.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dee dee,

    After the decision has been made a letter has to be written that explains how the judge arrived at the decision. “Pending” means waiting for it to be completed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Miann,

    The appeal in district court can take several months. Much of the time is time that your appeal waits its turn to be heard. If you are getting a second hearing on the other claim because the Appeals Council remanded it, you are not the only one who found that the judge may not have followed procedures.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • david huffman

    When I call the automated social security office. It says im sorry I am having trouble accessing your account. Been like that for 7 days. It use to say that a decision has not been made.

  • Dear Nancy,

    Unfortunately, I can’t give you a reliable estimate. Sometimes decision letters after an approval bench decision are sent sooner than decisions for other hearings and other times getting the decision is no quicker than for any other hearing. The guideline is for the decision to be sent in sixty days; however, it can take longer.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Nancy

      Thank you for your attention to the message.

  • Dear Dee Dee,

    I am unable to predict how long it will be until you get a decision letter. Your claim should have been in “post-hearing” status beginning right after the hearing was held. It remains in the status until the decision is made, the letter is written, and the judge has signed off on the letter so it can be mailed to you. Your appeal could be in any of those stages. One good sign though is that the status changed, which could mean that someone is actively working on it.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Dee dee

      Mrs. Kay, my lawyer said about 2 to 3 more weeks. What stage is it in for him to say 2 to 3 more weeks? I’m afraid to get to happy because it took 7 months to get this far after my hearing. I tried to ask on the phone, was in a rush to get off the phone, so I didn’t get to ask which stage, all I got was 2 to 3 more weeks of waiting.

      • Dear Dee Dee,

        I can’t say for sure, but it is likely that your appeal is either in letter writing or the letter has been written and it is awaiting the judge’s review and signature.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Diane,

    Only a small percentage of hearing appeals are approved on the record without a hearing. In your case, it is possible that a vocational expert’s testimony will be needed at a hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vanessa,

    In addition to the information provided in our last reply, I can add that you can call the hearing office directly and speak to the general receptionist to find out whether judge still has to make the decision or the decision has been made and your claim is now in the letter writing process. If it is letter writing, an estimate of how long it might be could be available. (Leave talking to the judge’s assistant to your attorney, as previously suggested, if you don’t get a decision in ninety days.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rich,

    I can’t predict an approval or denial. It will all depend on whether the judge believes you really have the limitations you are claiming, specifically that you have to miss four days of work a month.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Markjack17,

    People are reporting both approvals and denials after receiving the online status you reference. If your claim has been medically denied, you will receive a denial letter. If you are approved it can be harder to ascertain that. You can, of course, call again; but typically the decision will not be given out over the phone. If you call and you are told that the claim has been sent to the program center, that means your Social Security Disability (SSDI) claim has been medically approved. If your claim was for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and it was medically approved, you will get a call or letter, hopefully within ten days of the decision asking you to provide updated financial information so payment can be started.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jessica,

    I can’t say whether anyone has ever been approved “on the record” without a hearing when they have had the combination of medical conditions that you have. I can say that almost all hearings requests do go to a hearing before decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rich,

    I read your initial comment and our moderator’s reply. Apologies for our not explaining that the acronym SVP stands for Stratifying Occupational Units by Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP), which is one system of evaluating occupations, specifically related to the vocational or educational background needed to be able to perform the occupation.

    Your attorney is in the best position to judge how the hearing went. My one comment is about the judge not asking just one set of hypotheticals including all your claimed limitations but asking three different hypothetical questions, two with fewer limitations. It makes me think that at the time of the hearing he may not have decided which of the limitations he would accept as supported by the medical evidence. For the vocational expert’s (VE’s) testimony to turn into an approval, the judge has to accept that all your claimed limitations are supported by your medical records. The very well-documented medical records that you mention could make the difference.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear JustAliPatience,

    The hearing office itself is the best source for information regarding the status of your appeal and the hearing decision. General reception can tell you whether a decision has been made and the appeal is waiting for the decision letter to be written or whether the judge has not written the decision. If no decision has been made, you can ask to be connected to the judge’s assistant. If you are put through, nicely ask the assistant if he or she can let you what is needed for the judge to make a decision and whether anything is needed from you.

    As far as time frames, even the assistant may not be able to give you a reliable estimate for how long it will take for you to get a decision and no law exists; and if there were one I don’t see how it could be enforced. You did mention financial difficulty. If you are in danger of eviction or foreclosure or you can’t get urgent medical care due to lack of funds, you can submit a statement of dire need in which you request that your appeal be expedited due to financial need. In the statement, be specific about the financial crisis and attach any documents that would support your statement.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jessica,
    Yes they will. List all details that are related to your disability and the new ones also.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Jessica,
    The date of the application will determine when you will be eligible for benefits. If you are approve, you can receive up to twelve months of Social Security Disability (SSDI) back pay for months prior to your date of application. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments can be paid with the month after the month you file. Each month you wait to file you could possibly lose benefits. I hope that clarifies my previous post.
    Sincerely,
    Jane
    Since

  • Dear Jessica,
    You should try to file as soon as possible, if you are approved your benefits will only be payable based on the date of your application. I wish you luck.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Rich,

    I would suggest asking your attorney to explain to you why he feels you will get a fully favorable. The names of the jobs you gave me does not help. I would need to know their SVP and exertion levels and your age. But if your attorney didn’t ask any questions, I’m going to assume that you are over 55 and all the jobs given by the VE were all SVP 1 or 2 and sedentary or light and that you don’t have a history of sedentary or light unskilled work. If this is not the case, I would definitely talk to your attorney to explain why he thinks you will be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Jessica,

    There are a lot of things to take into consideration when deciding whether to file again. If you are filing for SSD, you must still be within the period of time that you are insured for regular SSD coverage. If you are filing for SSI, you must be financially eligable. If you are younger then 50, have not gotten any new medical treatment, and your medical condition has not changed since the last time you were in front of a judge, then if you file again there is a good chance you will again be denied. But if anything at all has changed since the last time you were in front of a judge – you turned 50, 55, or 60; your condition got worse; you’ve gotten updated medical treatment – then there is a chance the decision might be different. I think a more important question to ask is why the attorney you had first told you you had a good claim and then dropped your claim, because that doesn’t make sense. If it was a good claim, he would have appealed it for you. I would suggest contacting that attorney again and making sure you understand why he dropped you as that will help you decide on your next step. However, keep in mind that if you feel you are truly disabled and have no other choice but to go on disability, there is no reason you should not keep trying to convince Social Security that you should be approved for benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Dee Dee,

    I’m sorry, but I do not understand your question. Can you please restate it?

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

    • Dee dee

      My question was confusing, I do apologize for that. Does the judges depositions include 1st hearings and remanded case on the page that shows how many case they have done and letters sent out to let people know what their decision are? Or are remanded case heard not included? Thank you again. I’m just getting more upset. 11 more cases are done with on the 9/9/2017 update on that date, since the time before that was on 6/14/2017. It was 165 cases back in June and now it’s at 176 cases. Thank you again!

      • Dear Dee Dee,

        I do not know the answer to your question, but I would think that remands could be included because they require a new decision. The source I have for statistics on cases cleared by each judge does not show when the hearing request was filed or when the hearing was held, so it is possible that the cases cleared were older than yours.

        Did you see my original answer to your question, which suggested that you could ask to speak to the judge’s assistant and just politely ask whether your appeal is on track with the judge? If you call, mention the date of the hearing and the bench approval and that you have followed the judge’s statistics showing that she has finalized decisions on quite a lot of cases since your hearing and that has made you wonder whether your case file might have gotten sidetracked in some manner and has fallen out of the judge’s attention.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Dee dee

          Mrs. Kay, my lawyer told me not to call the ODAR office anymore, until they heard something from them and my lawyer seems to fear the alj for some reason. My case is over 7 years old. Thanks for the fast response. I’ve reached my max on getting help from churches to help pay utilities to keep from getting evicted if they are disconnected. Can’t use DSS again until march 2018 with electric bill. Water company cuts you off when you are only 1 month behind. Sorry for the rant. Again thank you for all you do for us on here.

          • Dear Dee Dee,

            Do follow the advice of your attorney. I can’t remember now whether you have sent of discussed a dire need letter based on imminent danger of utilities being turned off. If you haven’t yet, try contacting the power company directly about their assistance programs.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Dear Dee Dee,

    I wonder if somehow your claim got lost in the shuffle. One option could be to ask to speak to the judge’s assistant and just politely ask whether your appeal is on track with the judge. Mention the date of the hearing and the bench approval and that you have followed the judge’s statistics showing that she has finalized decisions on quite a lot of cases since your hearing and that has made you wonder whether your case file might have gotten sidetrackedin some manner and has fallen out of the judge’s attention.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Billy,

    Depending on your work history and educational level and your ability to sit, you may be eligible. I suggest that you file a claim to get a formal decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    It is likely to take one to two months to get the SSDI started and a month or two beyond that for the SSDI back pay released.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dee Dee,

    You are welcome, and please see my response of a few minutes ago to your last post in which I recommend that you follow your attorney’s advice.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dee Dee,

    I am surprised that the hearing office would not tell you whether or not the judge had made the decision. However, if your attorney has reason to believe that it is not a good idea to contact the judge, then follow his or her advice rather than my suggestion to engage the help of your congressperson.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tricia,

    The guideline is for your to receive the judge’s decision within sixty days, but it can take longer. Once you have received a medical approval from the judge, how long it takes to get payment and how it is paid depends on whether your claim is for Social Security Disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or both.

    If you were approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), your SSDI claim will be sent to a central payment center, where they will double check that you were insured on your established date of disability; calculate your benefit amount applying any offsets you might have, such as SSI (see below), workers compensation, state disability insurance, or certain public pension; and authorize payment. This can take two months or more from the date of the decision letter. Back pay is typically paid a month or more after the first monthly benefit and it is paid in a single lump sum.

    If you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your local Social Security office will calculate and authorize SSI payments. Before payment can be calculated, a financial update will be needed from you so that benefits can be calculated for past months The office will contact you for a financial update interview. Usually you will be paid within a month of the update interview and submission of any requested documents.

    If you were approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), your SSDI claim will be sent to a central payment center, where they will double check that you were insured on your established date of disability; calculate your benefit amount applying any offsets you might have, such as SSI (see below), workers compensation, or public pension; and authorize payment. This can take two months or more from the date of the decision letter. Back pay is typically paid a month or more after the first monthly benefit.

    If you were approved for both benefits, the SSDI benefit calculation will be deferred until the SSI calculation has been completed and will start a month to two months after SSI processing has been completed. SSDI back benefits will be reduced by the amount of SSI benefits payable for the months in which SSDI and SSI eligibility overlaps.

    Typically SSI back pay is paid in up to three installments six months apart and the first two will not exceed $2,205. However, if after your Social Security starts, you are no longer eligible for SSI due to your ongoing SSDI benefit or you are expected to be ineligible for twelve months due to another reason or your disability is expected to result in death within twelve months, you can request the remaining SSI installments to be released as soon as the SSDI starts.

    Even if your SSDI is low enough to allow ongoing SSI or while you are waiting for SSDI to start, if you have a compelling need for more than the initial installment, you may be able to get early release of part or all of later installments. For example, if you need the money to pay the down payment on a house or to buy a car for medical transportation, or to catch up past-due rent or mortgage to avoid eviction or foreclosure, or to pay past-due medical bills or to pay for needed medical care, you may be successful in getting additional funds released before the installment due dates. If any of these circumstances apply to you, you can submit a petition for release of funds. Be prepared to provide documentation of the dollar amount needed such as past-due notices and written estimates.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    The time frame the representative is efficient and prompt. If the work gets done and the payments authorized, you have been fortunate with quick processing. Social Security Disability (SSDI) will be processed and paid after the SSI and may take a couple months to start.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Jeff Beach

      It has gone pretty fast. I al ready had a deposit made of over 2500.00 and will be getting ssi payment for oct.. still waiting for ssdi to finish

      • Dear Jeff,
        I am glad your claim is being processed very quickly,
        Sincerely,
        Jane

  • Dear Dee dee,

    I suggest that you call the hearing office to get an updated status. If the letter is not just about to be sent out to you, you could contact your congressperson to ask them to make an inquiry on your behalf about the delay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Alex,

    I can’t say for sure, but I think the dates may refer to the earliest date for which you could receive benefits. If your applied in January 2016, the January 2015 date may apply to your Social Security Disability (SSDI) claim and the February 2016 to your SSI claim. The reason for the difference is that SSDI can be paid for twelve months prior to application, but SSI begins the month after application.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary,

    To successfully appeal a hearing denial, the judge had to have made a procedural error.If you really think that you are unable to work in any occupation consistently and earn at least $1,170 gross wages, I suggest that you request a copy of your claim file and the hearing transcript. Then review them and take them to one or more experienced Social Security attorneys and ask whether you have grounds for an appeal or your only recourse is to file a new claim. (New Supplemental Security Income–SSI–claims can always be filed; Social Security Disability–SSDI–claim can be filed if you are still insured for (have enough recent credits for) SSDI.) Information on how how to find and select a Social Security attorney can be found in our article “When and how do I select an attorney to help me with my Social Security or SSI Disability claim?” under “Basic Social Security Disability Facts” in the drop-down menu under Social Security Disability/SSI” tab at the top of this webpage.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Jeff Beach

    Hi kay I got a question.. I checked my account last night and it showed my hearing info and everything..and now when I check my ssa status says this.. is is normal

    Your Benefit Applications
    We’re sorry, we cannot provide your Benefit Application Status at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please try again later.

    • Dear Jeff,

      Other people have occasionally reported the same status. It could be that the system is being updated. I suggest doing as it suggests and trying again tomorrow or the next day.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Mimi,

    Hearing offices schedule hearing dates based on the order in which the appeals are received with only a few exceptions. How long it takes cannot be and isn’t governed by rules; it is a function of how many judges there are as related to the number of appeals. You can look up the average wait time for your hearing office at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html

    If you have not already gotten a copy of your claim file, I recommend that you do so. You should be able to find in the file the specific rationale that was applied in determining you would improve so that you or your attorney can address the issue at the hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vanessa,

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) back pay benefit amounts are based on the income you actually received each month beginning with the month after application, June 2015. Your Social Security Disability (SSDI) will not count as income until you actually receive it. Your SSDI back pay will begin September 2015 and will be reduced by SSI paid for September 2015 through the month before your monthly SSDI starts.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome.

  • Dear Markjack17,

    How long it takes to get the letter written and reviewed and signed by the judge varies a great deal from one hearing office to another. I suggest that you call your hearing office and ask whether they can provide an estimate. The online status will update, but all it will say is that a decision has been made and a letter sent.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vanessa,

    If you do not understand why he gave you a paper to change your onset date, ask him. Did he do it because the judge said he would pay if you changed it? You should feel free to ask your attorney anything you want about your claim. Although your judge would like to get your decision to you in 60 days, it can often take longer. After 90 days, try calling your attorney and ask them to call the judges assistant directly for an update on how long before you get your decision. It may take time for your online account to accurately reflect what is currently going on in your claim. The decision will come in a large envelope and will be many pages long.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • You are welcome, Lawrence.

  • Dear Lawrence,

    The questions are not random. The first question was to help the judge determine whether you could work even part time in your prior occupation. The last question sounds as if it was to help determine whether you could work in other new occupations. The replies from the vocational expert (VE) are favorable to your claim. It is unlikely that the attorney would say everything went well if he didn’t believe it.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Aisline,

    Your husband should talk with his attorney immediately to inform him or her of the new diagnosis and to ask if there is any way to submit that information to the judge even though the hearing has already been held. I don’t have enough information to say whether your husband will be approved or not, but submission of the test results could help.

    Typically, the earliest established onset date must be a date after the last denial that was not appealed. Social Security benefits begin to accrue the later of twelve months before the month of the approved application or with the sixth full calendar month of established disability. If your husband’s benefit is $2,200, his child will receive $1,100.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lawrence,

    If you didn’t already, you should ask your attorney what they talked about. It could have been about you or maybe about a completely different case that had nothing to do with you. Or they could have been talking sports — who knows?!?! You have every right to ask your attorney. As to whether this sounds good, the smile on his face doesn’t tell me much, but the fact the judge only asked the VE 2 questions and the VE said no jobs for any of them, and then your attorney did not follow up with any other questions – those are all good signs. Ask the attorney what he thinks of the outcome of the case as he will have a much better idea and should let you honestly know what he felt.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Marie,

    I would not recommend submitting anything without discussing it with your attorney first. If you both do decide to submit more evidence, the attorney may have to write a memo to the appeal council explaining why the records were not submitted before the hearing. You have an attorney for a reason, so they can help guide you through this process. You should be discussing all these questions that you have with your lawyer. If you win, they will get 25% of your back pay — let them earn it! They should be working with you and answering your question and making you feel comfortable with your claim, even if you don’t win. If you are not comfortable with them or if you are having any problems with them, the best thing you can do is LET THEM KNOW!!! They want to make sure you are happy so that you do not complain about them and maybe you even recommend them to your friends and family. And, hopefully, they actually care about you and want to help you and make sure you understand what is happening and are comfortable with the process. So yes, wait and talk to your lawyer.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Marie,

    There are so many reasons why someone could be denied. Not having enough testing might be one. But remember that tests help to establish your diagnosis, they do not change your symptoms. Your symptoms and their affect on your functioning are what is most important in a claim. Your lawyer should have let the judge know about your financial problems, unless it was clear in your medical records that you did not have the money to get proper testing. But that fact that you did not get testing ordered by your doctors is not a reason the judge would have denied you, although he may have mentioned your lack of tests as proof that you did not comply with treatment. If noncompliance is one of the reasons the judge gives for denying you, then a possible legal argument your lawyer would make is that the judge committed a legal error by not taking your financial problems into consideration when finding you non-compliant with treatment. There are literally thousands of possible legal errors that the judge could make. You will just have to wait and see what the decision says. As to specific technical situations under which the appeals council could pay a claim on their own, they are all very complicated. One less complicated example I could give you is when a judge bases his decision that a person is not disabled strictly on a vocational experts answers to his questions and that expert made a clear mistake. If the VE had not made the mistake, the only other result would have been that the judge would have found the person disabled. If the appeals council agrees that the VE’s was clearly wrong because his testimony was clearly against their own rules, they then can find the claimant disabled without sending it back to the judge because they have no need for the judge to make any new decisions. He only denied the claim because of the clearly incorrect answer. For example, the judge says to the VE that he believes that a claimant can only complete a 6 hour day on a regular basis and the VE says there are still some full time jobs out there. The judge denies based on that testimony. The appeals council would pay that claim because Social Security’s own rules say that you MUST be able to complete an 8 hour day on a regular basis. So if the only reason the judge didn’t pay is because the VE gave him clearly erroneous information, there is no reason to send it back to the judge. Under this type of rare technical circumstance, the appeals council could and would pay on their own. But these cases are few and far between. Your lawyer will be able to tell you if you have one of these rare circumstances in your claim. I’m sorry but I con’t understand your last question.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Ling,

    As you have described the course of your claim in your past posts (I found them), I am uncertain as to how much of your medical documentation that you have submitted after the first hearing will be considered under the law, so I am unable to project the changes of your being approved at this point. However, your attorney, who is very familiar with your claim, may be able to comment. I can say that the attorney would have have continued to represent you through all these appeals if he did not believe you had a reasonable chance for approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lawrence,

    The designation of a claim or appeal being in a certain numbered step seems to be a new form of status report. I do not know for sure what it means. I suggest that you call the hearing office to get information about where your claim is in the post hearing process. Given the amount of time that has passed, it is possible that the judge may have made the decision and sent the decision to the writing department for the decision letter to be written up.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vickie,

    If you have not received a decision letter within sixty days, I suggest you call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in the post-hearing appeals process. You will not, however, be told the decision over the phone.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    I am sorry to contradict your attorney; however, that is not quite right. Your SSDI income counts to determine your SSI eligibility only in the months it is actually received, which is in the future. (You have not received any yet.) Each month in the past, your eligibility for SSI will be based on the income and assets you actually had in those months. Your back pay will be based on your income and assets in those past months. Your SSDI back pay will then be reduced by SSI you receive for the overlapping months.

    Once the SSDI actually starts, if it is too high for you to continue to receive any ongoing SSI, you can request to have all the SSI back pay paid out to you rather than in installments.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,
    The disability advisor said you are welcome.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Jeff,
    See your previous reply.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Marie,

    When you appeal to the appeals council, they are not making a new decision on the facts of your claim. They are only looking to see if the judge committed any legal errors. And you do not physically come before them. You just wait for them to review your claim and if they find any legal errors they will return the clam to your judge to solve the legal error. You can also write a memo explaining what legal errors the judge made. Under some rare and specific technical situations, they can approve the case themselves without sending it back to the judge, but that does not happen often, especially if you did not have an attorney with you to make certain arguments that could have allowed the judge to pay the claim but which he ignored.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Jeff,

    After the interview and submission of the documents they requested, SSI will usually be paid within a month. SSDI will take longer. Please see my response of Tuesday that has more complete information on how long it takes for benefits to start.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    If your attorney specializes in disability cases, in this case he probably knows what he is talking about. SSA has a rule that does not allow you to receive SSD until 5 months after your disability begins. (It’s a strange rule that many have tried unsuccessfully for years to get congress to change.) If you have no other income in the household and few resources, you could qualify for SSI to fill in those 5 months with payments. Once your SSD payments start, if they are higher then the SSI maximum of $735, you would stop getting SSI and only get SSD . You can not get both as SSI is means based program.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Jeff,
    After you have completed the financial update and provided any information they may have requested, it can take up to thirty days to process your payments.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Shakeema,

    In order to get your claim sped up at any level, you would need to prove one of the following you have a terminal illness that is expected to result in death in the next few months. Sometimes, you can get your case sped up if you are homeless or about to be evicted or are having other extreme financial problems. The best thing to do is to gather together any evidence that you think proves you are in in some sort of dire predicament and explains why you should be moved ahead of all the thousand of others desperate to get their decisions back.

    As to the updated evidence if you think it can help prove disability back to the time period that your judge was considering, you can always try to submit it. It really depends on what the evidence is for me to be able to offer you any more information on how the appeals council will respond to the new evidence. Normally, they will not consider anything that was not presented to the judge, but there are many exceptions to this rule. You will need to offer a darn good explanation as to why it was not presented to the judge before he made his decision. If the evidence is something that happened after your judge made their decision and doesn’t really apply to the time period prior to your judges decision, sometimes that evidence will be sent back to you and then used later as the onset date for your next application – that is if you get denied on this claim, decide not to appeal, and decide instead to start a new claim.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • You are welcome, Barbara.

  • Dear Jeff,

    If you were approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), your SSDI claim will be sent to a central payment center, where they will double check that you were insured on the date of your established date of disability; calculate your benefit amount applying any offsets you might have, such SSI (see below), workers compensation, or public pension; and authorize payment. This can take two months or more. Back pay is typically paid a month or more after the first monthly benefit.

    If you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your local Social Security office will calculate and authorize SSI payment. Before payment can be calculated, a financial update will be needed from you. The local office will contact you for the update. Usually you will be paid within a month of the update interview and submission of any requested documents.

    If you were approved for both benefits, the SSDI benefit calculation will be deferred until the SSI calculation has been completed and will start a month to two months after SSI processing has been completed. SSDI back benefits will be reduced by the amount of SSI benefits payable for the months in which SSDI and SSI eligibility overlaps.

    Typically SSI back pay is paid in up to three installments six months apart and the first two will not exceed $2,205. However, if after your Social Security starts, you are no longer eligible for SSI due to your ongoing SSDI benefit or you are expected to be ineligible for twelve months due to another reason or your disability is expected to result in death within twelve months, you can request the remaining SSI installments to be released.

    Also, if you have a compelling need for more than the initial installment, you may also be able to get early partial release of part or all of later installments. For example, if you need the money to pay the down payment on a house or to buy a car for medical transportation, or to catch up past-due rent or mortgage to avoid eviction or foreclosure, or to pay past-due medical bills or to pay for needed medical care, you may be successful in getting additional funds released before the installment due dates. If any of these circumstances apply to you, you can submit a petition for release of funds. Be prepared to provide documentation of the dollar amount needed such as past-due notices and written estimates.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Jeff Beach

      Thanks.. my onset date is 7/1/15.. I was approved for both. My attorney said that I would get ssi for the first 5 month which is the waiting period so from 7/1/15 to 12/1/15.. then he said that ssdi would take over starting 1/1/16.. and then go from there.. does that sound correct..

      • Dear Jeff,
        If you are approved for both Social Security (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, the (SSDI) benefit calculation will be deferred until the (SSI) calculation has been completed and will start a month to two months after SSI processing is complete. SSDI back benefits will be reduced by the amount of SSI benefits payable for the months in which SSDI and SSI eligibility overlaps. Typically SSI back pay is paid in up to three installments six months apart and the first two will not exceed $2,205. However, if after your Social Security starts, you are no longer eligible for SSI due to your ongoing SSDI benefit, you can request the remaining SSI installments to be released. This process can take up to 60 days or longer to complete.
        The waiting period is five full months. Your onset date is 7/1/15 and your waiting period will end on 11/30/15.
        In order to qualify for SSDI benefits you have to be disabled before your date last insured. Your date of onset is prior to March 31, 2018 (your date last insured) and you will meet that qualification.
        Sincerely,
        Jane

    • Jeff Beach

      My insured date is March 31, 2018 and I have not worked since July 2013

    • Jeff Beach

      So I shouldn’t expect any monry for at least 2 months

    • Jeff Beach

      One more thing. I have school loans that are on deferment right now but no late payments at all, will they take my back pay for that

      • Dear Jeff,
        If you have a delinquent federal student loan, it can be collected from Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. I can’t be certain if they will collect anything from your back pay or future payments. You may want to contact the lender and explain you are disabled and have been approved for DDSI benefits, to see if they can discharge the loan.
        Sincerely,
        Jane

  • Dear Victor,

    It appears that part of your post did not come through. If you wish, post again and we will respond.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Marie,

    I am not sure what “getting it together” means. In hearing cases, usually a posting of “decision made” is not done until a detailed decision letter has to be written and reviewed and signed by the judge. How long that takes varies a great deal from one hearing office to another. I suggest that you call the hearing office to find out whether the online status is correct or not. They will be able to tell you where in the post-hearing process you are as related to getting the decision letter. You can then ask them for a time estimate.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michele,

    You were married less than ten years, so you are not eligible for benefits on your former spouse’s earnings record.

    Sincerely,
    Katy

  • Dear Michele,

    I would say that the records should be kept until such time as you receive a formal approval of your claim–just in case you have to appeal.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Shakeema.

  • Dear Crystal,

    I agree with your attorney, that the likelihood of approval looks good. I suggest talking with your attorney about submitting a dire-need letter based on your being homeless. The letter might speed up the processing a little bit.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    You should receive your hearing decision letter within seven to ten days.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Jeff Beach

      It’s been 7 weeks since my hearing.. do you think after the judge changed my onset date he would deny me

      • Dear Jeff,

        A changed onset date is not a guarantee of approval; however, it can be an indication that the judge plans to approve with the revised date. The guideline is for you to get a decision in sixty days, but it can take longer. How long it takes is not an indication of either approval or denial.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Jeff Beach

          I jist don’t see why he would deny me if he changed the date.. when mentoned it to my attorny he said something about fully favorable with that date.. and that’s whe the attorney and I stepped out for a min to talk it over..

          • Dear Jeff,

            No decision is final until you get it in writing; however, as you relate the situation and your attorney’s decision, you have a very good chance that it is an approval. It is a matter of waiting until you know for sure.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

    • Jeff Beach

      I just hope it’s an approval..I think it should be bc the judge changed my onset date

  • Dear Jenn,

    As you said, I can’t say for sure what the outcome of your appeal will be; however, I’d say you have reasonable chance for approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Barbara,

    If your claim is for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and the medical decision is a denial, you will get a letter within a week to ten days. If it is an approval, you will not get a letter until the non-medical portion of the claim processing has been completed and benefits have been calculated. This is done by a central payment center and can take two or more months.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Barbara,
    It sounds like the decision was made on your claim. If you were denied you should receive a denial notice within 15 days and, if you were approved you should receive within 30 days. It is alway difficult to determine what the decision is until you receive your official notice, but usually if you need another contact the decision would be favorable.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

    • Barbara Randolph

      Sorry Jane but I forgot to mention that they amended my onset date and no questions were asked of the VE because I met a listing; so the decision should be an approval, right? Thank you.

      • Dear Barbara,
        It appears your claim was approved, but until you receive the official notice you can’t be sure of the decision. You should be receiving some notifications soon.
        Sincerely,
        Jane

  • Dear Marie,

    Please see my prior answer.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Connie,

    Once the case is closed, it should take at least 2-3 months to get the decision written up and sent out to you. But your lawyer will know best how long it may be before your claim is closed, so you should talk to them about what exactly is going on. Looks like they are sending interrogatories back and forth in order to get answers to questions that came up after the hearing for the judge. Sometimes, the interrogatories are not enough and you might have to go back in for a supplemental hearing. Again, your attorney would know best about what exactly is happening with all these interrogatories.

    Your back pay will start on the date that the judge decides your disability was so sever that you were no longer able to work. Just keep in mind that regular SSD benefits have a 5 month waiting period from the date your disability began (for everyone) before your payments will begin. So although your back pay will actually go back to that day, you may not actually start getting paid your whole SSD amount, or anything at all, before that 5 month waiting period is up.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Lawrence,
    The disability advisor said you are welcome.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Marie,

    The attorney’s remark indicates that he or she believes that you have a good chance of approval. If no vocational testimony was obtained that is a stronger indication of potential approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lindella,

    First, I think you meant to say that you had your hearing in July 2017. I am not familiar with a “three-week response” waiver. However, if you were told that you would get a decision in sixty-five days, I would expect you will receive the decision around that time, which would be September; although there are no guarantees.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Lindella Denise Wilson

      Thanks…yes……….I meant 2017. My attorney told me today that the judge has made a decision and that my case is with the writers. On line it said in process. How long does it take once your case is with writer.

      • Dear Lindella,

        Although they try to get the decision written up and sent out within 2 months, it can often take much longer. Once it has been at least 90 days, check in again with your attorney or the judges assistant to see how much longer they thing it will be. The attorney would also have to call the judges assistant for this information.

        Sincerely,
        Disability Adviser

  • Dear Lawrence,

    I assume that the July 27 date is the date that the judge made the decision or that the judge received additional information that he or she requested to help with the decision. You should be getting a written decision fairly soon now that the decision is in the letter writing stage; however, exactly how long you will wait will depend on how busy your hearing office is.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Lawrence McClellan

      Ok thank you so much

  • Dear Lawrence,

    I’m sorry but I don’t understand what you mean by your first question. As to your other question, SSA has chosen to verify people’s identities using credit information that only that person should know. If there is not enough credit information that exists out there for you, there is no other way they can verify your identity other then your going down to the local office in person. It is their attempt to have a secure website, since they don’t want your information stolen from their website, while still allowing the website to be accessed by the majority of the public.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Lawrence,

    Although judges would like to get decisions out in 2 months, they often take longer. You can ask your lawyers office to start trying to bug the judges assistant for information on how much longer it will be since you’ve already waited 4 months. As to your chances, if every question asked of the VE by your attorney or judge resulted in him saying no jobs, then your chances are good. But if the VE offered jobs for any of the questions the judge asked, I really have no idea of what your chances might be.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Kris,
    Your husband’s Social Security Disability SSDI) benefit is determined by his earnings record and his age when he become disabled. These factors form the basis for calculating your husband’s benefit. Your husband’s disability benefit will be the same amount as it would be if you r husband was at full retirement age; that is, your husband’s benefit will not be reduced. The Social Security Administration can estimate the amount your husband’s benefit will be if he is approved.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Jody,
    Your questions haven’t been deleted. In the last several days we answered several of your questions. If you have a questions, that hasn’t been answered, please repost it.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Kris,
    The URL is https://faq.ssa.gov/. Sorry I posted an incomplete URL.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Jody,

    There is no set time during which they must get the expedited decision back to you. You may want to speak to the judges assistant and make sure they are aware of the expedite order and ask them how much longer until your decision is mailed out. If the decision is favorable, you should start getting payments within a couple of weeks if there are no other technical issues in your claim which may hold up your award.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Kim,

    You will just have to be patient a little while longer. If they asked about your phone number they were probably just checking to make sure it had not changed. The question does not mean anything special.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Janet,

    I must admit I’m confused as well. I can not understand what you are asking. Please clarify. If you are asking whether or not judges ever approve claims that come before them without having to hold a hearing, then yes, it does rarely happen.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Kimberly,
    I am not sure what he meant. If he is telling you you may hear something in October Social Security must be still working on the medical decision and the claim hasn’t been denied. If you haven’t heard anything by October call back for status.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Kris,
    Please see your previous post for your answer.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Kris,
    Social Security benefits can be garnished for certain debts your husband may owe, but they cannot be affected by a your debt(s). This is a reference you can read https://faq.ssa.gov/…/What-are-the-laws-allowing-the-garnishment-and-levy-of-Social.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Kimberly,
    Status on disability claims are checked under a person’s “My SSA ” account, but children cannot have a “My SSA” account. You will have to call your local Social Security office for status.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Kelli,

    You should always have the opportunity to question the VE at your hearing. If the judge keeps cutting off you or your attorney and only asks the VE a few questions and then abruptly ends the hearing without giving you or your attorney an opportunity to question the VE, then he has not given you the opportunity to completely present your claim. That would be a legal error which would cause the claim to be remanded back to him by the Appeals Council that sits above him if the claim is denied. The judge knows this, so your attorney is probably correct in assuming that if the judge is doing this during your hearing, he intends on approving you and is just trying to get the minimum amount of testimony he needs on the record to write up a favorable decision and then get you out the door. It’s most likely a good sign!

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Sean,

    The hostility and lack of professionalism on the part of the vocational expert (VE) may not influence the judge; however, the judge’s comment to the attorney that she understood where the attorney was going with his questions and would make note of it could be an indication that the judge thought the attorney, not the VE, was correct in her arguments. That would be good.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jenn,

    Sometimes formal written decisions of bench decisions come through more quickly than other decisions but not always. The guideline is for a decision within sixty days, but it can take longer.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary,

    There is no set time within which you must receive your decision. Although they would like to try to get a decision back to you within 2-3 months, sometimes it can take longer. Once it’s been more then 90 days, call back and ask to speak to the judges assistant and see if they have a better idea of how much longer it will be.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Jeff,
    It can take up to 60 days for the final processing of your case and receive your notice with the benefit information.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Joselin,

    The status is a routine status code that does not say whether or not you have been approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Always,
    Kay said you are welcome.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Hi Panicking in KY,

    You should call your current hearing office and ask them to give you some idea on how long it may be until your claim is assigned to a judge. Your OTR will not have anyone available to review it until it’s actually assigned to a judge. Once it is assigned to a judge, call and speak to the judge’s assistant and have them confirm that the judge is aware of and has reviewed the OTR request. In the meanwhile, if you are experiencing extreme financial hardship, like utilities being disconnected or an eviction notice, send proof to your hearing office and speak to them about having your claim expedited.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Shakeema,
    Kay said thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Jeff,

    Yes, most people have their monthly benefits started by then, but it might take longer for back pay to be issued.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    You should receive the decision letter in five days or less. The online status doesn’t tell you what the decision is.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Always Tired,

    If you were approved at a hearing, the time frames I am mentioning below start with when you get the approval letter.

    If you were approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), your SSDI claim will be sent to a central payment center, where they will double check that you were insured on the date of your established date of disability; calculate your benefit amount applying any offsets you might have, such SSI (see below), workers compensation, or public pension; and authorize payment. This can take two months or more. Back pay is typically paid a month or more after the first monthly benefit.

    If you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your local Social Security office will calculate and authorize SSI payment. Before payment can be calculated, a financial update will be needed from you if your claim has been approved on appeal and even sometimes as an initial claim if it has pended a long time. The office will contact you for a financial update so that benefits can be calculated for past months. Usually you will be paid within a month of the update interview and submission of any requested documents.

    If you were approved for both, the SSDI benefit calculation will be deferred until the SSI calculation has been completed and will start a month to two months after SSI processing is complete. SSDI back benefits will be reduced by the amount of SSI benefits payable for the months in which SSDI and SSI eligibility overlaps. Typically SSI back pay is paid in up to three installments six months apart and the first two will not exceed $2,205. However, if after your Social Security starts, you are no longer eligible for SSI due to your ongoing SSDI benefit, you can request the remaining SSI installments to be released. Also, if you have a compelling need for more than the initial installment, you may also be able to get early partial release of part or all of later installments

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Well, if my memory is correct about three weeks, but that is very unusual.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Hi Mary,

    Although judges would like to get decisions back to you within 2 months, it usually takes longer and there is no time limit within which they must return your decision. As to back pay, there is no back pay for SSI. Payments begin the next full month after the date you apply. If you also have an SSD claim going, you can get paid up to one year prior to the date you apply if you are found to have become disabled at least seventeen months before application.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Hi Roglyn,

    The older you are the better your chances to be approved for disability. You will be if you are over age 60, are limited to lifting no more than about 20 lbs due to your back and ankle pain, have no transferable skills and no history of unskilled work at the sedentary or light level in the last 15 years.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Hi GK,

    Unless your hearing was by video with a judge out of Maryland or it was sent there for the letter-writing part getting an decision, I do not know why it was sent there. I suggest you call your hearing office and/or the 410 number you were given and ask them what is happening with your claim.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • You are welcome, Shakeema.

  • Dear Shakeema,

    As you describe your conditions and the hearing, I’d say you have a reasonably good chance of approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear John,

    It is not unusual to wait three months for a hearing decision letter. If you have been calling the hearing office for a status, they should be able to tell you whether or not the decision has been made and the appeal is waiting for the letter to be written up.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Gary,

    After the judge makes a decision a letter has to be written and then reviewed by the judge for accuracy before he or she signs it and releases it to be mailed. You can call the hearing office to see where it is in that process. They will not tell you whether or not you were approved, so you will have to wait for the letter to see if your attorney is correct.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Please see my reply to your last question about this issue. You could probably ask them to wait to process the benefits until you set up the account and give them the information.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Well then, your first payment will likely be mailed to you as a paper check.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Yes, that is the standard online update after a hearing. It will stay the same until the decision letter is actually mailed out.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    None of the things you mention are an indication of whether or not you will be paid. Onset dates may be changed for different reasons. Also, cases may be in a priority status for a number of reasons, such as it’s been open for a long time and is considered an “aged” case. Aged cases must be decided quickly, which could be why the judge made his decision so quickly. But at least it sounds like you will have a decision soon.

    Sincerely,

    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Jeff,
    You will be contacted by Social Security to complete an update before your SSI benefits will begin. During that interview you can request a direct deposit and provide the account and routing numbers. At that time, ask then to get the bank account information associated with your Social Security Title II claim.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Mary,

    The testimony from the expert is favorable to your claim. If the judge determines the testimony is valid and that the limitations you are claiming, which the expert considered in forming his opinion, are supported by evidence in file, your claim likely will be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kris,

    You cannot find out what the decision is until it has been finalized. After the letter is written, it will go back to the judge for review and signature before it is mailed. If you have not already, you can set up a “My Social Security” account on http://www.ssa.gov and watch the status. Sometimes the decision will be posted before the letter reaches you.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lydia,

    Your attorney can not know for sure you will be approved unless your attorney spent time alone with the judge during or immediately after the hearing when the judge could have told him or her that the decision would be favorable or the judge rendered a decision while you were in court. If that did not occur, the attorney is likely saying that the way the hearing went was favorable for an approval decision, not that the decision will definitely be favorable (an approval).

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    You are right that your benefit start date for Social Security Disability will be the sixth full calendar month of disability because your onset date is after your application date. However, July counts as one of the months because the judge made the incurred date the first of the month. This means that you benefits will begin to accrue December 2015.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michael,

    You will not be contacted about payment options. If there is any chance that you gave bank account information that is no longer valid, you need to submit new bank account information or make a request for a Direct Express debit card onto which the payments would be loaded. The reason is that if you do have account information on a closed account in your claim file, there is a high probability that the first payment will go to the no longer valid bank account, which would result in its being returned by the bank and reissued.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    The relative timing of the letter and release of the first payment varies; sometimes payment is actually deposited to your account before the letter reaches you. SSDI back pay has been taking a month to three or four months after monthly benefits start. If you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you should be paid within a month of the approval letter. SSI back pay is paid in three installments six months apart with the first two not exceeding $2,205 each. If you were approved for both SSI and SSDI, SSI will be paid first and SSDI back pay will be reduced by SSI paid or payable for the same months.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Jeff Beach

      Thanks.. my attorny said that I’ll get chapter 16, ssi for the first 5 months which is the 5months waiting period and then chapter 2, ssdi which will kick in after that.. so if my onset date is 7/1/15 so 5 month waiting period is 8/1/15-12/1/15 & ssdi would start from 1/1/16 .. does that sound correct..

      • Dear Jeff,

        So I can answer your question, remind me, what month and year did you file your claim?

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear P.,

    I am not able to assess whether or not you will be approved for benefits. It depends on how severely your conditions affect your ability to work versus how well your symptoms are controlled with medication and other treatment. The judge requesting more records is neither good nor bad. He or she is just being thorough in getting all evidence possible before making a decision. If you have not received a decision within sixty days of when they received the records, you can call again for a status report.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vanessa,

    The guideline is for you to get a decision within sixty days, although it can take less or more time. If you don’t have a decision is sixty days, you can call the hearing office to get a status.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Back-pay months count toward the two-year waiting period, so if the judge approves you with the date of disability you claimed, you will have Medicare right away.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rebekah,

    A quick decision does not mean a denial or an approval. It is more indicative of the judge being efficient and the hearing office being caught up enough to get the letter written quickly.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Demetric,

    Stay under the care of the physicians who are treating you for your pain, depression, and the condition causing the pain so that you what treatment you can and so that you have medical documentation that you can submit for the period of time between requesting the hearing and getting a hearing date. It would be best to send in updated medical every six months so that you will not have to update a long period when you get close to the hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Thanks for the update, Jeff.

  • Dear Savannah,

    What you have described is not common; however, there is no reason to doubt your attorney’s opinion. The guideline is for you to get a decision within sixty days; however, it often takes longer. I cannot estimate how long the judge will take to review the records and make a decision. It is even possible that after a closer review of the records he could call a second hearing if he has questions.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jennifer,

    The guideline is for the judge to get a decision to you within sixty days; however, it often takes longer. You can call the hearing office to find out what the expected wait time currently is for your claim to finish being processed. But it does sound like your decision should probably be sent out pretty soon.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Donita,

    In order to apply for disability, you must be earning less then less than $1,170 gross per month, or would be if you subtracted your Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE’s) from your earnings. (IRWE’s can include medications and other medical expenses for your disabling conditions.) If blind or legally blind, you must be earning less then $1950. You can read Social Security rulings on what statutory blindness in section A.2. of the regulations found at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0434001012#di34001012_definestatutoryblindness. However, in summary, statutory (legal) blindness is either having best corrected vision of 20/200 or worse in both eyes or have certain severe restriction in your field of vision. Once you are earning less then this amount and file for disability, the amount you are making will matter less at the initial levels of disability then later when you get in front of the judge. At the lower levels, rules are pretty cut and dry. Either you are earning less then SGA or you are not. Judges will give a little more consideration as to whether or not they think you might in fact be able to work just a little bit more and earn SGA and perhaps you are just earning slightly below SGA just so you can get your benefits. If you really cannot continue working, stopping work should not negatively affect your claim.
    Also, you can always help insure that your part time work does not negatively affect your claim by getting letters from employers and coworkers that include information about frequent absences, frequent lateness, inability to perform specific work tasks, inability to function in specific ways, and any special accommodations the employer makes. Also, it is very helpful to mention if the employer is hiring you as a favor or overpaying you in any way even though you cannot really perform the full job – sometimes an employer will overpay someone out of compassion for their situation, even though they cannot really maintain competitive employment. If you are unsure about whether you might qualify, you can file a claim to get a formal decision.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Joselin,

    As you describe the status of the claim, I would say that it is going through normal processing and you will have a decision soon.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome.

  • Dear Becky,

    A one-day decision is quicker than normal, but how fast a decision is made is not an indication of either approval or denial.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,
    A spouse of disabled worker must either have a child under age 16 or a disabled adult child in his or her care, or be at least 62 years old to draw dependent benefits.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Shakeema,

    A date of disability being established is good in that it means it has been determined that you are disabled. As long as the date is within a period of time when you were still insured for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, your claim will be approved. And if your claim is for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the established date would be an indication of approval as long as your income and resources (assets) are withing the SSI limits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Wased54,

    When you have your next continuing disability review (CDR), all your physical and mental conditions will be considered. For best documentation of your conditions, you should stay under the care of a psychiatrist or psychologist and a doctor for your back condition. Getting a residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation before your next CDR would make good documentation of your back issues; however, it may be a combination of conditions that is resulting in continuing benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Becky Garrett,
    I can’t say for sure how long it will take but once it’s in printing status, you should be hearing soon.

  • Dear Shakeema Lynch,
    If the judge approves your SSDI claim with an established onset date of May 31, 2013, you would become eligible for benefits starting in November of 2013. That is because there is a 5 month waiting period for SSDI benefits.

  • Dear Jamie Dale Smithwick,
    It is certainly to your advantage to have a lawyer representing your wife. He might want you to testify on her behalf at the hearing. I don’t know enough to give an opinion but wash you the best of luck.
    Sincerely,
    Ruth Dobbins

  • Dear wased54,
    I’m Ruth Dobbins, a new moderator on this site. I’m glad you have made it through your first continuing disability review. It is true that age 55 is a critical age in evaluating the vocational aspects of disability claims. This will help ease your mind about a future review.

    The short form you referred to is only used in cases where the beneficiary is never expected to improve. These cases usually have a re-exam diary 5 years or more in the future at the time of the favorable decision.
    Sincerely,
    Ruth Dobbins

  • Dear Ron,

    That means that the decision letter was written; was sent to the judge , who found errors and sent it back to be edited (corrected); and was edited and sent back to the judge for a second review and signature.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Ron

      Thank You hope I will be approved little confused because my hearing was held at the ODAR office but the status online show hearing and the local security office

      • Dear Ron,

        You are welcome. It is a bit confusing. It is hard to tell whether the claim has been approved or the hearing office wants the local office to get some information from you such as clarification of work activity before the judge reaches a decision. You should be able to get clarity by calling the hearing office.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Ron,

    The hearing decision letter may have been mailed and on the way to you. You can call the hearing office to confirm this. If your application was also for SSI, the file being sent to the local office could be a sign of approval, assuming the decision has been made.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lise,

    It could still take a couple months to get a decision. I suggest that you allow time for the records to get through the mail and another three days or so for them to get them logged in and to the claims examiner. Then call to make sure that he or she got them; that will call attention to the fact they have come in and might move the claim along a little faster than otherwise.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Lise

      Ok thank you.I faxed them over in june 22 . i spoke to my examiner and he said he received them. Should I wait a few weeks to call again

      • Dear Lise,

        Yes, that would be a good idea.

        Kay

  • Dear Wased54,

    It is true that being age fifty-five does move you into different criteria in the evaluation of whether or not you can work in a new occupation; however, your current continuing disability review will be based on your condition now. That said, because you have had very little improvement in the past three years, have regular care from a physician who believes you cannot work, and have a narrow work history, it is likely that you will be approved for continuing benefits and that the next review would be at least three years out.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    With a low Social Security Disability benefit of $416, you are probably not insured for dependent benefits; so your son probably will not receive a benefit. You, however, may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to supplement your SSDI.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Larry,

    The judge will consider the vocational expert’s (VE’s) testimony and other evidence in your claim file. If the judge finds that the information in your file supports the limitations you are claiming and that the VE considered in offering the opinion that you couldn’t work, your claim will be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, and thank you.

  • Dear Mesha,

    The guideline is for the judge to get a decision to you within sixty days; however, it often takes longer. You can call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in the post-hearing appeal process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    Letter writing times vary a great deal from one hearing office to another, from a couple weeks to a couple months. I suggest that you call the hearing office and ask whether they can give you an average or typical time for a claim to go through letter writing in their office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kelly,

    Apparently you did not speak at the hearing. You might send a letter to the judge explaining that your attorney quit on the Friday before the hearing and the substitute attorney wasn’t familiar enough with your claim or medical conditions and that you would like to call the judge’s attention to the neuropsychological report that is in your claim file.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Marcia.

  • Dear Marcia,

    Accordingly to the routing information in Social Security’s POMS, which is an operational manual, hearing denials do not go back to the local office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ricky,

    If the employee said this is what would happen with your claim, not what it would happen if approved, then I’d say it was a hint.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mel,

    The letter should arrive any time now because you would not be told the appeal was approved if the letter was not finalized. (Usually, they don’t give out the decision by phone at all.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Shakeema.

  • Dear Candace,

    If you are no longer receiving LTD, you can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) by filing an application in a local office. Let them know that your SSDI claim is waiting for a hearing date. The SSI claim is likely to be joined with the SSDI claim for the judge to rule on both.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Alicia,

    You can submit anything while the record is still open waiting for what the judge requested. However, a report saying that you can stand only five minutes at a time might not be relevant to your ability to do a job sitting down as the vocational expert said you could do. If you have any limitations that would keep you from sitting, I suggest submitting a question to the vocational expert via the hearing office asking whether hypothetically you could do the jobs she identified if you had limitations on working seated an/or working regularly throughout a month, such as missing work frequently or needing breaks from sitting. I am not saying you have those limitations, I am just offering examples.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Steven,

    I suggest that you request a copy of your claim file and the hearing transcript and then consult with an experienced Social Security attorney to help you assess whether or not you could be successful with an Appeals Council review. The review will be to see whether the judge did not follow procedures or the law correctly. If he did, in fact, ignore (not address your physician’s opinions in the decision) that could be a basis for your claim being approved or remanded for a second hearing. Appeals Council reviews can take a year or more; the advantage is if you are approved, you may have a large amount of back pay due you.

    If you are applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI), a new claim will only be viable if you were still insured for SSDI on the day after the date on the hearing denial letter. The reason is you have to be disabled on the date of disability claimed and you cannot claim a date that was already denied and not appealed and the judge’s decision included all dates to the date of the letter. If you are applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), no insured status is required.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ohms Law,

    How long the decision has pended is not an indicator of either approval or denial. Hopefully the judge will review the letter quickly. If so, you’d have it within a couple weeks, assuming it does not need correction.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Marcia,

    Different routing applies to different kinds of claims and whether or not the hearing decision is an approval or a denial. Social Security Disability (SSDI) medically approved claims are sent to the payment center although the local office may contact you to provide some additional information or to apply for dependents. SSI medically approved claims are sent to the local office. Denied claims are sent to a holding center in Missouri.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ricky,

    The process that the employee described to you is correct if your claim has been approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Susan,

    The guideline is for the decision to go out within sixty days; however, it can take less or more time. If you haven’t gotten a decision within sixty days, you can call the hearing office to get a status.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    Your attorney’s question and the vocational expert’s answer is favorable to your claim. If the judge finds that the information in your claim file supports a need for the breaks you are claiming you must have, then you would have a good chance for approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michael,

    Regardless of the medical conditions that formed the basis of the approval of your claim, the only workers compensation that will count in the offset calculation is workers comp that is paid for months that overlap with SSDI eligibility months. So if your established date of disability is in 2014, the workers comp from 2012 and 2013 would not be included in the offset.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michael,

    You may be right if your monthly workers comp was more than your Social Security; however, you will not know until you are sent the offset computation. The limit in total benefits is 80% of Average Current Earnings. Also, usually workers compensation offsets against dependent benefits first before offsetting against the disabled worker’s benefit.

    Social Security has a complex rules for determining what Average Current Earnings are. They state the following in the Social Security Handbook:

    “Average current earnings” is the highest of:

    Your average monthly wage upon which your un-indexed disability primary insurance amount is based (see Chapter 7);

    Your average monthly earnings from covered employment and self-employment during the highest five years in a row after 1950; or

    Your average monthly earnings based on the single calendar year of highest earnings from covered employment. This single calendar year can be the year that your disability began or any of the five years immediately proceeding the year your disability began.

    “Covered” employment (also known as covered wages, or covered service) is employment on which Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes are paid.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Victoria,

    It would appear that after the judge reviewed everything including the medical expert’s statements that you could not work, he or she may have questioned the medical expert’s opinion and decided to get vocational testimony. The judge should send the vocational expert’s (VE’s) response to you for review and possible rebuttal. If the VE identifies occupations you can perform with the limitations the judge listed and you think you can’t do to other limitations or you think the VE didn’t properly consider one of the listed limitations, you can respond by asking the VE additional questions. If you have an attorney, the attorney will help with this.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Marcia,

    I think the employee was just telling you the process of what will happen; I don’t think it was an indication of approval. If it is with the decision writer, the judge has made a decision, but we can’t tell what it is.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ohms Law,

    You are moving toward getting a decision, which is good. As you describe your condition and details of the hearing, it seems you have a reasonable chance for approval. If you are about to be evicted or are at risk for foreclosure on your home, you can submit a statement of dire need and it might speed up the letter writing process. If that is the situation, you can submit the same letter to your local office after medical approval to hopefully speed up payment a little. If food is an issue, consider applying for SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) at your local county or state social services office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Anna,

    I assume your attorney meant that the judge followed the usual procedures. I do not think his comment implied either an anticipated approval or denial. To know more, you will have to ask your attorney what he meant.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Marcia,

    It’s hard to tell what the employee was trying to communicate. For one thing, it is odd that she first said it was pending with the decision writer and then that it was being sent out because in between, the judge has to look at the letter and sign off on it. That said, if you applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the information could be a hint.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Yes, that is correct.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    I am not certain why the judge wants the records from your procedure that will be done tomorrow. Your attorney might have better insight.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michael,

    The adult who has custody of the two children who do not live with you should apply for the benefits for those two children. When you apply for the two of whom you have custody, provide the name and contact information for the custodial parent of the other two.

    Overlapping bi-weekly workers comp will be counted in the month for which it was paid. If the lump sum settlement does not define the period of time the settlement is intended to cover, SSA will prorate it out over a period of time assigning a certain amount to each month based on regulations. The monthly amount of WC whether actual or prorated and your SSDI will be added together and if the two are more than 80% of your average monthly earnings, first your children’s benefits will be reduced. If the offset (reduction) is more than the dependents benefits, the remainder will cause a reduction in your benefit.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    You should be able to locate one by searching for a disability benefit calculator on Social Security’s site, http://www.ssa.gov; however, it is more likely for use in figuring monthly benefits not back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Becky,

    The fact that the judge wrote the decision the same day is a sign that he or she is on top of the workload, not a sign of what the decision might be.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michael,

    Given that your senator is involved and the hearing has been expedited so far, I would expect you to get a decision within weeks rather than months. If you are approved, it usually takes a couple months to get payments started, especially with workers compensation involved, and longer to get back pay. You can resubmit the dire need letter to the local office for submission to the payment center. If your disability is well documented from the point that you went off work onto workers compensation, your disability date will likely go back that far; however, payment is limited to twelve months before application.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Retroactive benefits are benefits paid for months before application. Back pay is technically pay for months between application and the month before monthly benefits begin.

    The calculator you used does not appear to have come form the Social Security website and it is using the terminology differently. That said, the month benefits will begin to accrue as shown in the calculator is correct–July 2014, twelve retroactive months before application. The total number of months from July 2014 through May 2017 is thirty-five and includes both retroactive and back pay months.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    I suggest that you be sure that you connect with your attorney as soon as possible. Start by calling the attorney’s office first thing Monday morning and pointing out that the hearing is on Wednesday. Ask when and how you are going to be prepared for the hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear David,

    It is unlikely that you are being discriminated against; it is more likely that some other factor is slowing down getting a decision. I suggest that you submit a statement of dire need to the hearing office based on being homeless. It could get your claim moving again. If the children are homeless with you or are separated from you do to your lack of income, mention that as well. Keep a copy to resubmit to the local office if your claim is approved medically.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Debbie,

    The guideline to get a decision is sixty days, but it often takes longer. You can call the hearing office to find out the status of your claim in the post-hearing appeal process. That way, you can check to be sure that it is still in process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Jezebel. Thank you for the update.

  • Dear Humble Dee,

    I think you may be partially correct in that the hearing level decisions seem to be decision and possibly the reconsideration level also, but I have seen both languages for initial claims. (I have tried unsuccessfully to get an explanation from SSA.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jezebel,

    I have not been able to ascertain when one set of language is used rather than another, but it does not appear to be related to which program. My theory is that they are supposed to mean different things but are not always correctly applied. You will know soon and you might share with our readers what the decision was as remind us of what your status said.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Jezebel Jones

      Thanks. Yes, I’ll come back and share. It’s really helpful to read others’ experiences.

  • Dear Michael,

    It would be unusual to get the approval letter within two weeks. The only way you could get payment right away would be if you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in which case, you might be able to get a limited amount as an emergency advance payment. One thing that could help the situation is if you do get an approval letter before the eviction, you could show the approval to the landlord and possibly get an extension based on your getting back pay you could use to catch up your rent.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Paris,

    It could easily take thirty days to get your medical records and then everything would have to be reviewed and after the decision is made, a decision letter written. So, it is quite possible that you will not get a decision until August. If you do not hear anything by July, you can call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in the post-hearing process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Laura,

    The hearing letter writing department must be quite backed up.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • tekesha johnson

    I had an hearing date on 3/15/2017 with the Judge and I still have not heard anything from them they sent me something a 2weeks ago it was info from the doctors office to make sure it was correct the said I have 90days to hear something this has been going on for 4years and they didn’t have any info updated only what I told them when I went to see the judge I just want to make sure they had everything they needed from my daughters schooling and don’t ask for it at the last minute I was told he reviewed the case a 2nd time on 5/06/2017 do you think everything is gonna come out ok?

    • Dear Tekesha,

      When you go to a hearing, you have the responsibility of submitting medical records you want considered before the hearing date. It is good that the judge held the hearing record open and requested what you did not submit. If you think something is missing, now would be your last opportunity to submit it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • You are welcome, Fran.

  • You are welcome.

  • Dear Always Tired,

    If you have an attorney, the attorney likely has it. You might try searching the Internet for ODAR and the city. Also, the Social Security call center (1-800-772-1213) may be able to tell you.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shirley,

    If the letter says the exact dollar amount the attorney will be paid, then that would be a sign of approval. If not, the letter may be informational only. If you don’t understand it, you can ask for an explanation from either the local Social Security office or your attorney.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear David,

    I suggest that you file a statement of dire need, explaining that you have been evicted and the circumstances in which you and your children are living. Submit proof of assertions if you have it, for example, the eviction order.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Brandon.

  • Dear Roy,

    If you earned less than $1,130 gross per month in 2016 and less than $1,170 in 2017, you would not be performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) and the work probably would not keep you from having eligibility reinstated and having back benefits paid.

    If you did perform SGA by earning at or above the amounts shown above, the situation is different. If you reported the work at the hearing and you are being approved regardless, the months of work will be applied to a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits can be paid in full to medically disabled people. If you are granted a TWP, you will be eligible for an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) which begins after the TWP and lasts thirty-six months. During the EPE, you will not be eligible for any benefits for the months in which you performed SGA. On the other hand, if you did not report the work, as soon as you have the approval letter, you can then report the work and ask to have it applied to a TWP and EPE. You can read more about work incentives in the Red Book including about Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE’s), which can be used to reduce earnings when counting up earnings to evaluate for SGA. The Red Book is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Brandon,

    Your SSDI claim will be sent to a central payment center, where they will double check that you were insured on the date of your established date of disability, apply any offsets you might have for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (see below), workers compensation, or public pension. They will calculate and authorize payment. this can take two months or more.

    Your local Social Security office will calculate and authorize SSI payment. They will contact you for a financial update so that benefits can be calculated for past months. Usually you will be paid within a month of the update interview and submission of any requested documents.
    The SSDI benefit calculation will not be completed until SSI calculation has been completed. Typically SSI back pay is paid in up to three installments six months apart and the first two will not exceed $2,205. However, if after your Social Security starts you are no longer eligible for SSI, you can request the remaining SSI installments to be released. SSDI back benefits will be reduced by the amount of SSI benefits payable for the months in which SSDI and SSI eligibility overlap. Award letters are released about the same time as the benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    If you are not also receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there are no rules about spending or saving your SSDI back pay. You could save it all if you wanted. If you are getting SSI ongoing, any amount you save will count toward the $2,000 ($3,000 if you are married and living with your spouse) SSI resource limit beginning with the ninth month after you receive the back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    I suggest that you look up the average wait time for a hearing in your area by going to https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html. If you have been waiting as much as three months longer than the average, then you could contact your congressperson. Sometimes a congressional inquiry will speed things up a bit. Another option if you are in danger of being evicted or having your home foreclosed on would be to submit a statement of dire need.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tia,

    I don’t know how often it occurs, but I think it depends on the purpose of the call. When additional evidence is being offered, it would be appropriate.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Tia.

  • Dear Tia,

    Posts are not visible until they are reviewed and answered if a reply is called for. Please see my response to your first post. Weekly appointments, if they would require you to be absent from work, might strengthen your claim. Additional information in itself may not lengthen the time, but the judge getting back to the claim to review it could be a factor.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Catherine,

    It is best to follow your attorney’s advice. However, usually calling for a hearing status does not get a person to the judge’s office, but rather to an administrative person in the general clerical section of the office. (It may be different when an attorney calls.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Tia Free

    Dear Kay
    I’ve tried to reply to my previous post twice and it disappeared. I found out last week that I have to start going to a clinic once a week for blood work because I’m now on coumadin. I also have to go to a Cardiologist now. Other than those two doctors there are several other specialists that I see. So that means multiple doctor visits.I called my attorney and he said that there was no need and Reporting the new information to the law judge because my hearing had already come and gone. But I took matters into my own hands and called the office that the judge is in anyway. I spoke to the lady that works alongside the judge that did my hearing and she said that I done right by calling them. The lady told me that I should write the judge a letter telling her the new information on my claim. So I done so plus sent her notes from my doctor as evidence. My question is will the judge have to consult a vocational expert again on the new information? Also, will this prolonge my decision. And do you think this will make my chances better for me to win?

    • Dear Tia,

      If the more recent medical information shows your condition is more serious or as serious as you have claimed and/or strengthens proof of the limitations you have been claiming or adds more limitations, it could be helpful. Given that the vocational expert already said that there were no jobs you can do, the judge probably won’t ask for more testimony. However, if he does, the testimony will be forwarded to your attorney for review, comment, or rebuttal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Catherine,

    Check with your lawyer’s office and ask whether they have any objection to your calling the hearing office for a status. If you call, the clerk will tell you where your claim is in the post-hearing appeal process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vanessa,

    Contact Social Security and ask them to request a DirectExpress card for you. Alternatively, you could take your next paper check to the bank and set up a bank account and direct deposit.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Regina,

    It may take as much as sixty days for the judge to formalize the decision, for the decision letter to be written, for the judge to review and sign the letter to be sent to you. Then it can take another month or two for monthly benefits to start and longer to get any back benefits that are due. The main reason for the long wait periods is understaffing and resulting backlogs of claims waiting their turns to be processed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jodi,

    The judge may not have asked the vocational expert any questions because your medical records either indicate a severe condition so an approval is possible without vocational testimony or your medical records indicate a minor condition so that the claim could be disapproved without vocational testimony. If you are denied and you truly believe you cannot work in any occupation you are qualified for, the lack of testimony could be a basis for appeal. I don’t know what the hearing office employee was trying to convey is saying everything was going smoothly.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Questions1,

    The information you received indicates that the judge has not yet made a decision on your appeal. The judge may not have asked the vocational expert any questions either because your medical records and testimony establish either that you have a severe condition that allows approval or your condition lacks severity and thus does not require vocational input.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dawn,

    I can’t give you an estimate; however the person you spoke to said usually 120 days for that hearing office, so for you that would be mid-May. If you don’t hear anything by the end of May, I suggest calling again. It won’t speed anything up, but it be helpful to you to know where it is in the process. Currently, the judge’s decision is being written up into a letter; then the judge will read and sign it or send it back to have any errors corrected before he or she signs.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tia,

    It could go either way, but if the judge decides that your claim file contains enough evidence to support the limitations that you are claiming, the vocational expert’s testimony could result in an approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Amanda,

    The guideline is for a decision to be mailed out withing sixty days but it often takes longer. You can call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in the post-hearing appeal process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tia Free,

    Looks like you posted your question twice. Please see my response to your first post.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tia Free,

    Needing more medical to consider approving the claim might be the reason for getting the additional records, or it could be that the judge wanted to better document that you continue to be disabled.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Catherine,

    I suggest that you call the hearing office to get a status report on your appeal. You should have gotten a decision by now. If they say they sent out the decision so long ago that you should have gotten it, ask them to put you on record as reporting that you did not get the decision letter and ask for replacement. If the replacement letter is a denial, keep the envelope to show when it was mailed to you and go to the local office to go on record there that you did not receive the original letter to protect your right to appeal should you wish to do so. If the judge has not yet made the decision, ask whether the hearing office can do anything to check to be sure the appeal has not fallen through the cracks. If needed ask to speak to the judge’s clerk about the delay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joselin,

    I think she was saying the judge has not made a decision. The other possibility is that the judge made the decision and the letter has been written and sent back to him for review and signature after which the decision would be sent out.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, again.

  • Dear Jeff,

    If your claim is approved without a hearing, the approval has to include the approval of the disability date your claimed, so you would have back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ricky,

    Based on your prior post and the information you just provided, it is possible that the letter was written and sent back to the judge for review and signature; but it is hard to tell because the information you got is a bit vague.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michelle,

    Please keep in mind that my suggestion of what might have happened is just a supposition, not a statement of fact. Maybe he didn’t have time to look it up when you called. We can’t really know the reason.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shawntrese,

    It sounds as if your claim has been medically approved. The “proof of income letter” could be an award letter with benefit amounts or, if you applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it could be a letter asking you to provide a financial update so your SSI benefits can be calculated.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Bill,

    All decision letters go back to the judge for review and signature. If there are any errors in the letter, it will be sent to be edited and will go back to the judge again. The delay is not a sign of what the decision will be; the letter is probably just waiting for the judge to get to it; many hearing offices are quite backlogged.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Laurie,

    Generally speaking neither you or your attorney can speed up the process. It is likely that the judge is behind in getting decisions out to due to a large workload resulting in a backlog.

    Sincerely,

  • Dear Michelle,

    I do not know why the attorney would not relate the agreement to you again unless he did not make a written note of it and doesn’t remember the date you agreed to.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Laurie,

    I do not know what your attorney intends to write. You can call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in the post-hearing appeals process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Thank you for the clarification. Usually they are within a couple hundred dollars either way from the estimate.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Laura,

    If both pieces of information you got are correct, it means that the letter writing department is very backed up and possibly also the judge, who will have to review and sign off on the letter when it has been prepared.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ricky,

    You can likely expect waiting a couple months after the additional records were submitted and it could be longer. You can call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in the post-hearing process and you can check to be sure the records were received.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michelle,

    You are being told that the judge is quite behind in his or her work and that you will have a long wait before you get the formal decision. The first person you talked to obviously made an error in the information given you; it’s not possible to know why.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Fran.

  • Dear Fran,

    If the appeal is with the letter writers, the judge has made a decision; however, it will not be finalized and will not be released by phone. When the letter has been prepared, the judge will review the letter for accuracy and sign off on it to be mailed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    I am not able to estimate your benefits. At this point, you will probably just have to wait for the determination.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ricky,

    The statement that the Social Security office would be in touch after you get the hearing decision sounds like a tip that your appeal is being approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Discuss with your attorney your idea of having your girlfriend testify. As you describe your condition, I would expect your appeal to be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    I am not able to help further beyond what I have; I can’t make a determination for sure that you are insured although from the information you provided, it has been determined that you are.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Melissa,

    Time frames for getting a hearing date are just estimates. If no hearing is scheduled by the end of the estimated average wait time, you just continue to wait. However, you might call the hearing office just make sure that notice was not sent to you that you did not receive.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Robin,

    The judge would not request vocational testimony if he or she decided that either your medical condition was so severe that your work history did not have to be considered to approve your claim or that your medical condition was clearly lacking severity and the claim could be denied. At the hearing level, the former is more likely. If you are denied, the lack of testimony could be grounds for appeal.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    I did not analyze the list of earnings you sent; however, if you did not get an insured-status denial right after you applied, it means that you were insured on the date of disability you claimed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome.

  • Dear Sue,

    If you accepted the later date of disability onset, your claim is likely to be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Candace,

    The language at the end of the letter means exactly what it said. Preliminary review of your claim file indicates the possibility of your claim being approved without a hearing. When the reviewing attorney receives the requested medical records, either your claim will be approved or your appeal will go back in line to wait for a hearing, which likely would not be any earlier than average.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear LeRoy,

    You should be able to engage another attorney if the attorney believes that the judge made procedural errors. I suggest that you quickly request a copy of your claim file and the transcript of the hearing so you can provide detailed information to the prospective new attorney. Check with the attorney, but I don’t think poor legal representation can be the basis for an Appeals Council appeal.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ann,

    If the judge meant four to six months to get the decision letter, that means that the hearing office’s letter preparation department is terribly backed up. I wonder if he meant the whole process of getting his decision plus your claim being reviewed for non-medical factors and set up for payment. To clarify, you might call the hearing office to ask the average time a decision is in letter writing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Grandma,

    I do not know what the judge may be requiring; however, I recommend that you follow the instructions you were given.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mark,

    If the judge court ordered (subpoenaed) the records, the clinic will have to produce them if they exist. I suggest that you discuss strategies with your attorney on what to do if the records are in fact lost. For example, will the counselor write up a summary of your condition and treatment over the period in question.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shay,

    Unless you are in danger of homelessness or have some other dire need situation, there really aren’t options for speeding up the hearing date. I would say though, that if you have not already, you should get a copy of your child’s claim file to see the exact reasons for the denial and to check to see if any medical records are missing.

    I would also suggest hiring an attorney to help you present your son’s medical condition as it relates to the definition of childhood disability and how it is evaluated. 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 your son is approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount the attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your son’s back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary,

    Your claim will be sent to the payment center for calculation and authorization of benefits. This can take a couple months or longer.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Chantel,

    You appear to have asked the same question twice. Please see my reply to your first posting.

    Thank you,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Ruth.

  • Dear Chantel,

    If the judge finds that your medical file has objective evidence to support the limitations that you and your doctor are claiming you have, your claim should be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ruth,

    I suggest calling the hearing office again and asking what needs to be done to call the judge’s attention to the decision writer’s question and also ask for the date that the writer sent the inquiry to the judge. If they can’t give a satisfactory answer, I recommend contacting B & B and asking them to send a letter to the judge to call the judge’s attention to the need to provide clarification to the decision writer stating how long ago the writer requested clarification. (At this point trying to switch attorneys to get help could just create more confusion.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lins,

    I am not able to estimate your Social Security benefit, but I would expect it to be fairly low because your earnings have been low in all years but one. Benefits would begin to accrue the later of your sixth full-calendar month of disability or twelve months before application, which is December 2013.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Aisline,

    If your husband has been denied three times on a single claim, his appeal is with the Appeals Council and a hearing will be involved only if the Council remands (sends back) the claim to the judge for more investigation. If the claim has been remanded, I would expect the second hearing to come up soon. On the other hand, if his claim is waiting for a first hearing, it can take up to two years to get a date. You can check on the average wait time in your husband’s hearing office by going to https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary,

    Given your age, you have a reasonable chance of being approved if you cannot perform work you have done in the past, unless you are highly educated or have strong transferable skills for an occupation that you can do with your physical limitations.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Chenetter,

    If you were approved for SSI (Supplemental Security Income), the local office authorizes payment and apparently your claim got off track. It should have been paid in December or early January at the latest. If you were actually approved for Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), a central payment center reviews your claim, calculates benefits, and authorizes payment. If the request for immediate payment is approved, you should get payment directly from the local office within a week and you can make arrangements to pick up the check.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    The calculator you used gives you an estimate. It is not the exact amount because it is based on an estimate of your monthly benefit. Also, the back pay calculated was through March 2017 and by the time your claim is processed and paid the back pay will include more months. This all means that the amount shown you is not the exact amount you will get.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary,

    Given your age and how you describe your medical conditions, I’d say that you have a reasonable chance for approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    The beginning date of the back pay, July 2014, is correct because back pay is limited to twelve months before the date of application. The rest is an estimate. The actual amount of and last month of back pay could be different.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Greg,

    If your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) was denied because you were found not disabled, your Social Security Disability (SSDI) is likely to be denied as well. The only way it would be approved would be a partial approval for a closed (limited) period of time that ended before you filed your SSI claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary,

    Without information about your health, age, and work history and a bit about what transpired at the hearing, I am unable to offer an opinion on whether you are disabled according to Social Security law.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    It starts on the first day of the sixth full calendar month of disability. If your established onset is January 5, 2013 and you applied at least by July 2014, your benefits would be July 2013. If you applied on February 5, 2013 and you applied at least by August 2014, your benefits would start August 1, 2013.

    Sincerely,
    Kayu

  • Dear Kimmie,

    If you were approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), your SSDI claim will be sent to a central payment center, where they will double check that you were insured on the date of your established date of disability, apply any offsets you might have for SSI (see below), workers compensation, or public pension. They will then calculate and authorize payment. this can take two months or more.

    If you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your local Social Security office will calculate and authorize SSI payment. They will contact you for a financial update so that benefits can be calculated for past months. Usually you will be paid within a month of the update interview and submission of any requested documents.

    If you were approved for both, SSDI benefit calculation will not be completed until SSI calculation has been completed and the two-month time frame starts after SSI payment has been authorized. SSDI back benefits will be reduced by the amount of SSI benefits payable for the months in which SSDI and SSI eligibility overlaps. Typically SSI back pay is paid in up to three installments six months apart with the first two not exceeding $2,205. However, if after your Social Security starts, you are no longer eligible for SSI, you can request the remaining SSI installments to be released.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Heather,

    There is no special form to request acceptance of a late appeal. The request for a hearing is done on an SSA-501 and you can put “see attached request for acceptance of the delayed filing” on the form; then attach the request and the explanation of why you are filing late.

    I suggest that if you appeal you also get a copy of your claim file so that you can see the exact reasons for the denial and the evidence it was based on. That will provide information about what evidence is missing and what arguments need to be made.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    The five-month waiting period starts with the month after you became disabled unless you became disabled on the first of a month in which case the waiting period starts with the month of disability onset. This means that benefits begin to accrue either in the sixth month or twelve months before application, whichever is later. However, payment will not begin right after the judge makes a decision because it takes a while for the medical approval to be processed, non-medical factors to be reviewed and benefits to be calculated and authorized. For Social Security, that usually means a couple months; for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it usually means about a month or a little more after you receive the hearing approval letter.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sharon,

    Yes, approval decisions can be made in six weeks.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Sharon.

  • Dear Kimmie,

    Getting the decision letter is taking quite a long time in some hearing offices. You might try asking the hearing office what is an average time for their office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear George,

    If you are approved, your benefits will be based on your current claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sharon,

    The post hearing process is for the judge to consider the testimony at the hearing and the information in the claim file and make a decision and then for the decision to written up in a letter for the judge to sign. You can call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in that process. The guideline for you to get the decision is sixty-days but it is just a guideline and it can take less or more time.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Heather,

    If your attorney did not file the appeal, you can try to file the appeal late and include a request for acceptance of late appeal on the basis that your attorney failed to file on your behalf and that you just found out that the hearing request was not filed and not pending as you thought it was.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimmie,

    The guideline for getting a decision after a hearing is sixty days, but sometimes it takes longer. You can call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in the post-hearing process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary,

    You have not provided any information about your medical conditions, your age, your work history, or the testimony at the hearing, so I am unable to offer an opinion on whether or not your claim will be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Raven.

  • Dear Jose,

    Payment would be based on your new application. If the claim is for Social Security Disability, it would be limited to twelve months prior to application and for those twelve months to be paid, you would have to be determined to have a disability onset date seventeen months before application. The onset date would be the date that your medical records supported, so you might discuss with your attorney what onset date he thinks is viable given the medical documentation you now have.

    Also, for SSDI, you have to still be insured at the time of the established onset date. If you are still insured now, that would not be a problem; but if insured status has ceased, you would have to claim an onset date before your insured status ended and the date would have to be after the last denial as well.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Raven,

    You are being informed that the medical decision has been made but the status does not tell you whether the decision was an approval or denial. People are reporting both after receiving this status. You should have more information within a week or ten days.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    Everyone who is giving you information is estimating, even the judge, so it is a wait-and-see situation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Marie,

    Absence of an audio will not result in an automatic remand and it does place a greater burden on you to be as specific as possible when relating what was erroneous about the hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Raven.

  • Dear T.,

    Your cousin is receiving a benefit called Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB), which her father earned for her with his work and the Social Security taxes he paid. CDB are paid to unmarried people who become disabled prior to age twenty-two whose parents are receiving Social Security or are deceased. The amount being paid is based on her father’s earnings history.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear T.,

    All hearing decisions–approvals and denials–are written up into a letter. This is done in a letter-writing section of the hearing office. Some individuals who write into Disability Advisor have misunderstood resulting in their referring to “underwriters,” . Underwriters is a private insurance term and not applicable to the Social Security claim or appeal process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear T.,

    Your question and your reply is posted under the article “How long does it take to get a hearing decision and to start collecting Social Security Disability benefits?” which is under the Hearing tab at the top of this webpage.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Anxious,

    The status is not likely to change until the letter is sent out.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Raven,

    The employee you talked to was probably referring to the judge approving the letter and signing it. And, yes, the judge approves both favorable and unfavorable decision letters.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joe,

    You probably would not lose place in line waiting for a hearing date, however, it is possible that your lawyers are not licensed to practice law in Florida. The normal procedure is for your claim and your hearing to be transferred to a field office and to a hearing office in Florida. You ;might, however, be allowed to keep your hearing in Wisconsin and travel to the hearing or have a video hearing. I suggest you discuss with your attorney whether you could petition to have the hearing remain in Wisconsin on the grounds that the move is temporary and you do not want to change attorneys.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Dee.

  • Dear Raven,

    The online status is general and often there is a lag in updating especially when a hearing is involved. It will continue to say “processing” until the hearing decision is actually mailed to you. The letter writing process can take from a couple weeks to a couple months or more. You might call you hearing office to find out the average length of time it takes in that particular office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Samantha,

    It is unusual for a judge to call an attorney to say that a decision had been reached but maybe your attorney had inquired. Decisions are not given out over the phone. I would assume that the judge had already signed off on the letter or he would not have said you would receive it within a week. Just in case your letter went astray, I suggest that you check with the attorney to see if he got a copy of the letter. If not, you can call the hearing office to double check the status. If may be that the judge misspoke and that the letter is still being prepared.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Humble Dee,

    I suggest that you discuss the situation with your attorney, but I would say that your claim is moving more toward approval than denial because of the judge not getting any vocational testimony.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Discuss with your attorney the idea of having your girlfriend testify. He can tell you whether it is a good idea or not. Given that you are walking with a walker and have memory issues, I would think that you have a reasonable chance for approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Debb,

    Your son may qualify medically for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). I suggest that you file an application for him. Submit copies of all his testing and of his educational plans and other pertinent school records to support the claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Nate,

    Your claim could be with a writer, not an underwriter. If it is with a writer, that would mean that a decision has been made. If you have not had a remand hearing and a decision has been made, it has to be an approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    Some people say to wear a suit and tie, but I believe that being neat and clean is sufficient. What you describe should be fine. (I don’t recommend blue jeans.) Just be honest; don’t exaggerate your symptoms and limitations, but don’t understand them either. If you don’t understand a question, say so. Or if you need to have a question repeated, ask. If you are very nervous, you can say that, to preface your answer. If you have an attorney ask for tips from him or her as well.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Johns,

    With the additional information your provided, my response is different from my earlier reply. It may be the judge is new to working as an ALJ for Social Security and that his decisions are subject to a review before being finalized. Or, maybe the person you spoke to was not being precise and the appeal was randomly selected for a quality assurance review. Either way, the decision of the judge you had at the hearing could be either an approval or a denial. Detailed letters go out on both.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kity,

    I think you may have misunderstood the status of the appeal. Probably the decision has been made and the letter has been written and is waiting for the judge to review it for accuracy and sign it. That would be normal procedure for both approvals and denials.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Valachia.

  • Dear Anthony,

    I would trust the opinion of your attorney, who is familiar with all the details of your case and who appears to be knowledgeable about the appropriate actions to take.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are very welcome, Valachia, and cheers to DisabilityAdvisor.com for making it all possible.

  • Dear Jennifer,

    It is true that you would still have a hearing scheduled if the review did not result in an approval without the need for a hearing. I suggest that you make an appointment to see your attorney, not the assistant, to get his or her opinion of requesting a “desk” review, which is a file review.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Valachia,

    You will be asked to provide information about your then current condition, your medical care and treatment and whether you have worked. The information will be used to determine whether you are still disabled at that time.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Valchia,

    If your children are eligible for benefits, they will be paid for the same months that you are.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Valachia,

    Monthly benefits usually start within two months and back pay follows sometimes a couple months later. With concurrent SSI and Social Security claims, it takes about two months after SSI has been paid.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear At the End of My Rope,

    I suggest that you and your loved one discuss the issues with your loved one’s lawyer. Specifically ask the attorney 1) to submit a dire need letter based on the threat of foreclosure to try to speed up the process; and 2) to get a copy of the claim file so that you and your loved one can see what may be missing from the file. Indicate that you will gather the missing medical information for the attorney to submit. (Or, if you know for sure certain medical is missing, get it and ask the attorney to submit it.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kali,

    Your claim has apparently been medically approved and non-medical information is needed to complete the claim process and to calculate and pay benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    It is possible that your request for reconsideration has been approved medically and the non-medical factors of eligibility and payment calculation are being reviewed for payment authorization. I suggest that you contact the local office to see if that is the situation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Constance,

    Please see all my earlier replies. If a question has not been answered, please ask it again.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dinah,

    It is likely that both claims have been denied because the medical requirements are the same for the the two programs. The only way the Social Security could be approved would be partially favorable with a closed (limited) period of disability that ended before you filed the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Brazzi,

    Please see my response to your first post.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Aggie,

    The request is routine in that work after an alleged disability date has to be evaluated and any compensation from which Social Security taxes were withheld (such as STD or sick or vacation pay) looks like work. It is likely that the requests were to document that the short-term disability payments and any salary you received from your employer after your claimed disability date did not represent compensation for work.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Constance.

  • Dear Je B0,

    I don’t know why the earlier actions on the claim no longer show, but the pre-hearing status would be a correct current status.

    The disability criteria for an adult is different than for a child, and the young adult has to be shown disabled now. That may be the reason there is no reference to earlier documentation. However, if you think some aspect of the claimant’s condition would be better understood if attention were paid to earlier medical or school evidence, you or your attorney can address that at the hearing and/or you can submit the evidence for current consideration.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    The general guideline for getting a decision after a hearing is sixty days. It is likely that the sixty days starts when the consultant’s report has been received; but in any event, the sixty days is only a guideline, not a guarantee.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dinah,

    For some reason, it seems that the status of both claims is rarely updated at the same time. It is likely that both were denied because the medical criteria is the same for both SSI and SSDI. The only way the SSDI could be an approval would be if the approved was for a closed (limited) period of disability that ended before you filed your SSI claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mee,

    It sounds as if your claim might be approved based on a file review rather than having to go to a hearing, but there is no way to know at this point. You can look up the average wait time for a hearing date by looking up the city where your hearing office is located at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mel,

    The guideline for getting a decision is sixty days, but sometimes it take longer. I suggest that you call the hearing office to find out where your claim is in the post-hearing processing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joseph,

    If your appeal is a hearing, it can take up to two years to get a hearing date. You can look up average wait times for your hearing office at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Valachia

      Hi Kay. Could you tell me if Someone  is awarded  back pay, does it also include your dependents, are children ?  Or,  do they add in your dependents  when you are paid back ?

      • Dear Valachia,

        The disabled person’s monthly benefits have to be calculated before the dependents benefits can be calculated. Occasionally children’s back pay will be issued before the disabled person’s back pay because offsets or other factors that apply to the disabled person’s benefits are not involved in the dependent benefits.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Precious,

    The information means that your medically approved claim has been sent to the payment center for review of all the non-medical aspects of your claim including double checking that you are insured for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, calculating benefits, applying any offsets such as workers compensation, and authorizing payment. When that has been completed, you will get payment and an award letter showing the amount of back pay, if any, and current benefits, payable to you. Note that monthly benefits will likely start before back pay is released.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Precious MrsNikki Moments

      Thanks this has been the longest journey and calling and going to the local office Is like pulling teeth to get information.. Now you saud said non-medical what does that mean
      My on-set date is November 2012 so I will be getting close to 4 years back pay plus I have a 13 year old that will get auxiliary benefits and I’m just finding out that he will get back pay and a monthly payments how does that work?

      • Dear Precious,

        The claims authorizer in the payment center will review your earnings record to double check the date you were last insured and compare that your established disability onset date to be sure you were still insured when you became disabled. Your application will be reviewed to be sure your date of birth and other data was entered into your computer claim record correctly. If you have or have had workers compensation benefits, certain government pensions, and/or SSI, offsets against (reduction of) your Social Security Disability (SSDI) will be calculated and all other payment factors will be reviewed. Then payment will be authorized. With four years of benefits, the amount due you will be quite large and will require multiple reviews and authorizations, so you can expect it to take a few months to get the back pay. Monthly payment should start within two months.

        With regard to auxiliary benefits for your children, if you have not already, you or their other parent will have to complete application for them and apply to be their representative payee. They will be paid for the same months that you are.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    You hired your attorney to be your representative, so your attorney can complete the forms except possibly the SSA-827 for release of your medical records. However, you should be sure that your attorney has all the information to correctly and fully provide the information requested on the forms.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Jeff Beach

      Thx, I was just getting advice I’m new to this all.. they have all the info already and I’ve also already signed a release for my records

  • Dear Jeff,

    The letter covers your limitations and should be favorable to your claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Jeff Beach

      So I should be approved.. and how do you know so much.. do u work for ssa

      • Dear Jeff,

        I cannot guarantee that you will be approved, but the letter from your doctor is quite favorable in content and how it is written. I do not work for the Social Security Administration, but I did work for the agency in the past as well as for a long-term disability insurance company.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Victoria,

    A decision on-the-record is made by the judge when the judge reviews the appeal and decides to approve without a hearing. In some hearing offices, a pre-review is taking place, done by attorneys. If they find that the claim should have been approved by the Disability Determination Services (DDS), they can approve the appeal.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joseph,

    The status is just saying your appeal has been sent to the hearing office, where it will likely sit for several months or more before anyone looks at it because appeals are worked up and prepared for the judge in the order received and most offices have a significant backlog.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jeff,

    I would say that you should get notification within a couple weeks of what your hearing date will be. The hearing date is usually about three weeks after the notification.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Jeff Beach

      So do you think I’ll have my date by the end of march… I’m hoping so this has been to long of a wait

      • Dear Jeff,

        Yes, I would think so.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Lilia,

    First you have to receive a written decision from the judge, which can take up to sixty days or more after the hearing; then another wait for payment to start, which usually takes a couple months but could be a bit faster given that there is supposed to be some fast tracking.

    I am not sure what you are referring to in saying that months will be take out of your back pay. Social Security Disability benefits begin to accrue the later of twelve months before the month you applied or the sixth full calendar month of disability, as established by Social Security.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Chad Calaway

    Dear Kay,

    I had my hearing on 2/1/17. Today the online system showed this as my status – Appeal Under Review. A medical decision has been made we are working to process your decision. A Social Security Representative may contact you or your appointed representative directly if we need additional documents or information.

    Can you tell me what this means?

    • Dear Chad,

      The decision has been made and you should get a letter soon with that decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Lindsay,

    You say that your friend pays the bills, which is an indication that she is capable of receiving her benefits directly (if she is at least age eighteen.) If she is of age, she can discuss the situation with her physician to see if the doctor agrees she is capable of handling her own money. If so, the doctor can complete an SSA-787 certifying capability. (The form is available online at http://www.ecpayee.org/uploads/8/8/7/4/8874367/doctor_statement_ssa_787.pdf.)

    If your friend is not an adult or the doctor will not sign an SSA-787 for capability for your friend to take to Social Security to file to be her own payee, you and she could go to Social Security and make a written statement of misuse of funds; and you can apply to be your friend’s payee, assuming you are of age. One thing to keep in mind is that if you or your friend receives the money, she or you needs to give her mother money for housing and food costs every month before money is spent on other items.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Brandie,

    Yes, time that has to be taken off work for medical treatment and medication side effects are considered in determining the ability to work and consistently perform substantial gainful activity.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    I can’t predict whether or not you will be approved. All information in your file should be considered by the judge, but I don’t know that a claims examiner previously recommending approval but not getting full sign off on it would affect the judge’s decision. I suggest that while you wait for your appeal to be reviewed and assigned that you request a copy of your claim file to review, so that you can see the exact reason for the prior denials and the evidence that is in file. That way if there are errors or omissions, you can submit any missing medical information as well as updating medical documentation since you requested the hearing and you can address the errors at the hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rooster,

    It is good that you sent the letter; hopefully the judge will consider it even though it was sent after the hearing record was closed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • rooster sideburbs

      I think she kept the record open for some medical records. I just remembered in the letter i didnt explain the 2nd job since i dont exactly know what a ticket taker means

  • Darlene Morton

    I called https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3fb7da2ff227fa05d24acb972a40a254cd588825f15bf038dfcdc711e56114e4.png SSa and was told a decision has been made and I should receive it in seven days. Does this mean I was denied?

    • Dear Darlene,

      Some people have reported approvals after getting the online status that you received, but others have reported denials, so the letter could be a denial letter or it could be a notification of medical approval possibly with a request for information or documents needed to determine payment amount.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Walter,

    Your decision letter being in editing is neither a good sign or a bad sign.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear S,

    If it has been thirty days since the attorney wrote a follow-up letter, you might call the hearing office to see if any progress has been made.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Very Confused,

    The guideline for getting a decision is sixty days, but it often takes longer. Your husband can call the hearing office to get a status on his appeal.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Constance L Pugh

      They said my records are with a writer and when I call no decision had been made

      • Dear Constance,

        The local office will say no decision has been made on your hearing appeal until the letter is written, signed, and mailed. The hearing office provides more detailed information. If they said the decision was made and in the letter writing department, that would be the correct information.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Vaughn,

    Please see my reply of earlier today to your first posting of this question.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vaughn,

    Your hearing decision has pended longer than average. I suggest that you call the hearing office to see whether a decision has been made and is in the letter writing phase or the appeal is still pending the judge’s decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Walter,

    The decision letter was written and given to the judge to review for accuracy; the judge found an error and sent the letter to be edited (corrected). It will then be returned to the judge for second review and signature. The letter will then be mailed to you.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Candace.

    Social Security’s definition of disability includes the inability to perform substantial gainful activity. Gainful activity is any work activity that is paid. Substantial gainful activity is work in which a person earns gross wages or net profit from self-employment of $1,170 or more per month.

    Social Security considers a person to be of advanced age at age fifty-five. Within the advanced age category is “closely approaching retirement age” beginning at age sixty with some differences in how the ability to work in another occupation is evaluated. Fundamentally, the evaluation is whether you have transferable skills and/or the ability to learn a new occupation on the job in an occupation that you can perform with your physical and/or mental limitations.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tony,

    I have not encountered a case in which a verbal approval has been given by a judge and then reversed in the written decision. The guideline for getting a decision to you is sixty days, but it can take longer.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jennifer,

    If you have not had a hearing and you have been told you will not get a hearing, your claim will be approved because you cannot be denied without a hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Samantha,

    If the judge finds that the information in your claim file supports that you have the limitations you claimed, your claim should be approved based on the vocational expert’s testimony.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rooster Sideburbs,

    Based on the vocational expert identifying two jobs you can perform, I would expect your claim to be denied.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear John,

    I will answer your questions in order.

    1. The judge will call not call on a vocational expert (VE) when the medical evidence supports the inability to perform substantial gainful activity at any level. In other words, approval is possible without any VE testimony.

    2. Any number of factors could have caused the delay: heavy workload with a lot of time spent in hearings; illness, vacations, backlogs.

    3. Estimated benefits will not show online when you have a medical approval and the claim or claims are waiting for payment calculation and release.

    4. SSI is usually paid more rapidly because it is authorized by the local office. In some circumstances, SSI eligibility overlaps with the five-month unpaid SSDI benefit waiting period. Also, SSI is not taxable and in your total income from all sources is high enough some or all of SSDI is taxable; this could particularly be true if all the back pay due came from SSDI. (SSDI back pay is reduced by SSI benefits paid for the same months.)

    5. The gambling win and loss will not affect your SSDI in any way. The win will count as income for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in the month your won it and likely make you ineligible that month, even though you lost it (spent it) in the same month it was received. You will need to submit both documents you referenced if you have an SSI claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rooster,

    Two occupations that you can perform is enough for you to be determined not disabled. I would expect that most claims with two identified occupations would be denied.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jodi,

    The wait time is from the date you requested the hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Leone,

    As you describe your history, your condition, and the hearing, I think it is likely you will be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mel,

    You are in a touchy situation in that you now have a legal representative, so technically your attorney is supposed to conduct all communication with the judge. What you might do is write up what you want to send in and ask your attorney to submit it with the other documentation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rooster,

    You can look up the occupations in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to see what the duties are. If then you think you cannot do those occupations, you could send the judge a letter saying which duties you can’t perform. Technically the judge does not have to consider anything submitted after the hearing, but he or she might consider what you send in anyway.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Valachia,

    To receive disability benefits an investigation and determination must be made as to whether you are physically or mentally disabled as defined by Social Security law. This involves getting your medical records and reviewing them and making a medical/legal decision about whether you are disabled.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tiffany,

    The guideline for the judge to issue the decision to you is sixty days but that could start from the date that the last evidence came in, and it is a guideline not an enforceable rule. If you are on the verge of becoming homeless, you can submit a dire need statement listing the reason for dire need and attaching proof of impending eviction or foreclosure. That might speed up getting the formal decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Becky,

    The guideline for a hearing decision is sixty days, but it can take longer. If you had the neck surgery after the hearing, you can submit the information about it. Technically, it doesn’t have to be considered unless the record was kept open waiting for it, but the judge might consider it anyway.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Shakeema.

  • Dear Trisha,

    Remand hearings are usually scheduled more quickly than first hearings, but I am not able to give you a time frame.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Trisha

      That’s what I’ve been told but it’s been one year since receiving federal remand letter . When I called they say it’s at a “special” office in Virginia waiting for scheduling. So now 12 + months and still waiting .

  • Dear Shakeema,

    I was out of the office for a while. Your question has now been answered.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Andrea,

    I can’t predict whether the wait times will increase. Your attorney is probably referring to requesting a favorable decision on the record (OTR) without a hearing. If this happens, it could shorten the time a little but not a lot because the review of the OTR request would also have to wait in line.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Valachia,

    Processing just means that your hearing decision is being worked on is waiting to be worked on. I suggest that you call the hearing office to find out where in the post-process the appeal is now. For example, has the judge made the decision and the letter is being prepared or is the appeal still awaiting a decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Josey,

    I am unable to give you an average time that appeals sit waiting for attention. Presumably because they say it is on the judge’s desk, the needed records have been received by the hearing office. If so, there is really nothing much you can do but wait.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Debbie,

    I suggest that you call the hearing office to ask the reason for the cancellation and whether the hearing has been rescheduled.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    If you have sent updated medical information about your recent cardiac care, there may be a possibility for an approval on the record without a hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Alicia,

    I believe the status is saying that the judge hasn’t made a decision on your appeal, but I suggest you call the hearing office to get clarification because four months is somewhat outside the norm of most decisions, which occur in the two to three month range. The office will be able to tell you the exact status.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Bahamian Mama,

    If the judge accepts that you have the limitations you claim; based on the vocational expert’s testimony, it is likely you will be approved. I suggest calling the hearing office to see whether the appeal has been assigned to a letter writer or perhaps the letter has been completed and is awaiting review and signature by the judge. Lastly, the sixty days is a guideline only and it can take longer to get a decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shawna,

    The status is likely to mean that your claim has been denied. If it is approved, please write back referencing the status language and the fact that you were approved.

    Thank you,
    Kay

  • Dear MM47,

    The vocational expert’s opinion is positive for your claim, so if the judge believes you have the limitations you claim, your appeal should be approved. The decision has to be written up in a manner that shows how the judge arrived at the decision and why it is a correct decision; this takes time. Additionally, much of the judge’s time is spent in court.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shawna,

    I would expect your claim to be denied based on the vocational expert’s opinion. And, yes, usually the reappearance of estimated benefits indicates a denial.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Scott,

    It is hard to say how the judge will rule. If he denies your claim, your attorney’s arguments if sound ones could be basis for appeal. For more opinion about the outcome of the hearing, I suggest you talk with your attorney.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tomika,

    The judge found errors in the letter, which is long and detailed and which could be either an approval or denial letter.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Daniel,

    Your father just needs to wait. The written decision is supposed to be sent out within sixty days of the hearing, although it can take longer. In the meantime, he can call the hearing office to see whether the decision has been sent to the letter writing department for letter preparation or is still awaiting the judge.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Susie.

  • Dear Sunshine12,

    Hearings can be very short and still result in an approval. If the vocational expert agreed that there were no jobs for you with your claimed limitations and the judge was largely accepting your limitations, the hearing could be quite short. Some attorneys let the judges to do all the questioning and others pose questions that will present the case in the best light. If the judge is left with no unanswered questions, he or she will not questions. It is not a bad thing that your anxiety and limited ability to cope were apparent. However, you might ask your attorney whether he or she knows what additional evidence is being developed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • SUNSHINE12

      Thank you. I was told the message is a standard online status message and no documents were needed.

      • Dear Sunshine,

        True, nothing is needed unless you receive a specific request.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Susie,

    Thank you for the information. Until you get the hearing letter, you cannot be certain that your claim has been approved, but the request for direct deposit information seems to indicate that it has been. I do not know what “non-disclosures” are, so they provide no clues I recognize.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lisa,

    No, it just means a decision was made and the letter was sent. While you wait for the letter, you can go online at http://www.ssa.gov to check the status; it might list the decision. If you haven’t done so, set up a “My Social Security” account. That will give you access the status updates.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jenn,

    In figuring out your strategy, consider that if you are denied and have to appeal, an Appeals Council review usually takes a year or more and can result in a remand back to the judge for another hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jane,

    If you have reason to believe the records will not make it to the hearing office, I suggest that you get them yourself and submit them or at least contact the doctors to be sure they were sent. It is unlikely they will be lost in the hearing office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Shakeema.

  • Dear Steven,

    I don’t know that you are within the norm, but it is not unusual for decisions to take longer than sixty days.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Steven,

    I don’t have enough information to know whether your appeal will be approved. The VA and federal civil service and Social Security all have different definitions of disability, but if you and your attorney think the hearing went well, then so far so good. The wait for a decision is quite variable and unpredictable. The guideline is for decisions within sixty days but some do take longer.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lisa,

    It means a decision has been made and it could be either an approval or a denial. Keep an eye out for the next status report, which will give you the decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Shakeema.

  • Dear Jeff,

    You can find out the average wait time for a hearing date by going to https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html and searching for your hearing office’s city.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jenn,

    Please see my response to your first posting about the same situation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    Everything goes step by step. The current step is that you have been assigned to a judge; that is probably what the letter is about. The next step will be to set a hearing date,unless your appeal happens to be approved on the record after the judge reviews your claim file.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    The fact that you will have a hearing date by March means that your claim has not been approved. The letter is probably telling you that a judge has been assigned.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Willie.

  • Dear Brandie,

    I think that the employee made a mistake. He would have no reason not to tell you if a judge had been assigned.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    The letter is either an approval on the record (OTR) or a request for more information. It cannot be a denial because you have not had a hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tameka,

    Whether or not you are disabled as defined by Social Security law depends on how severely you are limited by your cardiovascular disease. You must be unable to perform any occupation you could otherwise perform if you did not have medical limitations. Your age, education, work history, and transferable skills are considered in determining that ability or inability.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jenn,

    The length of time that a decision pends is not an indication or approval or denial. And, yes, the sixty days is just a guideline, and clock resets when there is a post hearing consultative examination. So, at this point there is no reason to expect a denial.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Willy,

    Your first step is to determine whether an error has actually been made. I suggest that you start with an explanation from Social Security and if it appears an error has been made, ask about the best way to get it corrected. I would think the attorney would refund it to SSA and SSA would reissue it to you.

    Here’s some general background information: If you were approved for both Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI)and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the attorney is entitled to 25% up to $6,000 from each benefit. Also, the percentage is based on the Social Security benefit before offset (reduction) for having received SSI benefits for the same months as SSDI. If were approved only for Social Security Disability and more than $6,000 was withheld, your attorney would have had to petition for more and have had that petition approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Cathy,

    The general guideline is for you to have a decision within sixty days; however, it can take longer. You can call the hearing office to see where your appeal is in the process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jenn,

    Processing just means that the claim has to be reviewed after the consultative examination report is received, a decision made, and a letter written. You can call the hearing office to find out where your appeal is in the process.

    As you describe your condition, I would expect your claim to be approved if all the illnesses you list are accompanied by limiting symptoms. Apparently the judge wanted an independent opinion to confirm what your doctor stated about limitations.

    The judge may not have asked the vocational expert to testify about occupations because he was still getting evidence about those limitations through the consultative examination. If you are denied, the lack of vocational testimony could be a basis for appeal.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Joe.

  • Dear J.,

    The judge has to determine whether you are able to work. Sometimes school attendance, especially full-time school attendance is an indication of ability to work. That said, because you are legally blind and not now performing substantial gainful activity, I would expect you to be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Toni,

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program. Benefits are paid primarily to provide housing and food. If someone is providing housing, the need is reduced and correspondingly the benefit is reduced. SSI is calculated on a month-by-month basis. Start now to try to reconstruct how rent, utilities, and food were paid for all periods back to your application. Stated another way, make a list of all money or in-kind help you have gotten from agencies and individuals.

    With regard to payment of your rent as child support, you can submit a statement from your child’s father that he is paying the rent as voluntary child support. If Social Security accepts that the payment is all child support, you will not be charged with in-kind support and maintenance from either the child’s father or the child. However, if half of the rent payment is counted against you because there is no support order, your benefit will be reduced by $245 ($244.34 in 2015 and 2016 and $240.34). Once you start to pay your half of the rent using your SSI benefits, you can report the change. Two months later your SSI will be increased.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michelle,

    The wait time depends on the workload of the moment in your hearing office, but generally you can expect a letter to be produced within about three weeks. It then goes back to the judge for review and signature.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Shakeema.

  • Dear Kelly,

    I do not know the meaning of the reference. It is important to connect with your attorney to be sure that your attorney reviews the communication to determine whether any response or rebuttal is needed. If you can’t get a call back, you might try going to the attorney’s office with the letter.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    I can’t give you a specific time frame, but you are getting close to have a hearing date assigned; perhaps within a month you will know the date.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Toni,

    I really don’t have anything to add beyond my response to your other posts except that the judge is charged with administering the law, so if he were to reopen the prior decision, there would have to be a basis in the law that allowed him to do so, not just his desire to help. And, it could be that he just wanted to review the information for more medical background.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Julia,

    Your friend might contact the pharmaceutical company that makes her medications and ask if they have a program to provide free essential medications on a temporary basis. Some companies do. Another source could be http://www.needymeds.com/. Lastly, some large pharmacy chains offer generic essential medications for very low prices to people with no insurance. If she can get a small amount of help from family or friends, she might be able to access medication that way.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Toni,

    Dismissal of the vocational expert should be a sign that the judge is going to approve your claim. If your claim is denied, dismissal of the vocational expert could be grounds for appeal. The “opening” of a prior claim could refer to “reopening” the claim, which is rarely done. If the claim is reopened, he could back date the claim further than your current claim with a larger amount of back pay or in order to allow an earlier incurred date so that a Social Security claim could be approved based on an earlier incurred date while you were still insured for Social Security.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sean,

    I can’t really answer your question. Vocational expert (VE) opinion is obtained when there is a need to evaluate whether you can perform past and/or new occupations. If the judge thought that your medical records supported limitations so severe as to meet the listings for disability, there would be no need for a VE to testify. But, if that were the case, I would expect your appeal to have been approved at the first hearing. If you have an attorney, I suggest that you ask the attorney his or her opinion based on his or her knowledge of the specifics of your claim. (Note that is you are denied, the absence of vocational testimony could be the basis for an appeal.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Diana,

    I don’t know what the longest period of time has been, but someone recently reported about eight months. I suggest calling the hearing office if you have not done so just to be sure that a letter has not gone astray in the mail. If a letter was sent and not received, ask for a duplicate letter and for your record to be annotated that your call was your first notice of a decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Diana,

    How long a decision takes is not an indication of either approval or denial. I suggest you call the hearing office to find out whether the decision has been made and is in the letter writing department or still with the judge for a decision. Technically, the judge doesn’t have to consider anything submitted after the hearing record is closed; but if no decision has been made, you can submit the admit and discharge summaries and any psychiatric evaluations from your November hospitalization on the off chance they would be considered.

    Then call a suicide prevention line daily for support (1-800-273-8255); the worst thing you can do to your children is commit suicide.

    If you are denied, you can appeal as there is nothing to gain by not appealing. If you do not have an attorney, I recommend getting one to help with the appeal. 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 the attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your back pay, so it is easy and risk free.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome.

  • Dear Jeff,

    You can go online to http://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html to obtain average waiting times for a hearing date in the office serving you. Just select the city where the hearing office is located.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Thin Line,

    It is possible that your period of work in 2015 will be considered an unsuccessful work attempt and not have a negative effect on your claim. I do not, however, have sufficient information to assess the chances of your claim being approved. It will depend on how severe your condition is, your work history, and the transferable skills you have to occupations that may not be as physically demanding.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Pbmser,

    Please see my response to your first posting of your question.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kari,

    Unless the judge said the hearing record was being kept open for the submission or collection of more evidence, anything you submit now might or might not be considered. If you are denied and have to appeal, new records showing treatment for your condition might help establish that your condition was more severe at the time of the hearing than it seemed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear E.,

    Yes, your claim has been approved. When you file a request for hearing, only fully favorable decisions can be made on the record without a hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Wil,

    If the funds do not show up in your account by Thursday, definitely contact Social Security to be sure that the funds were not sent to a now closed bank account or that a processing error did not occur causing the fund to be misrouted.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Shakeema.

  • Dear Shakeema,

    The hearing office is going to gather more information about your more recent medical conditions. It appears that they are trying to do a thorough investigation, which if you are disabled is to your advantage.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tonya,

    A decision has been made and the letter is being written up. After it is written, it will be returned to the judge for review and signature. The letter will then be mailed to you. You will not know what the decision was until you receive the letter.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tonya,

    Every hearing decision, whether an approval or a denial, has to be written up in a detailed letter that explains the reasons for the decision. First, the decision goes to the letter writing department; then when a writer becomes available it, will be assigned. When the letter has been written, it will be returned to the judge for review and signature. At that point, the decision letter will be sent to you.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Santo,

    The delay in getting a decision, if no decision has been made, is probably because of no vocational testimony at the hearing and work back logs keeping the judge from getting back to the appeal. If you have not done so, you can call the hearing office to find out the status of the hearing: no decision yet versus a decision made and the letter being written. If the decision has been made, I’d think you’ll have the letter within a month from when it was made; if not it could be a month to two. You can let your brother know that your attorney says that all you can do is wait.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakeema,

    Your appeal is being actively worked on and steadily moving forward now. How long it will be till a hearing date is set depends on how long it takes you and your attorney to submit the requested information. Ordinarily, you and not the hearing office obtains additional information; but sometimes a judge will request something directly particularly after the hearing. In this case, given that they are asking you to submit evidence, the authorization for release of information was probably requested just to have it on hand in case the judge wants to make direct contact with one of your medical providers for clarification purposes.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Jerry.

  • Jerry

    Hi Kay,
    I had my disability hearing before an ALJ on September 22, 2016. I am in my early 50’s with a congenital heart valve disorder, asthma, and knee problems.
    My attorney and I both feel that the hearing went well. VE stated that there were about three jobs I could do but when asked several hypotheticals by both my lawyer and the judge as to whether someone with my limitations could do those jobs, VE responded no.
    I called my local ODAR office about a month after my hearing and was told that the judge had sent the case out to her clerk and that the case came back to the judge on September 29th but that no decision had been made. Waited another thirty days or so and was told no decision had been made. Spoke to ODAR today and was told my case is in “unassigned writing”.
    Can you please help me to understand all of this. Needless to say the waiting (initially filed for disability in mid 2014) is very frustrating and anxiety filled.
    Thanks,
    Jerry

    • Dear Jerry,

      The judge has made a decision and the decision has been sent to the letter writing department to be written up into an extensive letter, which will explain the approval or denial decision. Once the letter is written, it will go back to the judge for review and signature.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Michelle,

    The website seems to update status before hearing letters are received. I suggest that you call the hearing office to get a status report regarding where your claim is in the post-hearing process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joderrick,

    I think that the judge had reviewed your claim file thoroughly before the hearing and had an idea of the decision he or she would make if nothing in the hearing came up to change his or her mind or knew exactly what information was needed from the hearing to him or her arrive at a decision. Accordingly, you got a quick decision, which could be either an approval or a denial.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joderrick,

    All decisions, approvals and denials, have to be written up in an extensive letter that explains the basis of the decision. The next step in your appeal will be to have the appeal assigned to a specific letter writer. When the letter has been prepared, it will go back to the judge for review and signature. In the case of an approval, nothing would be transmitted to the payment center for Social Security payment or to the local office for Supplemental Security Income payment until after the decision letter was finalized.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Joderrick Golden

      Thank you for your response but here’s what I need to know if the decision was approved I understand it hasn’t been signed off yet but if it was approved whould my file still be at the odar office or will my file move on to payment

      • Dear Joderrick,

        The file would not be sent to the payment center until the letter was completed and signed because the decision is not final until then.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • 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