What Happens after Your Social Security Disability Hearing?

If you have recently had a hearing, you may be wondering what happens next. Your attorney or the judge should be able to explain this to you, but see the information below for some additional insight.

When You Can Expect Your Decision

It will take you about 30-60 days (on average) to receive your decision after your hearing. If the judge held the record open for you to submit additional evidence, it could be 30-60 days after the judge has closed the record. You and your representative will receive a copy of the decision, but you should contact them once you have received it.

What Happens When You Win

Congratulations! If you have won your case, your decision will usually say "NOTICE OF DECISION: FULLY FAVORABLE" or "NOTICE OF DECISION: PARTIALLY FAVORABLE." A partially favorable decision means that the ALJ did not agree that you were disabled for the entire time or for all of the claims under which you were seeking benefits. You can appeal this decision if you disagree with the judge's decision. If you have filed for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, your benefits will be calculated automatically based upon how much Social Security tax you have paid over the years. You will receive a Notice of Award letter explaining: 1. When you became eligible for benefits; 2. What your past due benefits are and when you can expect to receive them; 3. How much your monthly benefits will be and which day of the month you can expect to receive them; 4. How much of your past due benefits was withheld to pay your attorney; 5. Your rights to appeal the Notice of Award; 6. The last several pages usually include the calculation of your monthly award including offsets like an offset for Worker Compensation benefits.

What Happens If You Lose

Unfortunately, even truly disabled people are denied. If you have lost your case, you will receive a "NOTICE OF DECISION - UNFAVORABLE." In this decision, the ALJ will walk through his or her evaluation of your case using Social Security Five Step Sequential Analysis. The Decision will explain your rights to appeal and the deadline to file your appeal. Your deadline is 60 days plus five days from the date you received the decision. In most cases, you will have to decide between filing an appeal to the Appeals Council OR filing a new case. There are a few exceptions to this rule. You should speak with your attorney about the consequences of each action.