Is a long wait after the Social Security hearing a bad sign?

While many Social Security disability hearings in Colorado have decisions issued in 45 to 90 days, some cases wait for four, five, even six months without a decision.

I was recently asked if a long wait after a hearing is a bad sign?

I previously wrote about my experience with how long it takes to get a decision after a Social Security hearing. Many lawyers who have been doing Social Security cases for a while can’t help but notice that the longer it takes to get a decision, the greater the chances that the case will be denied. However, that is not the whole story. Here is my take on this issue.

Social Security approvals often result in fast decisions

Even if the judge does not rule at the hearing, a decision in an approval is often sent within the normal 45 to 90 day window.

Social Security denials take longer to be processed

In the case of denials, I frequently see cases sent out to a decision writer which adds up to 4 months to the decision process.

Why so long? There is a backlog of cases waiting for a decision writer to become available. This results in a case waiting for months after a hearing just to have a draft decision written. Note: this is before the decision even comes back to the judge for approval and/or editing. Combined with the original 90 day wait, some of these decisions are not issued for up to six or seven months after the date of the hearing.

So, if it takes more than 3 months to get a decision, it’s going to be a denial!?!

Not necessarily. While there is some correlation between lengthy decision times and denials, it is not a clear cut signal. Judges also use decision writers on cases that are going to be approved, which means even approval decisions sometimes four or more months before they are issued.

Don’t try to read the tea leaves

Ultimately, the only thing that counts is whether you are approved. Trying to read meaning into how long the decision takes is just guessing. It does not change the odds of winning or give you any meaningful information. Unfortunately, many people tear themselves up inside wondering what it means if a decision takes months to be issued.

All you can do is take a deep breath, let it out, and try to go on with your life while you wait.

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Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. This site provides general information about Social Security disability cases in Colorado. To discuss your particular circumstances, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please review the full disclaimer .

About Tomasz Stasiuk

Tomasz Stasiuk is a Colorado Springs Social Security disability lawyer and the founding attorney of the Stasiuk Firm - a law firm specializing in Social Security disability cases in Colorado. Follow Tomasz Stasiuk on Google and Twitter

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  • lisa miller

    after nearly 4 months after going to disability/ssi court we received a letter from ssi stating they need futher info,or the case will be denied.what could they possible need to know after waiting over 2 years and going to court 4 months ago?bad or good sign?

  • ka518

    I had a disabilty hearing a lil over 3 weeks ago and called the SS office and was told that it has been assigned to a lawyer for the letter writing process…Since it seems they made a decison already does this look favorable for me getting my disabilty?

  • Tyrone197337

    I went to court on nov3rd and it got sent to the writers less than a week later.They sent it back to the judge cause they had a question about it.so the judge is asking the vocational expert to give more details to his decession is this a good thing or a bad thing

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    No idea. Without knowing more there is no way to tell. If you have a lawyer, ask him or her about it. However, one thing to keep in mind is that if the ALJ is sending additional questions to the Vocational Expert, the claimant (or the attorney) should be able to provide cross-examining questions as well. In my experience, the Judge send claimant the questions the he wants to ask and offers the opportunity to add questions.

  • Charlene

    I just checked the status on my case. I had my appeal hearing on March 10th in Denver and it went to the decision writer just 2 days ago…I am thankful the judge didnt prolong my case by sending me to yet another CE – so im thankful that part is over. I was told I can call in on a weekly basis for an update..trying hard not to “read the tea leaves” is gonna be a toughie..hehe…

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Good luck Charlene! I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

  • Jennifer2u42

    I posted on here, and I guess it disappeared, we have been waiting nearly 12 months with no decision, we live in Oklahoma, the lawyer we have says he has no idea what is going on. Is there anything we can do

  • Charlene

    I just called for a status – the decision writer only had my file for 7 days..my case closed 2 days ago – today marks 3 weeks since my appeal hearing….I would die if I seriously won…I was told I would be hearing something within a week!!!!

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Wow! Denver ODAR is moving fast! A fast decision is usually a good sign. If the case was closed you should have something in a couple days to about ten days (if they have to mail it from back east). Good luck!

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    I assume you have already had your hearing since you are commenting on this article.

    I can’t think of a reason why your lawyer can’t find out **any** information about the status of your case. While the hearing offices tend to provide somewhat limited status information, they will say something!

    You or your lawyer can always call the hearing office to check the status. The telephone number is on the Notice of Hearing. If you no longer have that, the Social Security toll free number 1-800-772-1213 can tell you which office to call.

    Keep in mind that it is best to check with the actual office (as opposed to the toll free number). I have heard horror stories of bad information coming out of toll free call centers: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/12/avoid-bad-information-call-the-right-social-security-office/

    Good luck!

  • Charlene

    well im definitely excited about all this..if i win – i will be able to get surgery for both my ears to remove the cysts in them. I may able to hear in loud environments, but trying to hear in a Dr.’s office, library – or any quiet setting including the ODAR building – i am quite deaf…your site will be the 1st to know when I get the decision in the mail…thanks again Tomasz for your friendly support and all that you do for everyone else…

  • Charlene

    I got my decision in the mail today – it was unfavorable

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Oh no! That’s terrible!

  • Jennifer2u42

    I contacted my lawyer again, he said he has been waiting for weeks for a phone call, he told us he keeps calling them and is not finding out any information, not even a status. Yes, we have already had our hearing, it has been nearly a year with no answer. 10 months to be exact. I called my congressman to see if he could help. Of course I have not had a call back. The ODAR office won’t give us any information because we went thru an attorney. We are very frustrated and confused

  • Jennifer2u42

    I would assume the answer is no after waiting this long, but still frustrated

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    I have seen hearing offices that wont release information if you are represented: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/12/social-security-wont-talk-to-me-because-i-have-a-lawyer/

    However, I have to wonder what is going on if SSA completely refuses to provide any information. The hearing office wont even confirm if the file is still open, whether they are still working on it, anything?

    Assuming the hearing office has not closed the case — which would mean a decision had been made, the congressperson’s office may be the best bet for prying some information loose.

    Good luck!

  • Jennifer2u42

    yes, it is completely ridiculous, even the lawyer said he can’t find out anything, we can’t even find a status. But hopefully the congressman can help. He called us back and we are signing a privacy statement over to him. The crazy thing is the social security office 1-800 general info number could not believe we have waited this long. I am assuming the case is open, but not sure. I know the back log here in Oklahoma is long, but this is just silly

  • Jennifer2u42

    thank you very much for your replies, they are greatly appreciated

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    You’re welcome. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Nicole

    Like Jennifer2u42, I too am in Oklahoma and have had nothing, but bad luck so far. While I have not waited 10 months since the hearing, the 29th of this month marks the 6 month point. I was told in January that the Oklahoma City Office took twice as long as the Tulsa Office, so I don’t know if that means 6 months or longer lol. I sure hope it does not mean a denial, but I don’t have high hopes.

    My claim is for my son’s undiagnosable as well as untreatable up to this point, severe head pains. They drop him to the floor, he has had confirmed seizure activity early on, but video EEG turned up clear last year. No medicines work and we are still fighting for this. He misses tons of school due to this so in turn I can not work and hold down a job as I have no babysitter in town and no daycare wants to deal with him. They figure if he is too sick to go to school then he is too sick for daycare as well *sigh*

    My lawyer called in January and they were told there was nothing done yet on the case (that is when I was also told that my local office took twice as long). I am really hoping and praying for my son to get approved, but I just don’t feel confident in this. We only have I believe one more appeal left and then there is nothing left to do. I have tried to submit multiple videos of my son during an episode (as evidence), but I keep getting told the judge couldn’t get the video because the electronic file will only hold text. This is something that really needs to be seen in person, rather than hearing me explain what it is.

    Do you think if we are turned down again, and we fight one more time…should I just take the camera with me this time and “demand” that someone watch this video right then and there, since it apparently can’t be submitted as evidence?

    Sorry the post is so long, I just get so frustrated with this.

    Thanks in advance,
    Nicole

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    In general, my opinion is that videos can help explain the medical records. However, they do not **replace** medical records in providing a diagnosis or a description of limitations. You mention that your son’s condition is not diagnosed. Your lawyer can discusse the problem this causes.

    Videos can show the extent and severity of a problem. However, the risk is that it puts the viewer into the position of having to ask, “is what I’m seeing an honest depiction? Is this staged? Is this exaggerated?” . A lot has to do with who is making the tape and for what purpose.

    Also, videos by their very nature risk taking a person outside of an event. For the person recording, you may be re-living the event every time you watch the video. However, it may not have same impact for someone who was not there. Videos risk loosing subtext. This is like reading a book (which provides the inner dialog and emotions) versus seeing the movie (where if it isn’t conveyed on the screen, it didn’t happen). Consider a parent talking about watching her child have a severe asthma attack: feeling his body shake, seeing the pain and pleading in his eyes, feeling his hands grasping theirs, slowly, slowly improving, then curling up next to her looking for reassurance that it wont happen again. A video of a the same asthma attack might only show a child lying still holding his mother’s hand with the breathing improving over 10 minutes and then the child rolls over. The impact is gone.

    Even, if the parent tries to describe the what the event was like AFTER showing the video, it may be too late. The viewer be thinking, “No. I saw it. The attack wasn’t that bad.” While video lets a person witness an event, the viewer may loose the vicarious experience.

    Let me give you an example of where a video might be useful. In the case of a child with severe behavior issues, having a teacher record a child during an outburst may be quite useful since the teacher is more impartial than a parent and the outburst occurring in a school setting is less likely to be staged. Combined with a statement that the video shows a typical outburst and the frequency and duration of such outbursts, a video like this may be useful.

    What is comes down to is video can be useful, however there are risks. Ultimately, it has to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

  • Jennifer2u42

    Oklahoma is awful, I am telling you.. I had my congressman and my lawyer calling social security, they cannot get a response, it is so frustrating. we have been waiting nearly a week for a call from a supervisor. No phone calls or anything

  • Jennifer2u42

    unfortunately the judge we had, in my opinion was horrible. at one point during the hearing he asked my husband what I did for a living, my husband replied she takes care of her grandparents everyday. The judge than asked how old they were (they are in their Eighties), when my husband told him, he said, they are still young. I wanted to say something, but kept my mouth shut, than the judge asked him about his weight. my husband is just a little over weight, and my husband said due to his degenerative disk disease and knees, he could not excercise, the judge than replied, well. you could at least try/ It was a very bad hearing. it was proven there were no jobs he could do, but I still think we are getting a no, due to the fact the doctor that was on the telephone could have cared less whether he was there or not. We tried to make it a point that the medication he is on would prevent him from working. He cannot stand or long periods of time, nor sit. Or lift over 5 pounds, that is why the military discharged him. Just waiting on the NO, so we can appeal the decision :(

  • Nicole

    Well he was diagnosed with seizure disorder due to him having seizure episodes and the eeg showing seizure activity, but the latest video eeg was clear. They are not sure if it is seizures when he has these episodes or if it is a type of severe migraine. That is why I say undiagnosable because we haven’t ever been given a clear answer and nothing stops it. I have described it numerous times, but I feel like they look at me and think it isn’t that bad in person. So it is almost reverse of your example lol. We had an ER doctor stare at us in disbelief when it hit, they didn’t know what it was or what to do. They were going to admit him, but since we had been through tests and had a Neurologist already they decided to send him home. The lawyer even changed attitude a bit about the claim once they saw the video, I guess they maybe thought it wasn’t what I and my witnesses have described.

    I figure though if we get denied again then there is nothing to lose, may as well try to bring the camera and beg they watch some of the episodes over the years. Most people think it is just a headache, but my son can handle pain very well and these episodes drop him to his knees screaming.

    Thanks for your quick reply, glad to see there is someone willing to answer our questions so quickly. :)

  • Nicole

    I just spoke to the social security office they told me that generally it should only take 2 months to get a decision after a hearing, but apparently my hearing office is behind. He said he was sending over a message and I would hear something within 10 days (from the office as to what the hold up is). Hopefully we will at least get an answer, like you..if it is going to be another no then just tell us already so we can move on to the next step.

    Hopefully you hear good news soon, we have been doing the social security dance for 2 years and it is exhausting!

  • Jennifer2u42

    It is exhausting isn’t/ I am so fed up with the system :( My husband is 80 percent thru the Va, cannot work, walk or stand or sit for periods at a time, just about the only time he is comfortable is keeping his feet elevated to keep the pressure of his back. We have been waiting nearly a year for a decision. and finally I called our congressman, which in its self might have been a bad idea, you don’t want to make the judge mad, I was told, he could just say NO, if he feels like there is someone watching him :(

  • Jennifer2u42

    Good luck by the way :) Wished I lived in Colorado so I could hire this gentlemen here, :(
    Tomasz Stasiuk

  • Jennifer2u42

    Update, a caseworker from the Congressman office called today and we are in Post Hearing Status :) We should find something out soon, I hope.. She has given us more information in 5 minutes than our lawyer did in 6 months.

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Thank you! That is very kind.

  • hb infamous

    i suggest binder and binder they will not take your case unless their sure they will win. 

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

     And that does what for the people they turn down?

  • Nicole

    I was just wondering if you had heard anything else on your case or decision? I received a letter from the hearing office and all it said was the judge was still reviewing the case and would let me know when he made a decision *sigh*  I feel like if they had said that out loud to me, it would have sounded rude lol. By chance were you in the Oklahoma City office? My lawyer is in Tulsa and they told me that my office (the okc office) is apparently the slowest in the state (lucky me).

    I just thought I would pop back in and see if there was anything new with your’s, hopefully you have heard good news *fingers crossed*

  • Jennifer2u42

    I wish I knew what was going on. We got our congressman involved because apparently our lawyer knows nothing :(
    The only thing we know is that our paperwork is sitting on the judges desk. Yes, we are case is in the Oklahoma City office, slowest in the country apparently from what we have been told. I have a feeling our is going to be a No, just a gut feeling, because it has been so long. Our judge was very rude during the hearing because of my husband’s age, he is 39.  You are lucky, we haven’t even recieved a letter saying anything, just word of my mouth thru the congressman’s office. 
    The bad thing is about getting them involved is is might make the judge mad, make him feel like there is someone peering over his shoulder. So we might have done a  bad thing :( 

  • Jennifer2u42

    Good luck to you as well,  :) keeping my fingers crossed also :)

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    For the moment, try not to get negative about what the decision may be. If the office is notoriously slow, the long wait is not necessarily a negative sign. It is just (sadly) how that office does things. I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

  • jennifer

    okay so the paperwork is off the judges desk, finally after nearly a year and 3 months, I kid you not.. They called us to tell us a decision had been made, but were not allowed to divulge such information over the phone ( I wanted to cry).. In you experience how long does it take after going to a decision writer.. of course we are talking about Oklahoma, apparently the slowest state in the country :(

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    If SSA called to say that the decision was made, that suggests the decision is in the mail, not off to a decision writer. The decision writer does a draft of a decision which comes back to the judge’s desk for revisions and ultimately, the judge’s signature. If the decision is “off the judge’s desk,” I hope that means it is on it’s way to you.

    Now, if the decision has been sent to a decision writer, in my experience, it may still take a 2-4 more months.

  • Kimberleyrichey

    I was wondering if anyone can help me i had my hearing in front of a judge july 19 2011 and finally i go someone that said my file was opened for decesion with the judge oct 18 what does the mean

  • pam

    my husband signed up on his disability ss back in aug 2010 he was denied 2 times he just went for his hearing oct25th he called about it today and they told him that it was with a writer not sure what that means. if that is a good thing or a bad thing when he went to his hearing they had a ve there that stated he wasnt able to do any kind of work not sure what all this means and what is a decision writer? and does it usually mean bad news if the judge sends it to a decision writer?  please help me understand a little better.

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Hi, Pam. Decision writers draft the decision for the judge. It’s not a good or bad sign per se. It just means the decision is being worked on. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your husband.

  • Jen

    I had a video hearing on 12-6-11. The judge was very mean and rude to
    me. My question however is that the VE said that there was about 25% of
    the workforce in my area where I could work part-time with a base of
    $11,000. What does that mean for me? I live in Ohio.

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Jen. I’m sorry the judge was rude.

    Frankly, that does not make any sense to me. Social Security typically focuses ability to do full time work. There are some exceptions, particularly if they are considering an individual’s past work. For example, if a person was making $20/hour, they could reach the SGA threshold of $1000/month (which is going up in 2012) working less than full time. 

    However, the ” 25% of the workforce in my area where I could work part-time with a base of $11,000″ just leaves me scratching my head. 

    If you had an attorney helping you, definitely ask about this.

    Good luck, Jen!

  • Jimmy Hale/ Brandy Hale

    Hi there Jenifer…we live in oklahoma actually also…my husband was in a bad car accident, severly injured for life, was turned down twicw went to his hearing November 3rd, judge sad 100 o/o disabiled and we r still waiting on the approval letter from him…we first applied in august ’10..we was first turned down in jan. ’11, appeled the desicion march ’11 was denied again, appeled this desicion and was just in shock when the judge approved him… judge had stated tht we would hear from him in 30-60 days but have yet heard anything….just was wondering your time frame and how long it took you to get your approval and finally start recieving your benifits? any info would be great , thanks Brandy.

  • Jimmy/Brandy Hale

    Hi there..I am new to the forum and just had a few questions. My husband first applied in august 2010 due to bieng severly injured from a car accident. He has degenerative disc disease, diabetes, titanium steel in his left hip due to it bieng shattered in the car wreck (he will have to have fullblown hip replacment surgery in 4 more years) depression, nueropothy in both feet etc…we where first denied in Jan. 2011, appealed the desicion, was turned down again in March 2011, denied so appealed that desicion , had a hearing November 3rd 2011 in front of a Alj judge, was verbally approved by him then, was told we would hear something in writing within 30-60 days but still havent heard anything . when we call the 1-800 ssi # we are always told it is still at the hearing office , which by the way is in okc, oklahoma…with this all being said why is it taking so long, when should we excpect to hear something cause this waitng thing is killing us both lol…we do have an attorney and they are suppposed to be calling the judges office this week to see what the hold is so hoping for good news…my husband has always been the one to work , me being a stay at home mom to four beautiful children, one byt he way who has epilepsy, and i cant work due to taking care of him and our children…I am keeping my fingers croosed that something comes about soon , thanks to you all for listning…… any info or comments to my post are welcomed….

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    You are just under 60 days from the day of the hearing. It is not unusual for cases to take 45-90 for the decision to be mailed out. If the ALJ already indicated that the case will be approved, that’s great. At least you don’t have to worry about the outcome. Just give it some time. Just as there is a backlog for cases waiting FOR a hearing, there is also a backlog for the decisions to come out. You will probably hear something in the next 30 days. 

    Thanks for reading!

  • Jen

    I’m sorry. I had that completely wrong. My attorney said the VE said there were 11,000 jobs in my area that I could do (packing and labor). A real good example of my confusion and getting things screwed up. I guess that testimony is bad for me. I was hurt in 08 at work. Had to get surgery. Dr severed and nicked some nerves. Now I have RSD along with 2 types of neuropathy. I guess it’s kind of funny, I am left handed and the RSD is in my left limb, chest, and back. I also have slipped/bulging discs in my neck c5-c7 but I should be able to do pack and labor. I suffer from severe spasms as well as major depression. I was crying during my hearing because the judge drilled me about why I took off my coat. I was trying to keep my hand propped because of pain and swelling and he also drilled me about that. He told me that if I needed to cry I could go in the hallway because he was not going to conduct his hearing with me crying. I am still very disturbed at how he talked to me. I told him I started working when I was 13 and the last place I wanted to be was there in my condition. I told him I lost just about everything I had. He said he didnt care, it was irrelevant to my case and had nothing to do with his consideration. he said everyone has financial woes.
    My medication list is as follows:
    Cymbalta 120 mg daily
    Prednisone 20mg 2x day
    Remeron 60 mg daily
    Zanaflex 2mg 2pills 3x day
    Norco 10-325mg 5-6x day
    Lyrica 150 mg 2x day
    Lisinopril 20mg daily
    Ultram ER 300 mg daily
    Vitamin D3 1000 iu 2daily

  • Jen

    WOW. I just added that up and that is:
    2 cymbalta
    2 prednisone
    2 remeron
    6 zanaflex
    6 norco
    2 lyrica
    1 lisinopril
    1 ultram er
    2 vitamin d
    = 24 pills per day.
    OMG I didn’t even realize.

  • Jeffmtrimble

    hi,i had my hearing dec.12th 2011 and the next day the alj turned in his decision.on dec.20th the decision writer got my file and now as of dec.30th 2011.its being reviewed and signed off on.also the ve at my hearing said no to my past work and eliminated 3 jobs she listed off in the national economy. is that a good sign?

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Actually, financial woes do play a part in the cold and hard analysis SSA is supposed to do. They do not *prove* disability, however they should be considered in the assessing credibility. When a judge says a person’s testimony was not credible at hearing, severe financial woes can be used in the appeal. For example: no one wants to go through foreclosure and be evicted. If someone does go through this, it certainly helps bolster their claims that they are not able to do some kind of work.  No one wants to lose what they put into a house, or to be kicked out into the street.

    It is still a very cold analysis, but that is one way to use it in a disability case. I hope you wont need this though.

  • angie

    i have to go to a supplmental hearing.after going to a hearing in september of 2011 is that a bad thing?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    It’s a bit surprising. Supplemental hearings are not held for no reason. It suggests something has changed: new consultative examiners report, new evidence, etc. It is usually important to figure out why there is going to be a supplemental hearing. Contact your lawyer, or consider getting a lawyer involved to help you out.

    Good luck Angie!

  • Artavia Anderson

    I live in Buffalo, New York, I had my hearing on December 19, 2011 and still to date haven’t received anything stating the decision on my case. I have tons of medical issues. I have 2 disk bulging disk, and one hernation at L5 and S1, bi-laterial radiculopathy at L5 and S1. This causes pain down both my legs, causes pain in both of my feet to the point that I almost fall over, I have sever depression, and my therapist recommended that I don’t be in the work place due to anger issues, I have bi-laterial carpal tunnel syndrome, bi-laterial plantar fasicitis, both conditions in which I have had surgery for with No relief. I was denied my SSD from 2009, but I was told by my lawyer that the judge did fine me limited in what I could do, to top it off I have sleep apena on which causes me to be very tired most of the day. I have been given 2 different CPAP machines in 3 months cause my pressure has went up. I can barely do anything, my kids does all of the house cleaning, my two oldest daughters help me to food shop, I don’t socialize at all, I don’t visit my family at all due to my anger, I’m not afraid of hurting myself but afraid I might hurt somebody else. I just don’t understand why this is taking so long. Did I mention that I have peripheral neuropathy greater on the right than the left, a bad shoulder, and bad left knee. Can you please give me some insight as to what does it take to be considered disabiled.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Artavia. 

    This article goes over how SSA defines disability: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/08/am-i-disabled/ For an overview of the actual analysis, take a look at: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/03/how-social-security-reviews-cases-the-5-step-sequential-evaluation-process/ 

    Those are good starting points for getting an idea of what has to be proven in a SSA disability case. 

    Good luck and let us know if you win!

  • cathy

    Was your judge Timothy Keller. Because he was extremely rude to my husband. Sometimes these judges are jerks and shouldn’t be doing this job.

  • cathy

    My husband filed in 2006. He was denied, denied, denied. In 2010 he had his last hearing and was denied for partial and was approved for the time he was on workers comp. He gets no money for that time. We sent the papers to the appeals council. In the judges report he said, “Robert’s condition is to extreme to be believed.” He also wrote, “it is clear the doctors are showing sympathy towards Robert in reporting his disability.” The appeals council, after 18 months, came back with saying the judge had no right to state those type of opinions because he had no medical doctor testifying for his side. He had his very last hearing this June 5th, 2012. It has bee 6 years and numerous doctor filings and hospital stays and surgeries. His heart is enlarging and his back is crooked from bad surgeries. My husband is 48 and looks like he is 60 years old. What makes me mad is the young 20 something who is fully capable of working and suffers from anxiety and gets disability the first time they file. Or the person who has never had a surgery and gets it the first time. I know a guy who gets disability who uses a jack hammer all the time and digs holes for new pools in his yard. my husband has had 4 surgeries to correct a break in the neck while working. A 5th to repair his shoulder. A hospital stay for his enlarging heart and will have a colonoscopy for blood in his stool. What does it take for judges to see that someone is actually disabled? The priorities of some of these people is way off. I would almost make a bet, if I filed for disability, I could get it the first time. I have kidney stones all the time, anxiety and I get panic attacks. However, I still work and I push myself. But I could be I would get it without a fight. Heck, I bet I could say I wanted to kill my self, spend 72 hours on watch at some hospital and get it the next day. Ohio sucks when it comes to disability. They need to get rid of Judge Keller and find someone else who can do the job without trying to hurt people.

  • Michael Booker

    I had my hearing on July 30th and the judge said that he would look favorably upon me for benefits. I called today and was told that another hearing is going to be scheduled because they only had a vocational expert present and now they need a hearing with a medical expert. What’s up with that? Has anyone had to go to two hearings? This is so stressful.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    It could be that the judge just wants to make a tight decision which will past the muster of quality assurance. Yup, even judges have people looking over their shoulder. Or, it could be that the judge still has concerns about the case. In either case, a second hearing with a ME is a big question mark.

  • Michael Booker

    I know. Why would he say that he was going to look upon me favorably? I’m an Ex-Airborne Ranger with many parachute jumps and the the VA even backed the findings. I wonder why the medical expert wasn’t there during the initial hearing? After all this time, I call and get this kind of information from the receptionist who looked up my status with my Social Security number. I don’t know what to do. Very disheartening after all I went through already. The wait, the hearing, and now another hearing? Wow!

  • Michael Booker

    I got so stressed out Tomasz that I just went to my local Social Security office to see what they had and the SS rep said that it just showed that I’m ready to be scheduled for a hearing as of 08/12/12. My hearing had already taken place by that date. She also said that maybe they haven’t updated my case but nothing has been sent forward for processing. Should I be concerned or just ride it out and wait for something in writing? Its been alost 8 weeks and I was hoping for some good news after all I’ve been through with this. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • T

    I HAD MY HEARING ON JUNE 21,2012 AND I STILL HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING YET AND I CALL EVERY DAY AND THEY SAY THEY CANNOT DISCLOSE THAT INFO OVER THE PHONE SO TODAY I CALLED THE LOCAL SS OFFICE TO SEE IF THEY COULD TELL ME THE GUY TELL TELL ME IT’S BEEN DENIED AND THEN I CALLED BACK TO MAKE SURE IT WAS CORRECT A LADY ANSWERD AND SAID IT’S STILL PENDING ALL I CAN SEE HE MUST HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT MY FIRST DENIAL HOPING AND PRAYIN SO OMG I JUST DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO ANYMORE.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    It’s definitely odd to have a second hearing when there was no mention of it at the first hearing. It can mean that the judge found something which may be a problem on the case, or that the judge just wants a medical opinion. Of course, it could also be something else. Without knowing your case, there is now way for me to know. If you have a lawyer, you should ask him/her. If you don’t have one, you may want to get someone so they can look over your case to see what might be a stumbling block for your case. Just in case there is a problem. That’s the best I can tell you.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    It’s important to call the right office: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/12/avoid-bad-information-call-the-right-social-security-office/
    The local offices may not have hearing status information. It’s best to get a hold of the hearing office for the correct info.

  • Jimmy

    Hi just had my hearing on 9/24/2012.Was not sure if i won my case or i lost my case.The ALJ didn’t ask any questions to the VE.And the ALJ didn’t let my lawyer give his closing argument.My lawyer said everything went well and everything was in my favored to win my case.The case lasted about 30mins just wanted to know is this normal for the ALJ not to ask the VE anything and not let my lawyer give a closing argument.All the ALJ said i heard enough thank you for coming have a nice day.Is this a good thing or a bad thing.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    In my experience, when a judge cuts off the attorney (prevents further questions, closing, etc), basically wrapping up the case in less than the allotted time without giving the lawyer full opportunity to present the case, it often means the judge does not need to hear any more to approve the case. The give away is that the judge’s actions could be appealable if the case were to be denied.

    Of course, I was not there for your case, so I can’t tell you if this is what happened. Talk to your lawyer about his/her impressions.

    Good luck Jimmy!

  • Joy Lynn

    I had my disability appeal hearing Aug 31st. This has been a very long and stressful road since a car accident in 2006. Oct 26th when calling the disability office for a staus in my case I was told it was still with the dicission writters, but would know by oct 31st. Called Nov 5th and the lady said this is odd you haven’t recieved a discsion yet, they always send it by 60days and you case now says pending. Any idea what this means when it was already with the discision writters.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Joy. When a case comes back from the decision writers and is “pending,” it usually means one of two things: either the case is pending the judge’s review, or the case is pending the judge’s signature. If it is pending review, the judge may want some changes and the case might go back to the decision writers for further work. If a case is pending the judge’s signature, after the sign, it is ready to be mailed.

  • Vic

    My kids father filed for ssdi on 4/5/2012 he had a hearing. Was sent a letter of unfavorable decision on 4/26/2012 filed a appeal 5/5/2012 waiting. Decision while waiting his sickness worsen he is on dialysis he was telling the judge that this was going to happen can anyone tell me if he will be approved or will he have to appeal again been almost eight months and haven’t heard nothing

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hearing denials appealed to the Social Security Appeals Council often wait between 6 to 18 months for a decision. You can find more information about the Appeals Council process here: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/category/milestones/appeals-council-milestones/

  • Erica

    Hi I had my ssi hearing on April 11th and still waiting on an answer. The judge did have a ve there and the ve says there’s no jobs. Is this normal time and does it sound good with the ve saying that.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Erica. Since it has been less 30 days since the hearing, it may be a bit longer. In Colorado, I see times normally ranging between 45 and 90 days.

  • Core

    Hi I had my ssi hearing 1/23/13 the judge gave my lawyer an extra seven dys to gather any additional information but while at the hearing the VE expert couldn’t find any jobs with the judge’s restrictions. It has been almost four months though would that be a sign that my chances of winning are slim?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    In my opinion, the extra evidence is more significant than the 4 month wait. Talk to you lawyer and ask if they evidence the judge asked for was obtained. Also, was the evidence helpful or not?

  • Elizabeth Winegar

    I had my hearing with the judge on May16. He asked the VE what level my job was classified at and that was all he asked? Is that a good or bad thing? Also, I called and I was told that the status was”final writing”. Does that mean I should be getting a letter very soon?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    I imagine you will be getting a decision soon. Final writing means the decision will soon being going out after the judge approves and signs it. The focus on the classification of your job sounds like a good sign. I hope you are approved!

  • Elizabeth Winegar

    Thank you for your opinion.

  • aaron

    i applied for ssi a week ago and I checked online it says : decitions has been made and it is being mailed
    I applied 5 years ago got denied 3 times seen a judge still denied,this time just a quick decition,i don’t know what to think? I gave them a ton of records haven’t worked in 10 years
    wondering if its a deniel I didt even go see a specialist this time

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Aaron,

    A decision in less than a month is often a eligibility denial, which means that there is a problem with an individual’s eligibility for the disability program applied for and Social Security may not even have gotten to deciding if the person is disabled or not.

    I would encourage you to talk to a disability attorney in your area to go over the decision and review your options with you.

    Good luck!

  • Sarah H.

    Hi, I had my hearing on 10/01/13 and there was a VE present. At the last senerio the judge ask “base on her condition alone are there any jobs she can do?” the VE said “No, jobs” My doctor stated that I will miss more than 3 days of work a month in a medical form and my attorney asked the VE what job will allow me to miss so many days? The VE stated “no jobs will allow that, she will be fired without a doubt” I suffer from Degenerative Disk Disease and have a bleeding disorder. The DDD is my pain problem since I’m in everyday pain. After the hearing I was asked to leave the room while my attorney gather his things. When he came and spoke to me he told me that “I feel positive, your case is a tough one to win but I believe we won this and that the judge is on our side. But the judge can go either way, even though I feel positive” it’s hard for me to feel positive since I been getting denied since the age 19 and my condition was first diagnose when I was 16 years old. Have anyone ever been approved just from having DDD? Is it really a hard case to win even though it’s hard to do everyday things due to the pain? I’m from Wisconsin by the way

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    People definitely can be approved for DDD. I hope you are approved this time!

  • Autylynn

    I applied 3yrs ago and was denied right away. I applied again and was denied about 9mo later. I hired a lawyer appealed it and almost 10mo later was finally given a court date. The judge said there was not enough information on my disease which is Ehlors Danlos Syndrome, fibromyalgia and onset RA. So they sent me to their specialist a month later I receive another letter for another appointment with another doctor for the same thing I was sent to the first doctor for. Its been 2mo and still haven’t heard a word. I call my lawyer and she says that it could take another 18mo before I get a decision. Is this normal procedure or am I just wasting my time.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    18 months to get a decision after a hearing is definitely NOT normal. In my experience, it takes 30 to 90 days to get a decision. A post-hearing CE (consultative examination) can add additional time:
    - around 30 to 60 days to get the CE scheduled,
    - 14 to 45 days for the report,
    - and then about 30 to sixty days for the decision.

    However, it is also possible to ask for a supplemental hearing based on the CE report. If that is done, it can be 90 or more days to find time on the judge’s docket.

    If a supplemental hearing is not requested, it may take about 120 days from the hearing to the decision when a CE is requested.

  • James M.

    Hello! I FINALLY had my disability hearing with an ALJ on 10.11.13. I’ve been stressed about the decision and the horror stories I’ve heard regarding the amount of time it takes to get a decision so I’ve been calling the O.D.A.R. once a week after waiting three weeks. Today I was told that I should receive “a letter in the mail” in 7 to 10 days (at least this is what I think was said considering how hard-of-hearing I am). Is this a good sign? Here in NC, all of the ALJs use decision-writers. I hope this is positive news because the actual hearing was odd. There was the judge, myself, a VE and my wife (I had no representation). The judge did not call on either the VE nor my wife to testify. Is this good, bad or does it not really matter if the judge had already made up his mind? I’m just so stressed that I can’t think about anything else. It has been nearly five years since I last worked! If, by some miracle, I’m approved for benefits would my sons be able to receive benefits and would they be able to get “back pay” like I’m, supposedly, entitled to? Any and all information you could provide would be most appreciated! Thanks so much.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi James. It sounds good. However, since I was not there, it is difficult to say. If you want to get an idea of the percentage of cases your judge approves, you can look him/her up here: http://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/03_ALJ_Disposition_Data.html

    Good luck! I will keep my fingers crossed for you!

  • fredrick

    Hi, im here in miami i first applied
    for disability about 3 years ago and was denied ,so i hired an attorney and reapealed the decision and had my first court date in july, 10,2013 , with me my lawyer and wife, then came back 2nd time with my lawyer and case mgnt plus written documents from my phycaritris stating that i have a bipolar/ sczizofective , and back injury plus diabetes, i permantly disabled, then came back 3rd time and judge ask my lawyer for my case worker to write up statement than haven’t heard anything else its been now 6 months can any one tell me whats going on is this good news or bad, when i call the ordor court they said its sitting on the judges desk from decision writter my lawyer said she never seen something happen like this before

  • tammy

    Hi my name is tammy I am from syracuse ny I had court nov 26th of 2013 its been a little over 2 months my lawyer called and spoke with the hearing ofice they said there just waiting for the letter to be assigned to be written up and they said it should be anyday now can u tell me if this is a bad thing that its been a little over 2 months

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    I don’t think there is any reason to think it is necessarily a bad thing. However, your lawyer is in the best position to give you an opinion of how your case may turn out. Good luck, Tammy!

  • Amanda

    Hi, my name is Amanda im 31 yrs old and I had a hearring on december 19th 2013 and it has now been almost 60 days I called my lawyer 2 weeks ago and asked them a status on my case and they had said that the judge was still looking over my medical records and has not made a decision yet .. And that once a decision is made it will then go to decision writing … How long does it usually take in indaianpolis ? And i also wanted to note on that as well when i went to my hearing the judge had a dr. on the phone and asked him questions like can she do previous work and or do u agree with the date in which se became disabled and other questions? he said no she cant do pervios work or no work for that matter and he aslo said he agreed with my date in which i became disabled and the VA doctor also said there were no other work out there i could do. So is this a good thing?

  • Dfalcon3522

    I have a question. During my hearing the Judge asked a series of questions to the Vocational expert and she replied that there were no jobs that I could preform (almost exact words). At that point my lawyer nudged and winked at me. Towards the end the judge said that my age (38) concerned him but he would accept my onset date and wanted to review my case in 3-5 years to see if my health conditions have changed any. Of course my lawyer says I won but it’s 91 days today and at last check with the ALJ office last week my paperwork was still in editing. This makes almost 4 weeks that I get the editing answer and the wait is killing me! Where in the process exactly is EDITING? Should it be much longer before I see the decision in writing? Could the judge have changed his mind from what he told me in the courtroom? Any advice would be welcome because my lawyers office keeps telling me to expect about 3!more weeks and that has been their answer for the last 3 times I reached out to them.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    90 days is a bit high, but not outside the range of normal wait times for a hearing decision. Is it frustrating? Yup. However, based on what you wrote, you have a strong indication that the judge will approve your case. So, that’s a good thing.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    I can’t tell you how long the wait is in Indianapolis (I’m not there). Based on what you describe, it sounds good. I will keep my fingers crossed for you!

  • RJL

    I also went in December, The 12th of December and I had my hearing in Indy as well and Im still waiting. Ive been told for 4 weeks now that my case was in the editing process. My lawyer told me 6 weeks ago I was approved but every where I call I get a different answer so Im playing the waiting game and its pure torture. Im sure this didn’t help you much Amanda but also wanted you to know your not alone…Please keep me posted on yours and I will mine.

  • pins and needles

    Hi!

    I called the ALJ’s office for a status update. I was told the judge made a decision and the decision writers are working on it, then back to the Judge to be signed and sent to Baltimore, MD . I’m in MA, so Why does it go to Baltimore?

  • spunk33

    RLJ your lawyer told you that you was approved 6 weeks ago is something he or she shouldn’t have said cause no lawyer can garuntee approval on a disability because if they do that and it comes back as denied you can possible get the lawyer for false representation. Also no lawyer want know if you approved or not until the case has been close and the decision has been mail out.

  • tammy

    I went to a hearing on november 26th 2013 we are now in the middle of march its been 3 and a half months when I went my lawyer said I think we won but I never tell anyone that its a diff she said by the thungs the judge was asking and how things went in court that I think we got this I called the jugde is secretary today she said is off to the wrighting department it still hasent been assigned to someone to write it up she said shes not sure whats taking so long mabye there backed up but its been in waiting to be assigned by someone for 4 weeks now can u tell me mabye what u think mabye why its taking so long and if it usually takes this long r u normally denied

  • lady E

    Hello Tammy my hearing was in november and its march still no decison I do not know where to turn my letter has not hear anything and i’m getting different answer from the social security office I was hoping my condition should have approve without the long waiit. I been disable every since 2011 any suggestion to help me ease this stress

  • tammy

    Im not really sure im trying to figure out myself why it is taking so long I went to court nov 26th 2013 and havent recieved anything yet so im wondering if this is a denial some people so that the longer it takes the high risk of being denied wish I could help u but hopefully things will work out for the both of us asap

  • lady E

    Hello Tammy I wanted to inform you I got my approval for disability today. I will be praying for a positive out come for you

  • brian boo

    April 4th will be 5 months waiting time for me after my hearing. Am I getting a bad decision? I did have to get the judge some information after the hearing but that took me less than 7 days to get it to her. I have a rare disease but I do have documentation fro the Mayo clinic and my doctor. I have Primary Hypersomnia, Migraines, Hoshimotos disease, and subcutaneious Lupus and anxiety/depression(we did not push this during the trial but it was in my documents) This seems like a very long wait if I’m getting approved. Any suggestions?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    If you are working with a representative, give them a call. The time to a decision is the smallest factor in trying to guess what the outcome of a case will be. Good luck, Brian!

  • Brian boo

    Thanks for the quick reply, I do have a representative (allsup) but I’m not sure that was a good decision to use them. I just called and they said we are still waiting for a decision. The judge said nothing about a favorable decision after the trial but I thought it went ok. We made it clear I would miss more than 2 days a month of work and the vocational expert said that there were no jobs if I missed 2 days. My judge only has a 26% favorable rate so I feel I’m just waiting forever for a denial. It’s very stressful.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    It is very nerve wracking. I’m not a big fan of the national agencies (not to comment on yours). I have seen too many instances of some of the big companies outsourcing the representation at the hearing for a flat fee.

    If you got one of the low percentage judges, that is very unfortunate. But you may be one of the exceptions. I will keep my fingers crossed!

  • tammy

    Congrats and I called today they said that my case just got sent back to the judge to be signed and eddited that I will get a letter next week

  • armystitch

    My lawyer called and left message today. Of course I didn’t get it until 6:30 & it’s a Friday. She says they got news from the alj & there’s a decision I need to make. It’s only been 4 days since my hearing. I think it went well b/c the VE said there were no jobs I could do. What could this mean? The only thing I can think of is it has been denied. Thus I need to decide if I want to a appeal it further. Anyone had this happen? It’s going to be a very long weekend.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Sounds like the the judge wants you to amend the onset date. http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/08/what-if-the-judges-wants-me-to-amend-my-alleged-onset-date/

    That is just a guess, but it would fit with “good news” and a “decision to make.”

  • Ariel

    My name is Ariel I had a hearing February 3 2014 everything seem to go well the judge said before he made a decision he want me to go to their doctors ima for anxiety and depression he made me sign extra medical release forms I had the appointment for the ima March 4 2014. A decision still hasn’t been made I want to know is this bad when will I hear back from them why is it taking so long?

  • Anna

    Hi. I had a hearing back in June of 2013, the judge let my lawyer submit health documents up until August of 2013. Just this past March 2014 I was told that they had made a decision on my disability claim. I have moderate to severe hearing loss, severe anxiety, and blood pressure complications that I need to take a medication that causes me to become very dizzy. It is now a month later and I still have not heard what the decision is. Its very frustrating. The agency that is representing me said I have a very strong case, that they would not have carried it this far if they didn’t think I had a chance of winning. Its very frustrating. Any insight would be great, thanks.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    You should have a copy of the decision. SSA will send you one. If you did not receive it from SSA, your representative should provide you with a copy if you ask. If neither of those can get it to you, your local SSA office should be able to provide you a copy of the decision. Keep in mind there is a time limit to appeal. If the decision was a denial, you may be running up against a 60 day deadline soon. So, it is very important to find out what the March 2014 decision was. Good luck Anna!

  • Anna

    Just to add insult to injury I had a judge that is known for being on the conservative side. I asked my lawyer at the hearing what she thought the outcome was, and she said its a 50/50. :(

  • Anna

    I also called today, and they said that it has to still be edited and signed before it can be sent. I’m not sure what that means.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    That means the decision is not issued yet. So, the hearing office will not give any kind of “sneak peak” of what the decision is. So, the wait continues…

  • Anna

    Thanks… I was told that the government shutdown in October slowed a lot of things down. I was told back in March by my representative that I would know the decision in a couple weeks, that I should receive something in the mail… its has now been a month, and it seems that the judge or the decision writers are just dragging their heels on it. So yes, the wait continues!!! My representative says perhaps it is because the judge is angry that he has to push one through, as he is very conservative. This has certainly been a test of patience !!!

  • lisa

    you won your case

  • lisa

    hi my name is lisa in I had a hearing date on oct 16,2013 with alj!!! my lawyer was in the room my mom came in to testify on my behalf I apply in 2010 in I appead my case. this is my second time in front of this judge in this time around I pray for favor!!!! I call in today 05/15/2014 and lady sad on 05/14/2014 that they are ready to schedule what that mean I am just waiting!!! help please

  • Anna

    Hi There,
    Its now 2 months later (its now officially a year since my hearing) and I called ODAR again, wondering what was up with my decision based on my hearing, and the clerk said it was still in “editing.” I said what do you mean editing? Are you guys writing a book? She then laughed and said, No.. the editing is not grammatical… it has to go through power of attorney and then go back to the judge, and its more like whether things are “astronomically” and correct, not grammatically . Then she says if that makes sense. I said yes, but honestly I was even more confused. LOL. She said the judge is trying to have all of the decisions mailed out by the end of the month, she reassured me that he is working hard on all of them, and to give her a call back, (she game me her extension number) if I hadn’t heard anything by July. …. So the wait continues….. Do you know what she meant by “astronomically” correct ? I have still have no idea… lol.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    I suspect you may have misheard on “astronomically.” Also, it was probably “staff attorney” rather than “power of attorney.” You can call the hearing office back for clarification. For the life of me, I cannot think of anything that would have sounded like “astronomically.”

  • tom

    If it goes to a writer is it more of a chance for it to be a denial than if it doesnt or do all letters go through this process?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    In my opinion, and that is all it is, there is a _slightly_ greater chance that a denial goes through decision writer than an approval. However, it is not dispositive. Just remember, the decision is the decision, everything else is just trying to read tea leaves.

  • tiff

    OK so June 3rd I had a hearing for ssi(mental health) in front of a judge. and about June 20th I got a letter saying they want a mental health evaluation even though I just had one when I went to rehab and got diagnosed schitso, bipoler1, PTSD and have anxiety. Is it a good sign that they want an evaluation or not? I’m in Washington state.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    If you went to drug/alcohol rehab, it may be that SSA wants to see how you function during a period of sobriety.

  • tiff

    There is really no difference. I only smoked pot. And i did it to self medicate.

  • Jamesetta Best

    Iam waiting on a hearing & my lawyer told me that it looks like their doing their own review that in fact looks good like whats that mean after its been sence 20013 my hearing was requested

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Cases are usually reviewed by the hearing office to see if they can be approved without a hearing. If they can, it means the claimant does not have to wait for a spot to open up on the judge’s hearing docket. For claimants, approval on review results in a faster decision and less waiting.

    Of course, not every case can be approved without a hearing. Those that cannot, go back to waiting for their turn to have a hearing.

    Your lawyer can provide information about what this means in your specific circumstances.

  • amanda

    I had my hearing on may 21st its now july 13th. i called my local hearing office and they stated the the judge had made a decision and that the decision letter was mailed out to me on the 9th and i should have it soon. it wasnt sent to a writer just apparently mailed right to me. the judge did not use a VE or ME. they were not even there at the hearing. apparently my judge doesnt use them period. is this a good sign? id imagine not having a ve and recieving a denial would be automatic grounds for appeal. this was a pretty fast decision so is it posdible it may be an approval?. also i asked the judge if my witness could now enter the room and testify and he would not alllow it and stated ” no witness is neccesary i belive what your telling me and your witness is just going to tell me what i have already been told” is this a good sign?also my judge has a 69 % approval rate.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    In my opinion, a judge refusing to hear any other witnesses because he believes you, sounds like he is willing to approve the case. Good luck, Amanda!

  • Amanda

    Is the the amount of time this has taken a good sign to? along with the no ve being present? also i had no lawyer i represented myself. its just nerve racking because my inintial claim was denied and my reconsideration was denied also i have been recieving disability since i was 13 years old for a lot of mental disorders and i got a letter stating they belived i was no longer disabled which is what sprung this appeal into motion.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Amanda, it sounds good. I hope it works out for you.

  • mani

    Hi my name is Mani. I had my hearing in January of 2014, has been already 7 months and still no answer.. I have an attorney but, she just doesn’t communicate with me.. I called her in May and she said that it was on judges desk for pre review, and that it should be soon! still nothing.. I took it upon myself to call ODAR and lady stated that it was still pending.. I called my attorney have not heard from her at all.. what does that mean? pending.. do they need more info or just have to wait some more? it is just so frustrated, the waiting and to have an attorney that does not communicate with me!! sorry .. hope you can advice on what to do!! thanks

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Mani. Pending just means the decision has not been issued yet. Social Security plays things close to the chest. It doesn’t give hints of what the outcome will be or when it is coming. Typically, a lawyer does not have any more idea of when SSA will issue the decision than you do. Of course, the lawyer should return your calls; if only to tell you that they are waiting just the same as you are. Good luck!

  • Amanda Summers

    i was reading above under the heading
    Social Security denials take longer to be processed
    and one of the things written their was that denials often take longer because you have to wait for a decision writer to become available. i was wondering if that was antirely accurate? because ive heard that all decisions whether approved or denied always get sent to a writer.

  • Amanda Summers

    I just got my alj decision it was a denial :(. do i get a 2 month grace period like any other hearing level allows?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Amanda. Typically, Social Security allows sixty-five days to file an appeal after a hearing denial. Five days to receive the notice and sixty days to file the appeal. However, check the denial for the specific time limits in your case.

  • A Chumbley

    This is for TomaszStasiuk my Judge has a 49 % approval rate and 34% denial rate is that good are not all I am doing now is waiting for the letter to come and hope it say approve.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    We’ve talked about your judge’s approval stats before: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/05/how-long-after-my-social-security-hearing-does-it-take-to-get-a-decision/#comment-1472508439.

    I get different percentages based on the numbers you gave.

    Some judges approve 70% of cases, some less than 30%. You have to keep in mind that the percentages just give you a rough idea of how likely a judge is to approve any set of 100 cases. It gives some idea to how a judge might consider a particular case. However at the individual case level, the judge’s preferences and the individual facts of the case have much greater importance.

  • aris

    Hi,
    I’m in the first step of filing for benifits and it has been 86 days. I was told on May 14 that they received all my medical records and the forms I had to fill out. The only thing left is to make a decision. I received the payment card in the mail and I spoke to customer service and they said the card was active for SSI as of June 30. I called ss and they say my case is still pending. What does all this means? Is it a good sign for me?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Sometimes benefits are processed before the decision can arrive: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2010/02/super-fast-social-security-disability-benefits/. However, it would be odd if your local SSA office didn’t know that the case was approved.

  • D Kidd

    Where does the actual decision letter come from at the ALJ level? I

  • Lj

    HI,
    I had my first hearing declined and it was sent for appeal, the appeals remanded it back to the judge because they felt she ignored evidence. I had the second hearing in January of this year, in the hearing the judge said she does agree I am disabled but making it fit in is the issue. I don’t understand what that means at all. It has been about 6 months since the hearing is that a bad sign?

  • Rebecca Lowe

    Ok I had my hearing June 5th. The judge didn’t have all the evidence to decide my case then so he have me an extra 30 days. He asked the vocational specialist that under the circumstances would I be allowed to work the 3 jobs she named and she was I was not employable. 30 days letter he had all the evidence and made the decision within a week. They told me that a decision writer was writing it and the judge had to do some editing. What does this mean ?

  • carla simpson

    i have a hearing this month but as i have no insurace i havnt been able to go to doctors unless i have a attack and go to hospital so lawer withdrawed my case do i need one right away…

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Sorry to hear about the lawyer. If you are asking if you should try to get another representative? Yes, I think it can make a world of difference.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    The decision writer is doing a draft, and the judge will finalize it and get it out to you.

  • Rebecca Lowe

    The decision was made not too long after the evidence came in. Is that a good sign that it may be approved ?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    While it is natural to try to read meaning into whether things are done slowly or quickly, the reality is that cases are decided on the evidence in the file and how the hearing went. That is why I warn about “trying to read the tea leaves” in the post above. Good luck, Rebecca!

  • Rebecca Lowe

    Ok thanks I will keep you posted

  • wanda vaisvilas

    You aint getting a dime tiff they will believe you will spend your cash on pot instead of your more important needs of survival

  • chuck

    How long after I had a in valuation the

    judge has to make a decision

  • mani

    Hi Tomas.. I need a tip on what to do on my case. I received my unfavorable decision a few days ago.. and that has me very confused, for I feel there are major errors on it! I have an attorney but he hasn’t called me back since Monday.. I really need to fire him!!! Anyway., I had my hearing in January 2014, and I really thought it went well, especially after the judge ask the VE if due to my panic attacks, could I work, and she said no!,, here are the errors that I feel it has,.. it states that I was assisted by an interpreter, as you can see I don’t need one .. a lot of the questions judge asked me, were misinterpret on paper.. one example, he asked if I did my own chores, I replied yes it takes me all day but have too for I can’t afford a provider.. well on paper it says I said I was perfectly fine doing my own chores.. not correct!! This is the statement that has me confuse..it says, that the undersigned finds that the impairments listed above are severe medically determinable impairments as they cause limitations or restrictions that have more than a minimal effect on the claimant’s ability to perform basic work-related activities, the claimant has severe impairment on the hands, knees and osteopenia.. I really don’t understand all that it says after that I had 3 TIA’s one left weak that I have to have a cane at all times.. it wasn’t on paper.. what can I do .. do I have grounds for an appeal? can I change lawyers? PLEASE HELP!!

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Review the decision for the time limits (usually 60 + 5 days) to appeal and the process required. New evidence can be submitted on appeal and it is possible to get a new lawyer. However, it can be difficult to get a lawyer when s/he was not the lawyer at the hearing (at best, s/he has 60 days to get up to speed on the case AND prepare an appeal brief).

    I can’t walk you through the appeals process. However you can read up on it here: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/category/milestones/appeals-council-milestones/

  • mani

    Thanks.. It does say I have 60+ days to appeal.. and as soon as I get an answer from my attorney it will be done! and already working on my new evidence and new medical records.. believe me I’m researching every code on the letter.. I do feel it has errors in it! I truly do thank you for your time!!

  • Martinique Carmichael

    Hi i have a question i called to check the status of my sons ssi claim and they told me a decision was made and she couldnt tell me over the phone.she said they made a decidion on the 19th but she also said they havent sent a decision notice out yet. Why is that

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    While Social Security has sped up the disability process in many ways over the last two years, one area that is still frustratingly slow is in getting letters out in the mail. Sadly, I often see the letters postmarked 3-5 days after the date on the letter.

  • Tom

    Hi, I had my hearing on Jan. 2. The judge told me at the hearing that I won my case (as did my lawyer) but it’s been almost 9 months and I haven’t heard anything. All the lawyer’s office can say is that the decision is still in process and that my particular judge is very slow. They DID call the judge’s office a month ago and were told the decision has been handed down to be processed. Can I make the assumption that I won my claim even though it is taking this long?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hello fellow Tom. I would not make any assumptions about the outcome. No news is no news. It is possible to get your Congressperson involved in putting pressure on the judge. However, that has its own risks. http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/10/should-you-get-your-congressperson-involved/

  • jamie

    hello I applied for disability and was told that my status says hold can u tell me was I approved is that a good or bad thing? Thank you

  • stationone123

    What do I do if I’m rejected by the decision writer? I’m losing my apartment and have to get a job against my doctor’s orders resulting in my spinal cord hematoma rupturing which will instantly paralyze me from the waste down. Should suicide be an alternative decision in this situation? I’ll give it two more weeks and that’s my deadline…literally!

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    I am not familiar with “hold” status. It could be the Social Security is waiting for something. This could be a post hearing consultative examination, additional evidence, maybe even waiting on an available decision writer. Let me know if you find out.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Keep in mind the decision writer does not decide the case. The decision writer is part of the hearing office staff and helps the judge get the work done. In the decision writers case, the writer helps draft the decision. However, it is the judge’s decision you get, not the writer’s.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    2 week deadline? You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change. There are people you can talk to. (305) 358-4357 is one source. (800) 784-2433 is another. Give them a call today. Ok?