Social Security Judge Told Me She Approved My Disability Case

I was recently asked the following question:

The judge at my husband’s hearing said she was going to approve him. She said she would get his letter to him in the next 2 or 3 weeks, but NO letter yet.

Since she approved him during his hearing when will his benefits start?

Social Security cannot process benefits until a decision is entered. While a judge can issue a “bench decision” by orally reading a ruling into the record at the hearing, this is fairly rare. More commonly, when a judge tells you how she is going to rule, it is not the decision. It is a “preview” and “summary” of the outcome so you do not have to worry whether you will be found disabled or not.

The decision still needs to be written and electronically entered before the local Social Security office (in SSI cases) or regional payment center (in SSDI cases) can begin processing your benefits. The processing of your benefits can take a few weeks, up to a few months, before your benefits are released. However, with Social Security offices now using electronic files, the local Social Security office or payment center does not have to wait for a paper copy of the decision to start processing your benefits.

Basically, even when a judge tells you the outcome, you still have to wait for the decision to be entered, and for Social Security to process your benefits. So, even though at lot of the worrying is behind you, there is still more waiting ahead.

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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  • mary

    I had my hearing for disibilty on Feb 29, 2012 and the judge find in my favor. The vocational expert didnt even get a chance to talk.  I want to know when will I receive my paperwork, award letter.  All the judge said was you should hear something by the end of the week and thats been almost 4 weeks ago and havent heard anything!  How long does it really take to get your letter..
    Thank you

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Hi, Mary. I re-read you comment a few times. I am not sure if you have received the decision yet. While the judge may tell you how s/he will rule, that is typically not the decision. If you have not received a formal written decision, give the hearing office a call to ask when you might expect it. The telephone number will be on the Notice of Hearing.

    If you already have a decision, your local SSA office should be able to give you an idea of where you are in the benefit process. You can also call the toll free Social Security number at 1-800-772-1213 for this information.

    Good luck!

  • mary

    Thank you for reading my comment…..At the hearing the judge asked me questions…then about 20min into the hearing he said that he was not going to go any further that he has ruled in my favor and he looked at me and smiled and said…You deserve it…..I have been working since I was 16 and 48 now…so I am sure that helped alot…I just dont like the waiting, anyway thanks for answering me.
    Have a great day!!

  • Artavia Anderson

    No good news for me once again an unfavorable decision. Stressed to the max, I have no idea what they want from me.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Hang in there. And if you need help, look around for a local lawyer. :)

  • Artavia Anderson

    Tom this is stressful, I have already lost with a lawyer 2 times already. Thanks and I just feel tired and I don’t have the energy to fight anymore been denied in 2006, 2007, appeal in 2009, five months later a unfavorable decision for SSD. Then applied for SSI IN 2009 per my lawyer’s advice, I was denied, hearing in 2011 due to filing an appeal and then an unfavorable decision again. Too much for me to take on mentally.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    I believe you. Trying to get Social Security disability benefits is one of the hardest things a person can do. 

  • Jannis

    Hi Tom I went before a law judge on July 12,2013 I was awarded my SSID I no it’s still very early but how long will it take to get my award notice. Thank you jannis

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Jannis, in my experience it takes about 30 to 90 days for the decision to be issues and an additional 30 to 90 days (after that) for the benefits to begin.

  • sandy

    Hi i got my letter from the administration judge saying that i was approved for disability. Ss is going to call me on the 16th of this month, July for incpme. I have no income, except i do get foodstamps. Do they look at just rhat or how far back do they go to figure out the amount u get.

    Sandy Jump

  • ANDROIDaddict

    I had my hearing on July 30th, its august 27 and I received a call from SSA. I was left a voicemail by someone at the odar office telling me my decision letter is being sent out today. I called odar back and was told yes my letter was being sent out but it could take about 5 days due to it being sent out to be processed (which I have no idea what process they mean). My question is if it was a denial would it have to be “processed “? And its been a month, my decision letters on its way. Is this a good sign? My hearing went well the VE ruled out work due to my issues and my CE report from SSA psychiatrist said my GAF is 47 (below 50 is good sign) as well as rfc from my doc saying I can’t work. Also I lost last Job Due to panic attack and that employer sent in letter on my behalf.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    I think “processed” effectively means printed and mailed. This is often done at an eastern state processing center. I often see letters postmarked several days after the date of the letter and the letters take longer to arrive than locally mailed letters.

  • ANDROIDaddict

    This process is extremely frustrating and emotionally overbearing. Honestly i just want to know where i stand so i can make a plan for my life. If im denied, i dont think i am going to appeal to the A.C. because i dont wanna fight this system anymore. I am gonna attempt to go back into the workforce full time. I just pray that if i do, I can maintain a normal structure and routine of a job because throughout my work history it has always been a unbalanced pattern of success and ultimately failure due to what i have going on. The last job i had that lasted for at least a year or more was in 2006. And even then i was not really emotionally and mentally content and stable for no significant amount of time. Its PRIDE. My pride tells me i can handle working. Pride tells me i dont need the help. Pride tells me i can do it and then when i attempt to, i always end up on a downwards spiral of psychological chaos. This is what i told the ALJ. Basically how i just told you. That i want a normal life and routine but that i just cant maintain it unless i have a pristine support system of understanding, medical treatment, and people to help me and depend on. And i really dont have none of that.

    So i dont think i can take another couple years of my life to struggle fighting a system for insurance that i am entitled to yet being discriminated against, having my credibility attacked, and all around having my financial well being and livelihood being in the hands of some person who knows nothing about my inner struggle but chooses to think they do because they have a small amount of power.
    To everyone going through knowing you deserve it and your not just trying to get a free lunch, my heart is with you. These last 3 years have been the most chaotic and stressful years i have battled with from the doctors/lawyers/work attempts/to being humiliated by people who are themselves liars and thieves.
    God Bless

  • Gina

    I received a letter from the judge dated June 26, 2014 saying my case was “Fully Favorable” I’m so happy about that! It has been 60 days now and I have called my local office twice. The first time they said my case was in Virginia for quality review. What is “Quality Review” mean? The second time I called, which was just a couple of days ago they said it was in Baltimore. How much longer do you think I will have to wait to receive my back pay and my monthly money? Also, will I received back pay for my 16 year old child? Thanks so much! Gina

  • TomaszStasiuk

    It can take 30 to 90 days after the hearing decision for benefits to be processed and begun. Children can receive benefits if they have a disabled parent, if the parent is applying for SSDI benefits. There are no children s benefits available if the parent is only receiving SSI benefits.

  • Gina

    Thanks so much for the information on this! Do you know what it means that my case went for “Quality Review” in Virginia? Maybe that is why it’s taking so long.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    QR is a review of the judge’s decision to ensure it conforms with Social Security’s rules and regulations. In practice, it risks turning an approval into a denial. However, as you indicate your case was approved even after QR, that would not appear to be the case here. Clearly though, having another set of eyes review the judge’s decision adds processing time.

  • Gina

    After a fully favorable decision is it normal practice to do a QR on every case?

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Nope. You are one of the lucky few.

  • william e. mccormick

    my husbands lawyer called on aug 13, 2014 said judge office had called and my disability has been approved , how long will it take before I get my check started, and I don’t know if lawyer is setting up my direct deposit I cant remember if I gave them my bank information. I wish I could find out how long its gonna take for them to start my check.

  • james1967

    Can a judge reverse his decision. After he verbally agreed. That I was disabled at the hearing. My case wasn’t to be herd June 2015.. my case was expedited October 9th 2014.. now I wait in limbo land.. when do I start to see my letter.. @ that time it goes to payment process center for my award.One more question. When do I add on my daughter age 6 I don’t know? Living homeless ..freezing. in Virginia. Thank you. James

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Approximate time are 30 to 90 days for the decision plus 30 to 90 days for benefit processing. You can contact your local SSA office now to see if they have your daughter listed as a potential beneficiary if you get your benefits. Good luck James!

  • Jame1967

    Thank your post

  • john64

    Hi my name is John. On Dec 12 14 my attorney and I went in front of the alj and received a full favorable decision. And now the ssa said they can still deny my case. How’s that possible? Confused.

  • valerie

    Keep up the fight…otherwise when u realize you have no choice with debilitating pain 12 yrs later, you lose all the back pay you are rightfully due! I’m thankful my well deserved husband was finally approved but I am very bitter he should have been receiving $$$ for 12 years but a foolish attorney told him to give up.Don’t ever miss an appeal if you feel in your heart you are deserving!

  • Redneck

    i had my hearing on 03/25/15..everything went good…two things…1 i had a phone hearing and when the judge put me on hold for the V.E they never answerd the iam thinking..thats a plus in my book… 2 . also i did heve a ss atty..he requested that all my mediacal evedence be submitted..and the judge appoved iam thinking in about june of 2015 ill have it..i was sweating bullets when i was on the phone with them but other then that…thinking the case went well..i havent heard from my atty to see if he thinks ill get it..

  • Nina

    I had my hearing on March 11, 2015. Lawyer said it went well, I don’t know.. I have a bad work history, by that I mean I have been mostly stay at home mom and when I worked alot was under the table.. Will that go against me? And if I do get it what is the average you get with a bad work history? Someone asaid 400, I thought 700..Thanks. She did asked me how many kids I have. I have 7 and one still at home..

  • sheila mendoza

    ss ask if its a SSD for Sheila Mike SSI SSD for Sheila by MentosMendoza

  • sheila mendoza

    On several occasion I apply for mental disorder and where miss lead I was approve by DDS for mental disorder how far back do I get benefit