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