After a Social Security Disability hearing, one of the most difficult aspects is waiting for the hearing decision to arrive in the mail.

What The Disability Hearing Outcomes Are and What They Mean

There are generally three possible hearing decision outcomes:

A Fully Favorable hearing decision is an approval of disability benefits by the judge that heard your case, and generally grants a disability onset date that is in agreement with the onset date alleged (or claimed) by the claimant.

A Partially Favorable hearing decision is a partial approval of disability benefits by the judge that heard your case; however, it is different from a Fully Favorable decision because the administrative law judge (ALJ) has changed some aspect of your claim. In other words, the ALJ may have granted disability benefits starting at a later date than you claimed as your disability onset date, or perhaps the judge might have approved your claim for only a “closed period” of benefits instead of ongoing disability benefits.

An Unfavorable hearing decision is a denial of disability benefits and disapproval of your claim by the judge that heard your case.

An Unfavorable Decision Does Not Have To Be The End of The Line

What happens if you do not receive a Fully Favorable hearing decision? You have the right to file an appeal with the Appeals Council OR to file a new application for benefits; however, you cannot do both, you must choose to appeal the hearing decision or to file a new application.1 The decision to file a new application or to file an appeal with the Appeals Council is case-specific and something that will be discussed between you and your representative.

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Filing An Appeal Of An Unfavorable Decision

If you choose to file an appeal with the Appeals Council you have sixty (60) days from the date of the hearing decision in which to file an appeal. You should file a Social Security Form HA-520 Request for Review of Decision/Order of Administrative Law Judge, as well as a statement explaining why you disagree with the Judge’s decision.

If your representative is appealing for you, this should be done on your behalf, by your representative. The appeal form and statement should be filed with the Appeals Council at 5107 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041, as well as with your local SSA office. Once the appeal has been filed the Appeals Council will either review your claim/appeal or deny your request for review. Currently, it typically takes 15-18 months for the Appeals Council to make a decision and to mail the decision out to you and/or your representative.

About Citizens Disability, LLC:

Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled.

[1] There are a few, rare exceptions to this regulation that might allow a claimant to file an appeal with the Appeals Council and a new application simultaneously. This should be discussed with your representative.

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