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How Do I Know If My Disability Hearing Went Well?

Last updated: April 12, 2023

After a disability hearing, most disability claimants feel relieved that their case has been heard. There is no doubt that the plaintiff has submitted all the necessary medical evidence, attended doctor's appointments, followed treatment, and prepared for the administrative law judge's (ALJ) line of questioning. The ALJ would reach a favorable decision after the hearing if all the factors were in order.

The reality is, however, that claimants do not always know the outcome of their case when they leave the courtroom. Your hearing may have gone well if some signs point in that direction.

Disability attorneys represent people who have been denied benefits at the stages of the appeals process and are now going through the disability hearings. If you need assistance obtaining disability benefits, they are ready to represent you on your behalf. They offer a free consultation as part of the initial process.

Experts Say You Have A Listed Impairment

Several impairments are listed on the disability benefits website; if the medical expert testifies your condition is equal or equivalent to one of them, this qualifies you for benefits. There are five steps in the Social Security Administration's disability evaluation process when you meet a listing and are found disabled at step three.

During most disability hearings, you will also be expected to receive detailed questions from the ALJ about your condition, its effects on your work and relationships with loved ones, and how it affects how you live your life. 

A Vocational Expert's Testimony Supports Your Disability Claim

When claimants do not meet or equal a listed impairment, a vocational expert may be invited to attend a disability hearing. ALJs frequently ask a vocational expert hypothetical questions. In such a case, it is a good indicator that the ALJ will deem you a disabled person and award benefits to you if the vocational expert says there are no jobs you could do - including any jobs you may have done in the past.

Sometimes, the ALJ may not decide to involve a vocational expert in a disability hearing or will not ask the expert to provide testimony at the hearing. This is not necessarily bad and often means that the ALJ will have a strong opinion about your medical condition's severity. Based on the existing medical evidence, they will probably think your condition is sufficiently severe to be considered disabled.

The ALJ Issues A Bench Decision At Your Hearing

The ALJ may issue bench decisions in certain cases. You will receive a written decision from the ALJ within a few days after the hearing informing you of the success of your disability claim and that you can expect to receive the decision within a few days. A bench decision is generally granted based on the quality of the preparation and the consistency of the testimony of the witnesses.

If there is no bench decision in your case, you should not take the ALJ's demeanor as an indication of how the case will be decided. As a rule, you should not assume that the outcome of a disability hearing will be different based on the way the ALJ treated you during the hearing. However, if you think that you have been treated unfairly by your ALJ or if you believe that your hearing was handled unfairly, you can file a complaint with the Division of Quality Services if you believe that bias has been shown.

When Will Your Disability Decision Be Announced?

The average time for a disability hearing to be decided is two to three months after the hearing is conducted. Disability hearings are conducted through a process in which the duration does not necessarily indicate whether or not the case will succeed.

All the medical evidence submitted will need to be evaluated before it can be considered. You may have a complex condition that requires the ALJ to spend more time reviewing your case if you have one. It is important to remember that there may be several factors that are at play. As a consequence of the backlog of other cases, the decision-making phase may be prolonged due to the backlog.

If you receive a notice from the ALJ informing you of the decision, you should read it carefully as soon as you receive it. This report will let you know if you have been approved or denied disability benefits and explain why you were denied them.

Partially vs. Fully Favorable Decisions

You can receive a partially or fully favorable decision if you are approved for benefits. In a fully favorable decision, the ALJ obtained the date you requested for the alleged onset of your disability during the time you filed the claim for benefits, which is the date you claim you became disabled.

It is necessary to remember that a partially favorable decision means that your claim was approved, although the ALJ could not agree with the alleged onset date you requested. During the meeting, they will give you a different onset date and adjust any back payments owed to you as well. Due to the change, there would be no impact on your monthly benefits.

There is a 60-day window in which you can ask the Appeals Council to review the hearing decision if you are not approved for benefits or otherwise receive an unfavorable outcome. You can hire a lawyer to help you write the appeal on your behalf if you need help.

Get Help From An Experienced Lawyer

The outcome of your disability hearing can be improved if you have an experienced lawyer. It is your attorney's goal to ensure that your initial application is in order, that the disability hearing is conducted correctly and that you are prepared to answer questions about your condition in a timely manner, so your chances of approval increase.

Most teams at competent law firms are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer your questions. You can get a free initial consultation with a lawyer, and there are no upfront costs associated while your attorneys are working on it. The only way they get paid is if they are successful in helping you get benefits.

Applying for Social Security's benefits can be an overwhelming process. If you are interested in seeking SSDI benefits, check out our article on Social Security Disability for ADHD. To learn more, visit DisabilityHelp.org today!

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
Do You Qualify?
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