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Will a Social Security Judge give me an immediate decision at the Disability Hearing?  Laura, Eldridge
What happens at most Social Security Disability hearingsis that the claimant and their lawyer will participate in the hearing proceedings and, then, after the hearing has been concluded, both parties will wait a number of weeks to receive the administrative law judge’s notice of decision. The will be followed by a notice of award from the social security office if the case has been approved by the judge.
The notice of decision comes in three forms:
1. Fully Favorable– This means the judge agrees the claimant is entitled to Social Security Disability benefits and agrees with the disability onset date alleged by the claimant at the time of filing the disability claim;
2. Partially Favorable– This means the judge has found that the claimant meets the social security administration definition of disability and can be considered disabled, but the judge, however, does not agree with the onset date alleged by the claimant and has concluded that the claimant became disabled at a later point in time (disability lawyers will argue for the earliest possible onset date because this has a direct effect on how much back pay may be awardedto the claimant).
3. Unfavorable– This one should be self-explanatory. In these cases, the judge has evaluated the medical and vocational evidence and has determined that the claimant’s condition is either non-severe, or is severe but not severe enough to last twelve months (this is a durational denial), or is severe but not severe enough to rule out the claimant’s ability to go back to their past work or perform some type of other work activity.
Will the Administrative Law Judge ever give you a decision on the spot, at the hearing?
The answer is, yes, sometimes the ALJ will do this. When this happens, it is known as a bench decision. The judge will announce the decision to the claimant and their representative at the hearing and the formal written version of the decision will follow in the mail.

Why do some cases receive bench decisions while others do not?
Good presentation of a well-prepared case probably makes all the difference in receiving an immediate bench decision. The claimant’s disability attorneysubmitting a well-organized records and documents to the judge prior to the hearing date helps as well.
Nelson, Bryan & Cross almost always takes a statement under oath from our clients’ treating physician. We spend money on the statement in advance to help our clients win. This is often the difference between winning and losing.  Call and ask us about this and other issues regarding Social Security or our other practice area.


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