Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

How Long Does It Take To Get The Results Of A Disability Hearing?

Here are recent statistics provided by SSA on this issue: "As of March of this year, about 1.1 million claimants were waiting on a hearing decision, and the average processing time for a claim was about 518 days...with the average age of 318 days, measured as the time from the date of the hearing request."

This does not mean, however, that all cases take only approximately one and a half years (518 days) from beginning to end. Very often, they take 2-3 years. It does mean, however, that it can take a long time to get a hearing date.

Unfortunately, as to the answer to anyone's specific case and situation, that is nearly impossible to know.

In most instances, it will take at least a number of weeks to get the results of a Social Security disability administrative law judge hearing. And sometimes the waiting for an ALJ's (Administrative Law Judge) hearing decision can be considerable as the recent statistics quoted indicate.

ALJs will often inform the claimant that they may receive written notification 45 days to 90 days after the hearing date. However, it is not unusual for a hearing office to deliver a decision on a disability hearing only after several months have passed.

Needless to say, most disability applicants do not get the results of their hearing at the hearing itself.

When a claimant does receive an indication of a decision, it may be informal in the sense that the judge will indicate to the claimant and the claimant's disability attorney that they intend to pay the claim.

However, regarding this type of indication from a judge, it should be pointed out that there have been cases in which a claimant and their disability lawyer were told of a judge's intent to pay a claim, but were surprised to learn that the case was not actually approved.

Translation: In such instances it may be wise not to consider the case concluded until a either a partially favorable or fully favorable notice of decision has been received.

There are, of course, situations in which a judge will deliver a bench decision at a hearing. This is a formal decision that is definitive and which can save weeks or months of time waiting for a decision. The chance of receiving a bench decision will increase when a claimant's attorney or non-attorney Social Security representative submits a well organized brief to the judge prior to the hearing date. (see Types of decisions from a disability judge ).

Why does it take so long to receive the formal results of your disability hearing? Most administrative law judges do not write their own disability decisions. Judges most often send their disability decisions to decision writers (usually, a staff attorney at a hearing office).

Once the decision writer completes their written decision, they return the decision to the administrative law judge or ALJ to review and make corrections. Of course, if there are corrections to be made it can take even longer to get the formal disability decision to the disability applicant.

Many disability applicants, fortunately, do receive their Notice of Decision in forty-five to ninety days after their hearing. A Notice of Decision outlines the medical records considered and other criteria used for the hearing decision along with the hearing decision.

If a disability applicant is approved for disability benefits, they will also receive an official award letter from Social Security explaining how much their monthly disability benefit is expected to be, as well as the month they became eligible for a disability benefit payment. There will follow more letters with regard to back payments and other payment issues.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
Basic Facts about the Administrative Law Judge Social Security Disability Hearing
Are the Chances of Winning Disability Benefits Higher at a Social Security Hearing with a Judge?
Winning at a Social Security Disability Hearing
Social Security Disability Hearings - what to expect
What happens when you go to a Social Security disability hearing?
Preparing for a Disability Hearing to Win Social Security or SSI Benefits
Presenting evidence at a social security disability or SSI hearing
How Long Does It Take To Get The Results Of A Disability Hearing?
Do Most People Have To Go To A Disability Hearing in order to Get Approved For Disability?
Can you be approved for disability without having to go to a hearing?
Waiting for a Hearing to be Scheduled before an ALJ, Administrative Law Judge
Vocational expert at a disability hearing - what is this?
Social Security Disability Hearings - What is the ALJ

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria