How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Will a Disability Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Hearing?

Question: Will the adminstrative law judge, i.e the disability judge, ever give you a decision on the spot, at the hearing?

And 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 attorney submitting a well organized brief to the judge prior to the hearing date helps as well. What is a hearing brief? Think of it as a synopsis of the case elements along with a rationale for approving the disability case.

A disability lawyer who submits a brief to an Administrative Law Judge for a Social Security Disability or SSI claim is intent on demonstrating to the judge two things: A) why it is that the case should be approved and B) saving time for all parties, including the judge, which is reason enough to submit the brief, but also in doing so, it may save valuable time for the claimant whose finances are on the rope, so to speak.

The submission of a pre-hearing brief also indicates that a disability lawyer has a firm belief in the merits of the case and this fact is probably not lost on the judge who receives the brief.

What usually happens at disability hearings?

What happens at most disability hearings is that the claimant and their representative (assuming they are represented by a disability attorney or a non-attorney claimant's representative) will participate in the hearing proceedings for as little as ten minutes and perhaps as long as an hour 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, 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 flavors:

1. Fully favorable - Meaning that the judge agrees with the disability onset date alleged by the claimant at the time of filing the disability claim;

2. Partially favorable - Meaning that 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 awarded to 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.

In instances where a disability claimant is notified at the hearing that the case will be paid (i.e. you've won), it's likely that the case was well-presented and well-prepared in terms of evidence gathering and this highlights the fact that at the hearing level having a disability attorney on the case can be instrumental.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

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
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
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Wisconsin?

If you apply for disability in in Wisconsin

Getting a Disability Lawyer in Wisconsin

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.