January 8, 2010

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing Decision

scales.JPGAre you an Indiana resident that has appeared in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for your Social Security disability benefits hearing? Like most claimants, learning the terminology used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) can very confusing and difficult to understand. Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis always attempts to assists his clients with any confusion that they may have during the appeals process.

Once you have had your hearing, the SSA will send you a notice with their decision. Claimants will receive a letter stating one of the following results:

  • fully favorable;
  • unfavorable;
  • partially favorable; or
  • dismissed.

The claimant’s ultimate goal is to receive a fully favorable decision.  This means that you have won your claim and should receive the past due and monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits that you deserve. 

The next best hearing result would be a partially favorable decision.  This decision means that the ALJ believes that you are disabled and unable to work but did not find you to be disabled on the date that you alleged that your disability began.  The reason for a different onset date can sometimes be attributed to the medical evidence not substantiating the date that you believe that you became disabled.  Lawyer Scott Lewis advises his clients to read this notice carefully because you may lose some of your past due benefits.  If the ALJ found the evidence of your disability to be strong enough to give you a favorable decision but decided that your disability onset date was different than what you alleged, the ALJ will determine the date of your disability and give past due payments based on that date.  If the ALJ decides that your onset date (the date you became disabled) is after your date of last insured, you may only qualify for SSI benefits.  This doesn’t mean that a claimant will never get SSDI benefits with this decision, it may all depends on the onset date determined by the judge. 

Some claimants will receive a notice stating the result is an unfavorable decision.  Unfortunately, this means that you have lost your claim.  An unfavorable decision can be appealed to the Appeals Council.  Scott Lewis advises that if you decide to appeal your unfavorable decision, you may want to consult an attorney.  The appeals process can be very complicated and may require careful attention.  A qualified Social Security disability lawyer may be able to properly assist you in this process.

If you received a notice stating that your claim has been dismissed, there may be several reasons for this decision.  Some dismissals are determined because the claimant did not show up for their hearing and the court was not satisfied with the reasons for not appearing at the hearing.  You must show good cause to the court when missing your hearing.  Other reasons for a dismissal may be that the SSA has discovered that your claim has already been decided on the same issues with the same facts.  You cannot file a claim that has already been decided.  On the other hand, if you believe that you are not re-filing a previous claim or you believe that you did show good cause for missing your hearing date, you may appeal the SSA’s decision with the Appeals Council.

If your initial claim for Social Security disability benefits has been denied, you must take the appropriate steps to get a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge.  Attorney Scott D. Lewis can help you through this process and fight for the benefits that you deserve.  For a free consultation, call Scott Lewis at (317) 423-8888.

Filed under:Hearings ProcessSocial Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Author: