January 21, 2011

Indiana Social Security Disability Hearing Bench Decisions

Indianapolis Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants often find themselves being denied their Social Security disability benefits. As these disability claimants fight for what they believe they deserve, they appeal the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) denial by requesting the SSA to reconsider their claim. This is called a “request for reconsideration.” Often, this request is again denied by the SSA which leads to a second appeal in which a disability claimant will request that their claim be heard in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This appeal is called “a request for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge.”

Indiana Social Security Disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis represents disability claimants who have been denied SSDI or SSI benefits.  At the law office of Scott D. Lewis, Attorney at Law, LLC, Mr. Lewis and his staff understand their client’s frustration when it comes to the appeals process and the length of time it takes to get in front of an ALJ.  As Mr. Lewis prepares for his client’s disability hearing, he continues to gather medical evidence to support his client’s disability claim, prepares a brief for the judge and also discusses with his clients what they can expect at the hearing.  Most of his clients are eager to know how soon after the hearing they will find out if they won their disability claim.

Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis explains to his clients to be prepared to go home from the hearing without knowing if they won their disability claim or not.  In most cases, the judge will give a written decision which may take months.  Written decisions vary in time based on the judge and other factors involved in decision writing.  In some instances, it is very clear that the claim should be granted and in these cases, the ALJ might issue a “bench decision.What is a bench decision?  A bench decision is simply that, a decision made by the judge from his bench.  Bench decisions are always fully favorable decisions and the judge states his reasons for granting the claim at the hearing. Although bench decisions can be rare, they are more efficient for both the judge and the SSA staff.   In addition, a bench decision is beneficial to the disability claimant because the claimant can leave the hearing room knowing that they won their claim and no longer have the stress of wondering if they will once again be denied.  Typically, within a short time after receiving a bench decision, the claimant will receive a short summary from the hearing office indicating that a fully-favorable decision was issued on the day of their hearing and they were approved for SSDI or SSI benefits.

Indianapolis disability attorneys like Scott Lewis are eager to hear an Administrative Law Judge announce a bench decision.  In Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, it can greatly speed up the processing of a favorable decision.  In Mr. Lewis’ experience, when a judge issues a bench decision, the evidence of his client’s disabling condition is so clear that no further investigation into the claim is needed and warrants a fast conclusion to a lengthy wait.

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