So you have waited quite a long time for your upcoming Social Security disability hearing and think you will finally get an answer to your appeal. Well the truth is, you probably have another waiting period to endure before you receive a decision in the mail. Indianapolis Social Security attorney Scott D. Lewis often gets asked by his clients when will they find out if they have won or lost their Indiana Social Security disability appeal. There are a few different scenarios that can take place at the conclusion of your Social Security disability hearing.
If you are one of the lucky few, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may make a bench decision. After a judge hears testimony, if he/she believes the claimant is disabled, he/she can make a fully favorable bench decision. In Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience a bench decision can speed up the time it takes in processing a disability claim. The Administrative Law Judge usually reads into the record his/her reasons for granting the disability claim. Some judges make bench decisions on a routine basis when granting claims, while other judges rarely, if ever, use bench decisions. So what happens if you are not a lucky recipient of a bench decision? You shouldn’t think you have lost your disability claim because there are other ways judges decide disability claims.
Many judges do not make the decision on your disability claim the day you are in court. Although almost all Social Security disability hearings have a similar theme, many judges decide claims using a different process. Some Administrative Law Judges will have already looked over your file before the hearing. These judges then get testimony from the claimant and then make a decision. Other judges may not have looked at your record at all before the hearing and first take your testimony before looking at medical documentation. Mr. Lewis believes you can usually tell if the judge has looked at your record prior to the hearing based on the questions the judge asks the Social Security disability claimant.
If the judge does not give you a bench decision, a determination is mailed to you and your representative/lawyer after the hearing. This process can take months and can seem even longer when you are awaiting a decision that impacts you and your families lives on such a large scale. Mr. Lewis receives many calls during this waiting period from clients asking if the process can be made shorter. Unfortunately, at this stage it is in the judge’s hands and a disability claimant can only wait to find the decision in their mailbox.
Will the Administrative Law Judge tell me if I have lost my disability claim at the hearing? In Mr. Lewis’ experience this has never happened, unless the issue is not concerning the disabling condition. A claim could be dismissed due to failure to meet filing deadlines or other non-medical reasons. Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis has attended numerous hearings and usually can tell his clients what their chances are after leaving the courtroom. It should be noted however, there are no guarantees. It is ultimately the judge’s final decision. So will you know if you have won or lost your case at the conclusion of your hearing? Don’t count on it. Odds are you will receive a written decision in the mail months after the hearing takes place.