How long do I have to wait for a Disability hearing decision?

There’s no specific timetable, but it’s not uncommon for people to wait 45 to 90 days.

Don’t expect an immediate Disability hearing decision. Just like other aspects of the Social Security Disability process, you will likely wait weeks, or even months, for a decision letter to arrive in the mail.

The delay is largely due to paperwork. Once an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has heard all the testimony and reviewed the evidence, he or she will issue a written opinion (explanation) of their decision. The opinion, however, is usually not written up by the ALJ. A decision-writer on staff will draft the “Notice of Decision” letter, which then must be reviewed, edited and approved by the Judge.

Because decision-writers are often backed up due to the tremendous amount of Disability hearings, it takes time for this document to be completed and mailed to you. Many ALJs inform claimants during their hearing that they will receive written notification of their decision within 45 to 90 days, but it can sometimes be even longer than this.

Of course, there are exceptions. There have been instances in which an ALJ will render a decision during the hearing, eliminating all that waiting and worrying. This is known as an oral bench decision. The Judge will announce his or her decision at the hearing and the formal, written version of their decision will come in the mail at a later date.

Most people who receive immediate bench decisions are represented by an experienced Disability attorney who presented an ironclad case. There’s also a good chance their attorney submitted a brief in advance, outlining the case and the reasons why it should be approved.

A Disability hearing before an Administrative Law Judge is a lot like trial, except much shorter. Experienced Disability attorneys know how to best present the evidence, question witnesses and deliver persuasive arguments. A well-presented case can cut down on the wait time and help you receive a Disability hearing decision faster.

The attorneys at McDonald Law Firm have successfully represented thousands of clients during Disability appeals hearings. It would be our privilege to represent you, too. Give us a call at 877-568-8413 or just fill out the form at the top of this page.

We hope you found this information helpful. Please visit our Disability FAQ page to see other questions like, “How long do I have to wait for a Disability hearing decision.

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