Why does the administrative law judge take so long to write a decision? (SSDI)?

I was told the longer it takes you are more likely to get approved. (60 days)

The shorter it takes you will most likely be denied. 

What is the truth behind all this?

This is for a family member. 

4 Answers

Relevance
  • Judith
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    Some hearings offices are busier than others.  When unemployment is high in a given area more and more people file for disability benefits.  The social security offices in the states they live in become in become inundated with disability claims from people who aren't severely disabled - they have minor health issues and are desperate for an income from any source.  Those people are denied and file appeals.  The hearings offices don't have the staff to handle them all (in fact in some states, the hearings are held via video and the ALJ is in an entirely different state).

    As for why it might take longer to process after the hearing is held.  Some ALJs have a hard time making a decision.  Sometimes they want more evidence and set up consultative exams.  Usually it's because they don't have enough writers - the ALJ tells whether it's approved or not and the writers have to come up with lengthy rationales which are pages long.  Plus we've just had many major holidays - a time when employees take vacations.  Also they might have "use or lose" vacation time accrued and must use it up or lose it before the end of the year.  

    You are correct, though, that a person who has been denied will hear from social security before a person who has been approved.  Why?  Because the denial notice is released when written whereas if a claim has been approved then it is sent to Baltimore for processing and since Baltimore handles most social security disability claims (for people under age 60) for the entire United States, it can take quite awhile to be processed; especially if there is non-disability, outstanding evidence which must be obtained first, e.g. proof of worker's comp which reduces SS disability benefits or proofs of age or whatever.

    You can always call 1-800-772-1213 and ask them where your file is.  If it is still in the hearings office then the decision hasn't yet been made or it hasn't been written up.  If it's gone on to Baltimore and you haven't gotten a denial notice then the odds are that your claim has been approved.

    If you've filed for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) the file is sent to your nearest SS office for processing.

    I was a SS claims rep for 32 yrs.

    • Log in to reply to the answers
  • 1 month ago

    Because they hear dozens and dozens of cases.

    • Log in to reply to the answers
  • 1 month ago

    It's due to the backlog of court cases. I'm sure they'd like to move every case along as quickly as possible, but circumstances prevent it.

    • Log in to reply to the answers
  • 1 month ago

    The court is probably swamped with cases.  If you want to sue someone in the US, you might wait 18 months to 2 years to get a court date.  I've heard they do this on purpose to encourage out-of-court settlements.

    But if they do decide in your favor, you'll get full back-payments.

    • Log in to reply to the answers
Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.