What Does My Social Security Disability Hearing Ruling Mean?

Back to Articles

Posted by Corey Luedeman

After you have gone through a disability hearing with an Administrative Law Judge, you will receive a letter from the Social Security Administration. This letter will likely arrive a few weeks or a month after the hearing. The letter will include what the decision of your hearing is and what that decision was based upon. If you have an attorney, they will also receive a copy of the letter.

Denied Disability Benefits

If you were denied benefits after your hearing, you will receive the “Notice of Decision – Unfavorable” letter. The word “denied” is fairly straightforward – it means you have been denied disability benefits. The letter will explain why you were denied benefits – whether you made too much money by performing productive work (the threshold is $1,310 a month in 2021) or your impairments were not severe enough to be considered disabled by the SSA.

The letter will also outline how to appeal the denial decision. You only have 60 days from the date of the denial to file an appeal. We recommend contacting an experienced Iowa Social Security Disability lawyer to help you with the appeal process, as you have a better chance of getting approved for benefits with an attorney on your side.

Approved Disability Benefits

There are two types of favorable results: fully favorable and partially favorable. Both of these mean that your disability claim was approved, but differ when it comes to the onset date.

Fully favorable – this means that your claim is approved by an administrative law judge AND agrees that your alleged onset date is the date your disability began.

Partially favorable – this can mean a couple of different things. 

  1. The judge approves your claim, but the established onset date is different than the onset date you alleged in your initial application; OR
  2. The judge approves your claim, but only for a “closed period” of time. What this means is that Social Security believed you were disabled for a set period of time, but are no longer considered disabled by the SSA’s rules.

When you filled out your initial application, you were asked to provide the date you became unable to work due to your disability. This is known as your “onset date.” This date is important for deciding when the Social Security Administration should begin paying you benefits.

Your onset date is also crucial because that date determines how much back pay you are eligible to receive. The difference between the date you believe your disability began and the court believes your disability began can mean thousands of dollars less in your pocket.

For example, if you claim that your disability began on January 1st, 2002, but the Administrative Law Judge rules that you were not disabled until January 1st, 2003, you will lose out on those 12 months of back pay.

Appealing Your Onset Date Ruling

If you believe the judge was incorrect on the ruling for your onset date, you can choose to appeal this partially favorable decision. Again, we recommend contacting a disability attorney to help you with this appeal. An attorney knows the right arguments to convince a judge that your onset date should be different.If your disability claim has been denied, we may be able to help. Contact RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.

Looking for Iowa Legal Help?

Find out how to get treated fairly after an injury or disability in Iowa

For a free, no-obligation case evaluation, call us at (319) 409-6575
or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form to reach us online