Hearing Decisions

Social Security hearing decisions are written documents issued by the judge that sets out his reasoning for approving or denying your claim.  A hearing decision may be:

  • fully favorable
  • partially favorable
  • unfavorable

The decision will contain several pages of “boilerplate” language that describes Social Security’s five step sequential evaluation process, and the relevant dates applicable in your case.

After the boilerplate language, the judge will set out his reasons for approving of denying your case.  If you are denied, you have the right to appeal to the Appeals Council – your appeal must be filed within 60 days from the date you received the unfavorable decision.

It is difficult to win at the Appeals Council.   You must show that the judge made a mistake in his statement of the law, or that he failed to properly evaluate the evidence.  The Appeals Council generally will not second guess the judge’s analysis of the evidence.

The decision will also state whether your lawyer’s fee agreement has been approved and it will explain the procedure whereby you can file an appeal if you are unhappy with what the decision says.