After the Social Security Administration (SSA) decides about your disability benefits application, you will receive a Notice of Decision letter in the mail. If you receive a fully favorable decision, the SSA approved your application with the onset date of disability that you originally noted. You will then start receiving disability benefits as soon as your elimination period or waiting period has ended.
If you received a fully favorable decision, congratulations – you do not need to take any further action. However, if you received a partially favorable decision, you may want to consider your options. Our attorneys can assist you with an appeal.
What Is the Difference Between a Fully Favorable and a Partially Favorable Decision?
You may receive a partially favorable decision for a couple of reasons. This may happen in the following situations:
The SSA Disagrees About Your Disability Start Date
The SSA may disagree with you about the date you claim to be your “disability onset date.” When you complete your disability benefits application, the SSA requires that you list the date that your disability began. The date you write down is the “alleged onset date.” If the SSA agrees that the alleged date is the date that your disability began, they will issue a fully favorable decision.
On the other hand, if the SSA believes that you are disabled but disagrees with you about when your disability started, they will issue a partially favorable decision.
For example, if you claimed that your illness became disabling on January 1, but the SSA believes that your illness did not become severe enough to become disabling until May 1, they will issue a partially favorable decision. You will receive benefits after the five month waiting period has passed from the May 1 onset date.
The SSA Believes You Had a Disability in the Past
The SSA may also issue you a partially favorable decision if they believe that you were disabled at one point in the past but that you have recovered and are no longer disabled. This is known as an approval for a “closed period of benefits.” When this happens, the SSA will pay you a one-time payment instead of ongoing monthly payments.
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Should I Appeal a Partially Favorable Decision?
If you receive a partially favorable decision, this means you will receive less money than you originally asked for. If the difference in amounts is small, there may be no reason to appeal the decision. However, many partially favorable decisions deprive the applicants of several thousands of dollars.
You might want to consider appealing a partially favorable decision, especially if your benefits will be greatly reduced. When considering whether to appeal, it is important to note that you cannot limit your appeal to just the part of the decision you disagree with. An appeal will allow your whole case to be reexamined, and there is a risk that you will be found not disabled for any period.
If you can prove that your disability started on the date that you claimed or that it is still ongoing, you would receive the additional benefits that you are seeking. Our disability lawyers can help you decide whether to file an appeal of the decision.
What Should I Know About the Appeals Process?
If your claim is denied or if you receive a partially favorable decision, you can begin the appeals process. Depending on the outcome of the review process, you may progress through one or more of the following appeal stages:
Someone new at the SSA will look at your claim for a second time. During reconsideration, you’ll receive a totally new review of your claim. The SSA will consider additional documentation you provide along with your original application.
At this stage, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will review your application. This is someone who was not involved with either your initial application or the reconsideration process. These hearings may be conducted either in person or online.
Appeals Council Review
The Appeals Council may determine to review your case or not to proceed. They may not accept the review if they believe that the ALJ’s decision was appropriate. In this case, you can proceed to the next level of appeal.
Federal Court Review
Here, you will file a civil lawsuit in federal court – and you may wish to have legal help with this process.
Our team can help you at every stage of appeal, including representing your interests in court.
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Should I Seek Legal Help with My Claim for Disability Benefits?
You could benefit from legal help at any point in the disability benefits application process, from the initial submission to an appeal. We can help you:
- Understand why your claim was denied or deemed partially favorable
- Assist you with filing an initial claim
- Review your application
- Identify important documentation to submit to the SSA
- Explain what benefits are available to you
- Represent you during your appeal and hearings
- Take your case to federal court
Seeking our help may save you time and energy. We have more than 40 years of experience helping applicants seek benefits. We will use our experience to seek results for you.
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Contact Berger and Green for a Free Case Review
For help completing your Social Security Disability application, filing an appeal, or collecting evidence for your claim, the disability lawyers at Berger and Green are prepared to assist you. We can tell you more about what fully favorable means in a disability case and advise you on the appeals process.
Call our team to learn your options today at (412) 661-1400.
Call or text 412-661-1400 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form