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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

If I Won, Why Are We Waiting For A Decision?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Aug 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

Most of the time, a claimant leaves her Social Security disability hearing not certain of the outcome. But, in some instances, it is clear that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is going to award benefits.  This is good news, of course. But, it can lead to some confusion about the process following the hearing.

Not Official Until It's Down In Black and White

Even though the ALJ commits to finding in a claimant's favor, nothing is official until the ALJ's decision comes out on paper. Following the hearing, the ALJ sends the case to a group of Social Security workers called decision writers. These people take the ALJ's direction to find in the claimant's favor and explain the basis

Waiting For Inspiration

for that decision. The written draft of the favorable decision goes back to the ALJ for approval. Once that's done, Social Security issues the ALJ's decision and it becomes official.

My Bad

Claimants often get confused when I explain that they won, but we are still waiting for the ALJ's decision. This is largely my fault for not being clearer about what I mean. When I say we are awaiting the ALJ's decision, I mean the actual written order.  The ALJ would not likely change his mind and go to an unfavorable decision without giving the claimant a chance to be heard again. But, for people who are waiting for the ALJ's ruling, a hugely important moment in their lives, is it only natural to wonder if something has gone wrong.

Delay Is Part Of The Process

I will try in the future to be better at explaining what I mean when I say we are waiting for the ALJ's decision. But, if you are one of the few who leave your Social

One Step At A Time

Security disability hearing knowing that you have prevailed, keep in mind that waiting for the written decision is part of the process and not an indication that the ALJ has changed her mind

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 20 years.

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Feel free to call with any questions or concerns you have about Social Security disability. I never charge for a consultation. In fact, there is no charge at all until we win your case. Unlike most lawyers, I never charge extra for things like telephone calls or making copies.