Should you appeal a “Partly Favorable” Social Security decision?

You finally got the decision on your Social Security case and it says… “Partly Favorable.” If you need to know what this mean, read this. Now that you are back, should you take the “partly favorable decision and get on with your life.

OR… should you take the BIG RISK and appeal?

Wait, did you says ‘BIG RISK’?

This does not mean that you are “partly disabled.” Usually, it means one of the following:

  • The Judge found you disabled, but not as far back as you wanted; or
  • The Judge is approved a “closed period” of disability: that you were disabled from one date through another date. For example: the Judge might find that you were disabled from May 1, 2005 through December 31, 2007.

If you are ok with the partly favorable decision, give yourself a pat on the back for winning your Social Security case.

If, however, the partly favorable decision just makes you angry and you are thinking of appealing, please keep the following in mind:

  1. When you appeal a partly favorable decision, you appeal the entire decision, including the part that says that you are, or were, disabled.
  2. The Social Security Appeals Council can take a look at the Judge’s decision and say that the Judge should not have found you disabled at all.
  3. Then, your case will go back to (probably) the same Judge, with the implicit suggestions to give you less or nothing at all.

Please note: it is rare for the Appeals Council to completely overrule a partly favorable decision and recommend a denial, but I have seen it happen. So, keep this possibility in mind when considering your options.