While many Social Security disability hearings in Colorado have decisions issued in 45 to 90 days, some cases wait for four, five, even six months without a decision.
I was recently asked if a long wait after a hearing is a bad sign?
I previously wrote about my experience with how long it takes to get a decision after a Social Security hearing. Many lawyers who have been doing Social Security cases for a while can’t help but notice that the longer it takes to get a decision, the greater the chances that the case will be denied. However, that is not the whole story.
Here is my take on this:
Social Security approvals often result in fast decisions
Even if the judge does not rule at the hearing, a decision in an approval is often sent within the normal 45 to 90 day window.
Social Security denials take longer to be processed
In the case of denials, I frequently see cases sent out to a decision writer which adds up to 4 months to the decision process.
Why so long? There is a backlog of cases waiting for a decision writer to become available. This results in a case waiting for months after a hearing just to have a draft decision written. Note: this is before the decision even comes back to the judge for approval and/or editing. Combined with the original 90 day wait, some of these decisions are not issued for up to six or seven months after the date of the hearing.
So, if it takes more than 3 months to get a decision, it’s going to be a denial!?!
Not necessarily. While there is some correlation between lengthy decision times and denials, it is not a clear cut signal. Judges also use decision writers on cases that are going to be approved, which means even approval decisions sometimes four or more months before they are issued.
Don’t try to read the tea leaves
Ultimately, the only thing that counts is whether you are approved. Trying to read meaning into how long the decision takes is just guessing. It does not change the odds of winning or give you any meaningful information. Unfortunately, many people tear themselves up inside wondering what it means if a decision takes months to be issued.
All you can do is take a deep breath, let it out, and try to go on with your life while you wait.