If you are approved for disability benefits, you will receive a decision letter in which the hearing judge may provide either a fully favorable or partially favorable decision – but what does this mean exactly? And how can this decision impact your disability benefits?
Our Phoenix Social Security Disability attorneys discuss the contents of this letter and what may occur after you receive it. For assistance with your claim, contact us for a free, no obligation legal consultation.
Difference Between a Fully Favorable and Partially Favorable Decision
The difference between fully favorable and partially favorable disability benefits decisions has to do with the disability onset date, which is the date your disability began.
On your disability benefits application, you listed the date which your disability started. At this point, this date is the alleged onset date. Once the judge hears your claim and agrees that this date is when your disability began, he or she issues a fully favorable decision regarding your benefits. This date is now the established date of onset and determines when your disability payments start.
A partially favorable decision occurs when the judge agrees that you are disabled but does not agree with your alleged onset date. In his or her decision, the judge identifies the date he or she believes your condition actually became disabling.
A partially favorable decision may also be issued in the event that you were disabled at one point but have now fully recovered and no longer have a disability. The partially favorable decision establishes a closed benefits period, for which you receive a one-time benefits payment rather than monthly payments that are ongoing.
What Happens After a Favorable Decision?
If the judge issues a fully favorable decision regarding your disability claim, this means the claim is approved and disability benefits start on the established date of disability. You will receive backpay benefits starting five months after your established onset date, as well as ongoing payments each month.
In the event of a partially favorable decision, benefits will not begin until the established onset date is determined by the judge. From this date, you must wait the required five months before disability payments are issued. For instance, if you claim to have been disabled starting March 1st but the judge's decision states your disability started on June 1st benefits payments would begin on November 1st.
Can I Appeal a Partially Favorable Decision?
The time between the established date of onset in a partially favorable decision and the alleged date of onset when you feel your disability actually began may be a significant amount, resulting in the loss of many months of backpay benefits. A partially favorable decision is a partial denial of benefits, based on the disagreement in onset date.
If you do not agree with the judge's partially favorable decision regarding your disability onset date, you can appeal this decision. Depending on which stage you are at with your disability claim, you would need to appeal the new established onset date with Disability Determination Services (DDS), an administrative law judge or the Appeals Council.
Appealing the established onset date means the DDS or the Social Security Administration is able to review your disability determination and possibly reverse the partially favorable decision. This could cause you to lose benefits – before pursuing an appeal of your established onset date, seek the help of an experienced disability lawyer to protect your best interests.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Our qualified disability attorneys may be able to help you pursue the disability benefits you need. We work to strengthen your claim so you receive the maximum benefits you may be eligible for. If your claim has been denied or a partially favorable decision has been made, we aide in the appeals process to help you access much needed disability benefits.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available in your situation. There are no upfront fees and payment is only owed if we recover compensation on your behalf.