“How long will it take before I get my decision from the Judge?” is a question very frequently asked after a hearing. Unfortunately, there is no specific time frame in which an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is required to issue a formal written decision. The length of time depends on a range of variables, including any backlog of claims that any individual hearing office, also known as Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), must deal with.
ALJs do not issue most decisions at the conclusion of an individual’s hearing. Typically, they thank the individual for coming and for offering their testimony and presenting any additional evidence and argument. Before issuing a final written decision, the ALJ must consider all the testimony presented at the hearing, including testimony from medical or vocational experts, as well as the underlying medical evidence in your claim. At times, this is not an easy process and most ALJs will carefully consider all facts and testimony as well as the law before issuing a final written decision.
The Social Security’s recommended guideline is to issue a decision within 60 days after an individual has their hearing; unfortunately, this is not often the case. The Social Security Administration offers public data on the hearing office average processing time on its website. This data however only indicates the average number of days until the final disposition of a hearing request once a request for hearing has been filed and does not indicate how long an individual must wait after the hearing for a decision.
To make sure that your claim is timely processed, it makes sense to contact a disability lawyer, who will be able to follow your claim closely throughout the entire process.