Helping People With Disabilities Nationwide

What is a Partially Favorable Decision?

by | Mar 16, 2023 | SSD - Social Security Disability |

The Social Security disability system can be extremely confusing to navigate.

The day the decision from an administrative law judge finally arrives, most claimants see a decision that’s labeled “favorable” or “unfavorable” at the top of the first page. But there is a third possible decision “partially favorable” that a small number of claimants receive.

Partially favorable decisions occur in two types of cases. In the first, the judge is finding you disabled with a later onset date than the one you alleged. This usually happens for one of two reasons.

One, as it easier to be found disabled as of your 50th or 55th birthdays, ALJs will often pick this onset date in cases where an individual has reached a higher age classification.

Two, there might not be enough medical evidence to support an earlier onset date. If you alleged disability beginning in 2020 but didn’t really start seeing a doctor until the following year, your condition substantially worsened at that point, or you received a new diagnosis, judges will usually find you disabled as of a later date.

The other type of partially favorable decision is a closed period of disability. These are much less common.

In a partially favorable closed period of disability case, the judge finds that you were disabled for a certain period of time, but that your condition has improved so that your disability has ended. You’ll receive backpay in this case, but not ongoing benefits.

In either case, partially favorable decisions can be appealed, though these appeals in particular can be extremely difficult. If you receive a partially favorable decision from an administrative law judge, an experienced disability attorney can help explain it to you.


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