I received a Notice of Decision – Partially Favorable. What does that mean?

There are two types of partially favorable decisions. One is for a closed period of disability. The other is for an alternative disability onset date.

A closed period of disability means the Administrative Law Judge finds that you are disabled for only a certain period of time. You will be paid benefits for this period, but you will not receive any ongoing benefits.

A closed period is beneficial for claimants whose conditions have medically improved to resume working.  A Judge may also award a claimant benefits for a closed period of disability if something in their medical evidence refers to medical improvement.

An alternate onset partially favorable decision indicates the Administrative Law Judge does find you disabled but does not think you were disabled as early as you originally alleged. The onset date of your disability will be related to evidence or fact(s) in your record, for example: when you stopped working, were diagnosed with a condition, or received medical treatment.

In both cases after the decision is issued, the next step is the payment process. It takes up to 120 days from the date of the decision to receive the Notice of Award. The Notice of Award describes what backpay you will receive, as well as the attorney’s fees that your attorney is authorized to receive for his work on you case. It may take up to 90 days from the date of the award letter to receive your backpay. In the case of an alternate onset date decision, the Notice of Award will also indicate what your monthly ongoing benefits will be and when you can expect to receive them.

If you are awarded for a closed period or alternate onset date and disagree with the decision, you do have the option to appeal; but there are some risks. Appeals go to the SSA Appeals Council. The Appeals Council could rule in your favor, but they can also put the whole issue of disability back on the table and potentially reverse the Administrative Law Judge’s favorable decision. At Greeman Toomey, we typically do not file appeals of these decisions or recommend that our client’s appeal.

If you are awarded a closed period of disability and believe that you are still disabled, it may be in your best interest to forgo the appeal and instead file a new claim. If you choose not to appeal the Administrative Law Judge’s decision, it will be finalized. As a result, when you file a new claim there will be no risk of Social Security reversing the prior decision.

If you have received a Notice of Decision – Partially Favorable and have any questions, please do not act until you contact our office at (612) 332-3252.