Can a Partially Favorable ALJ decision be appealed? Can you lose your benefits?

Posted on Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 by Loyd Bourgeois    

Many Social Security Disability applicants in the New Orleans area and beyond are confused when they receive a partially favorable decision.  Two common questions I hear are “Can I appeal a Partially Favorable decision by an ALJ?” and “If I appeal the decision, can I lose my awarded benefits?”.

A partially favorable decision occurs when the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has granted you disability benefits, but not the full amount you requested. In the majority of partially favorable decisions, the ALJ finds that you are disabled, but moves your onset date to a later date than the one that you claimed. Moving the onset date can severely affect your back pay and your future monthly benefits. You lose out on the back pay for the months between your alleged onset date and the ALJ’s revised onset date. This could amount to a large sum of money. Additionally, if your onset is moved to a date beyond your date last insured, you may miss out on disability benefits altogether and be forced to accept only supplemental security benefits. The revised onset date may also reduce your monthly benefit.

Can I appeal a partially favorable Social Security disability decision by an ALJ? Yes. You have the right to appeal this decision to the Appeals Council. But there are risks.

If I appeal a partially favorable disability decision, can I lose my awarded benefits? The AC will review the entire claim and determine if the proper decision was made. This means they will review the onset date and the disability determination. So, while the AC may agree with you that an earlier onset is appropriate, the AC could also disagree with the judge and find that the record does not support disability at all.

If I appeal a partially favorable disability decision, will I receive my awarded benefits during the appeal process? No. You will not receive any benefits while awaiting the result of your appeal.

Should I appeal a partially favorable decision? If you are considering appealing a partially favorable decision, you should consult with a Social Security Disability attorney to discuss the pros and cons of an appeal in regard to the specifics of your case.
If you have questions about your application or appeal, call New Orleans area disability lawyer, Loyd Bourgeois at 888-LJB-4-SSD or submit an online case evaluation.