Q Will we get a decision today, at the end of the hearing?
At the time of the hearing, the judge will have reviewed the claimant's file, which can be quite lengthy - from 500 to over 1,000 pages long. Most of the file is made up of detailed medical records that document the impairments and the treatment the claimant has received for those impairments.
Unfortunately, those records only tell part of the story. The claimant is granted a hearing so that the ALJ can meet the claimant and get to know him or her. The testimony during the hearing can provide the ALJ with a detailed picture of the claimant's daily life, something that the medical records alone cannot do. This helps the ALJ learn the whole story so he/she can piece together what exactly the claimant has been going through over the past few years.
After the hearing, the ALJ will consider the claimant's testimony, together with the medical records, and write up a decision that addresses all of the evidence in the claim. Most of the time, it is important for the ALJ to go back and take a fresh look at the file AFTER hearing the claimant's testimony, so that a final decision can be made.
The ALJ will draft a written decision that is typically about ten (10) pages long and mail a copy to the claimant and the attorney. Although there is no deadline for the decision, it is our experience that decisions are typically received within 30-60 days after the hearing.