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When you receive your decision letter, it will state whether you have been denied or approved for disability benefits. If you have been approved, you may be approved fully or partially.

Full approval means that the Administrative Law Judge has agreed that you should receive disability, and you will receive back pay all the way back to your alleged onset date.

Partial approval means that the judge is granting you disability benefits, but found that your alleged onset date was more recent than the date you listed on your application. In this case, you will receive back pay to the date that the judge considers to be your onset date. This is called your established onset date. Your decision letter will explain why the judge found this to be the date when your disability began. A partial decision will affect the amount of back pay that you will receive, but it will not affect the amount of your monthly payments.

A denial means the Administrative Law Judge is refusing your claim entirely. Your decision letter will explain why the judge found you ineligible for disability benefits. If your claim is denied, you have 60 days to ask the Appeals Council (AC) to review your case. To be successful with the Appeals Council, you must submit a written request that shows that the ALJs decision was not based on enough evidence; such as the judge did not review medical reports or lab results.

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