I was talking with one of our Portland, Maine judges yesterday between hearings. We discussed the amazing timeline of a recent Social Security claim. The judge said that it was helpful in that case to have a request for a bench decision in the hearing memorandum.
A bench decision requires some preparation, because there are several administrative requirements that must be met. When a judge has 5 or so hearings in a row, there may be no time to prepare a bench decision on the spot.
So give your judge a heads up. If your claim is very strong (and particularly if a listing is met), ask for a bench decision in your hearing memorandum.