What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Will An Attorney Be More Successful On A Social Security Disability or SSI Appeal?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
This question depends upon the disability claimant and the level of appeal their disability claim is at. Some disability claimants have mental or physical conditions that make it difficult for them to file their own appeals. Generally, I would say that if a disability applicant can complete their reconsideration appeal paperwork, they do not need an attorney or Social Security disability representative. The reason being: the attorney or representative can do no more for the claimant than they can do for themselves at the reconsideration appeal level.
My opinion, however, changes if the disability claimant is not capable of completing their reconsideration appeal due some kind of mental or physical problem. If a disability claimant has a condition, or conditions, that would interfere with them being able to complete their appeal forms, they should by all means obtain the services of an attorney or Social Security disability non-attorney representative to file their reconsideration appeal, or any other appeals that are necessary.
It has been my experience that attorneys or Social Security representatives are more successful in winning disability hearing appeals. Not only has it been my experience, but national statistics indicate that disability claimants with representation are up to fifty percent more likely to win their disability benefits at a social security hearing than those who do not have an attorney or representative.
What are the differences between reconsideration appeals and administrative law judge hearings that might enable attorneys or Social Security representatives to be more successful in winning benefits? The biggest difference is the fact that disability hearings are held in a courtroom--albeit an informal court setting--before an administrative law judge.
To that end, it is beneficial to have someone who knows the vocational rules, listing impairment criteria, and other Social Security disability guidelines so that they can present your disability claim to an administrative law judge who is familiar with those same guidelines.
In addition to presenting your disability case in the best possible light, your attorney or representative is able to get updated medical evidence to support your disability claim.
It is true that some individuals would win their disability benefits at a disability hearing not matter what based strictly on the medical information in the file; however, there are many others for which an attorney or representative might be able to gather and present information that could make the difference between an approval or denial. If you have to appeal your disability claim to an administrative law judge hearing, you should most certainly consider representation.
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Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials