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
What are the chances of winning a Social Security Disability Benefits hearing?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Many people who file disability claims with the Social Security administration find that they must attend a hearing before an administrative law judge if they feel their disability claim has been denied erroneously at the initial disability application and reconsideration appeal levels. The disability appeal process is a lengthy one at best, and the wait for an administrative law judge hearing is a big part of the wait.
Most Social Security hearings offices are backlogged with thousands of disability claims waiting for their hearing dates. Roughly two million people file for disability each year and if even half of those individuals pursue their claims to a hearing, you can easily see how backlogs have been created and how digging out from such huge backlogs can be problematic, particularly when SSA is receiving so many new hearings appeals each year.
If you are not able to work because of your disabling condition you really have no choice but to be patient and wait for your social security hearing.
Although the wait can be long, the chances of winning your disability benefits at a hearing are the best of any level of the Social Security disability process. In fact, recent statistics indicate that as many as two thirds of all individuals who attend a disability hearing win their case. This may be the best chance for you to be approved for disability benefits, so it is important to make sure you do everything in your power to make things favorable for you.
Remember that, at this point, you have waited a long time for this hearing and you probably have been through a lot of emotional and financial hardship along the way. I have seen people ask in disability forums if they are allowed to represent themselves at their disability hearing. The simple answer to this question is yes. There are no rules against an individual representing themselves at their hearing.
The bigger question is whether or not this will give you a better chance of winning your disability case. Statistical analysis of disability hearing win-loss ratios at hearings office across the nation suggests that individuals who have professional representation, either through an attorney or non-attorney Social Security representative, have a twenty to fifty percent greater likelihood of being approved for disability benefits at their disability hearing versus those who choose to represent themselves.
There are many reasons Social Security representatives or attorneys are more successful in winning disability cases. For example, if you have a representative, they most likely have gathered the necessary medical evidence to update your file. They may have gotten physician statements from your treating medical sources, or even functional capacity reports.
These things are important, but there are other things that help win a disability case before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Your representative knows the Social Security vocational and medical guidelines and they are able to present your disability case in a way that is most beneficial to you. Conversely, you feel emotional about your disability case and you probably do not know the Social Security guidelines that could help win your disability case; whereas an experienced representative can simply utilize their knowledge of the system to present your case in an objective and well-ordered fashion. The goal of every representative, of course, is to win the case they are representing.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
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