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
How Long Does Your Attorney Have To File Your Social Security Disability Appeal?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If your disability claim has been denied, your attorney can file your appeal for you. You have sixty days from the date that is on the denial notice to appeal the denial. Additionally, Social Security does allow five days for mailing of notices etc., so that really means you or your attorney have sixty-five days total to get your appeal to the Social Security Administration.
This is a concrete time frame and does not go by the postage date on the envelope. The appeal forms must literally be received by the end of the 65th day (counting from the date of the denial notices).
Although you are able to file all of your own appeals with Social Security, you may wish to consider getting a disability representative for a variety of reasons. For instance, if you have conditions that significantly affect your mobility or you forget things easily, you will not have to worry about missing this appeal period. Your attorney or non-attorney Social Security representative will file your paperwork for you. Attorneys or other representatives will also help you keep on track with additional requested information such as questionnaires, provide Social Security with any updates of address or phone, and make sure you remember to attend a scheduled consultative examination.
Why is this important? Well Social Security disability examiners routinely deny disability applicants for failing to attend their consultative examinations, an inability to contact the applicant, or failure to return some kind of requested information. Now, if you are able to keep up with all of these things you may be able to file your reconsideration appeal on your own, because that is basically just a matter of completing your appeal forms and making sure you provide the disability examiner with any needed information.
If you are approved at this level of the disability appeal system (the request for reconideration), you have save yourself a portion of your back pay. Social Security lawyers work for a fee that is a portion of your back pay benefits. Currently, a Social Security representative is entitled to one fourth of any social security or ssi back payment up to a certain maximum (The Maximum Disability Lawyer Fee . Some attorneys or representative also charge for incidental fees (i.e. travel, copying, medical records, etc) along with the standard fee and there are those who charge those fees whether or not they win the case for the applicant. So read any fee agreements thoroughly as they are legally binding agreements.
To that end, it is my opinion that all disability applicants should have an attorney or representative to represent their disability case if they have to appeal to an administrative law judge hearing. Although these hearings are less formal than most legal hearings, they are still legal hearings held in court albeit an informal courtroom. And they are conducted in front of an administrative law judge.
Disability applicants really need to have a representative (a lawyer or a good non-attorney representative) who is familiar with the guidelines of Social Security disability. This might include a thorough knowledge of medical vocational rules, as well as any legal case law that affects Social Security disability. I have rarely seen a disability applicant who knew anything about disability guidelines, rules, or case law that might help present their claim in a light that would be favorable to the approval of their disability case.
Statistics on a national level indicate that disability applicants who use representatives are about twenty percent more likely to win their disability claim before an administrative law judge than those who have no representation.
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