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
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Florida
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Florida tend to have a higher rate of approval, a need for fewer appeals, and more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the disability is proven to have begun) that lead to higher back pay benefits.
Representation may be through a disability lawyer or a specialized non-attorney disability representative. Many non-attorney reps are former Social Security Administration Claims Specialists and Disability Examiners with an extended history of working from within the federal system.
A qualified disability representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law, particularly with regard to how claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules. A qualified and competent disability representative or lawyer will also be skilled in the ability to obtain the most relevant case evidence, analyze it correctly, and incorporate it as part of a winning strategy for a claim.
To learn about fees for representation, see: "How do disability lawyers get paid?"
If you are applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI in Florida, the odds of winning benefits are fairly slim. Only about 35% of disability applicants in Florida are approved for SSD/SSI, and those who appeal their cases are even less likely to prevail—about 85% of first appeals to the Florida state social security disability determination services agency are denied each year.
These statistics are in keeping with the national average, though. It is well-known throughout every state of the country that most applications for disability are denied—in fact, initial claims for disability are denied so regularly, a common misconception has developed that there is an unwritten policy in the Social Security Administration (SSA), which dictates that all claims be denied at least once before they are approved.
While SSA has no such policy, written or unwritten, it is easy to see why the general public has reached this conclusion, given that so many social security disability examiners deny claims that are later approved by an administrative law judge in a disability hearing (if the applicant is persistent and doesn’t give up, that is).
Of course, these bleak statistics in no way mean that your claim for SSD or SSI benefits will automatically be denied—keep in mind that, overall, about half of all applicants are eventually approved by disability determination services examiners, either on initial application or request for reconsideration (the first appeal in the process).
However, if you are planning to file for benefits, it does not hurt to prepare yourself for the fact that your case is likely to be denied, and to begin to understand the options open to you at that point so that you can plan accordingly. If your claim for disability is denied by the state disability determination services, you have the option of requesting a hearing before an administrative judge, and at this point you should strongly consider obtaining legal representation.
Disability cases in which claimants are represented by a disability lawyer are more likely to be approved, and some judges even advise claimants who show up to their hearing without a lawyer of their right to legal representation before the proceedings begin (Hint Hint!).
At every level of consideration in the disability determination process, having a lawyer or non attorney rep involved can improve your chances of being approved for benefits, or at the very least make the process easier for you average individual, who probably does not have a full understanding of the type of evidence or documentation that must be provided to the judge in order to meet the legal definition of disability.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Tips, Advice page
Questions and Answers about Social Security Disability and SSI Disability
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: Tips and Advice for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims