Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Florida
Disability representation, i.e. getting a lawyer or representative, is always optional. However, claimants who are represented on disability claims for SSI and SSD 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.
1. Questions about using a disability lawyer
2. More questions and answers about disability lawyers
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: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria