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 Hawaii
Claimants with representation in Hawaii tend to be approved in higher percentages, have a need for fewer appeals, and more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the disability is proven to have begun) which can result in 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.
A qualified representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law and procedures, especially with regard to how claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules. A qualified and competent 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?"
Nationally, most people who file for Social Security (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability are denied. In Hawaii, the number of initial disability claims approved for disability benefits exceeds the national average. In fact, Social Security disability examiners approve about thirty five percent of their initial disability claims compared to a national approval rate of thirty two percent.
However, while more residents of the state of Hawaii are approved at the initial claim level versus other states, the majority are still denied for disability. Naturally, you can appeal your disability claim denial. Unfortunately, your chances of qualifying for disability benefits do not improve with your reconsideration appeal in Hawaii, or any other state.
More than twenty-two percent of all reconsideration appeals are approved in Hawaii, which makes Hawaii one of the most favorable states for an approval for benefits at the reconsideration level. Still, the vast majority of reconsideration appeals—approximately 78 percent, are denied.
Filing for disability with the Social Security Administration can be very difficult. Generally, it takes a considerable amount of time to be awarded disability benefits, with no guarantee of being approved for disability benefits at all.
Most individuals who file for disability are looking at three or four months for their initial disability decision (meaning the decision on their application for disability). If they file a reconsideration appeal, they will typically wait another sixty days for that decision, and if this appeal is denied they may wait a year or more simply to be scheduled for a disability hearing.
While there are a few disability claimants who are approved for disability benefits quickly, most will have to pursue the Socials Security appeal process. Although, it takes many months to get a disability hearing, the administrative law judge offers your best chance of being awarded benefits.
This seems especially true in Hawaii where the disability hearing approval rate is sixty-nine percent. The national Social Security disability hearing approval rate is only fifty–six percent, so you have substantially better odds of winning your disability claim in Hawaii.
If you reside in Hawaii, you may wish to consider the services of professional representative if you have to appeal your disability claim. The process is difficult at best even in a state where you are more likely to win your case at all levels. It take a long time to get your disability case before an administrative law judge, so it may be beneficial to have someone who is familiar with Social Security medical and vocational guidelines to present your case.
Social Security disability hearings are considered a non-adversarial; however your disability case must be supported by objective medical evidence that would suggest “a finding of disabled”. Your representative will get the necessary medical evidence to support your disability claim; they will also go with you to your disability hearing. For most disability applicants, this relieves the stress of going to a hearing before a judge with no idea as to what information is necessary to win the case.
Your representative will present the facts of your disability claim in a way that is most favorable for your disability case. Congressional statistical data indicates that disability claims with representation are more likely to be approved for disability benefits.
As stated above, this individual may be a non-attorney disability representative or a disability lawyer. Many non-attorneys are former employees of the Social Security Administration, or are former disability examiners such as the author of SSDRC.com, Tim Moore.
The main point, however, is that whoever is chosen to handle a disability claim should specialize in Social Security administrative law. This is always the case with non-attorneys; however, disability attorneys often handle a variety of legal cases (criminal, workman’s comp, speeding tickets) and so never develop an indepth understanding of the complexity of the Social Security system.
A disability case is much more easily won when a claimant’s representative is qualified in the sense that they are familiar with federal rulings and regulations and focus exclusively on Social Security claims. However, their level of expertise is enhanced when they have formerly worked from within the disability system.
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