Topic Categories:

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

SSI Benefits

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

Ask a question, get an answer

Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Illinois

Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Illinois 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?"

Additional information

If you are filing for social security disability or SSI benefits in Illinois, it is highly likely that your case will ultimately be decided by an administrative judge. This is because the majority of disability cases filed in Illinois are turned down by disability determination services, both at the initial applications level and the first level of appeal (also called a request for reconsideration). Statistics released for Illinois by the federal office of disability programs are somewhat disconcerting: 62.2 percent of initial disability applications filed in Illinois were denied over the past two years, and the news was even worse for those who appealed their decisions, who were denied a whopping 87.1% of the time.

These numbers should not deter disabled individuals in Illinois from filing for SSD or SSI benefits, but should prepare them for the reality that it is neither easy nor certain for an individual, regardless of their medical condition, to be awarded disability benefits by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The simple fact is that most claims for disability, in Illinois and in every state across the nation, are denied by disability determination services. That means that most claimants will have to appeal their case to the next level of consideration, which involves an administrative hearing before a disability law judge. Should those filing for disability in Illinois be represented by an attorney at this hearing?

In this instance, the answer is almost certainly yes. A number of studies have indicated that cases that are presented to an administrative law judge by a disability lawyer have about a 50% greater chance of winning than those in which the claimants represent themselves.

It is true that some cases are approved by disability determination services upon their initial application, and that some claimants do receive benefits without ever having received legal counsel of any kind.

These cases, however, are in the minority. If you are filing for disability in Illinois and your initial application is turned down, the odds are great that your case is not persuasive enough to convince a state disability examiner, and you should strongly consider hiring an experienced disability attorney to help you build your case and present the strongest possible argument at your second appeal before an administrative judge.

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