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 Illinois
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
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?"
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: 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