SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
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?
More questions about SSD and SSI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips ó how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Missouri
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Missouri 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 considering filing for social security disability (SSD) benefits in Missouri, you should know up front that the Missouri state disability determination services (DDS) agency turns down most disability applicants. Only about thirty percent of all disability claims, including claims for supplemental security income (SSI), are approved by Missouri disability examiners.
In addition, federal statistics indicate that over two-thirds of first appeals filed with DDS in Missouri are denied as well (these first appeals are sometimes referred to as reconsideration appeals). Itís hard to be sure if more cases would be approved by disability examiners if claimants had early legal representation. The majority of disability applicants in Missouri do not choose to involve a disability attorney unless their application has been turned down and their appeal for reconsideration was also unsuccessful.
Indeed, quite a few disability lawyers will not become involved in a disability case in its early stages, believing that their services are most valuable only at the point in which the claimant is due to appear in a hearing before a federal administrative law judge (this is the second and, in most instances, final level of appeal).
So, if you are filing for SSD or SSI in Missouri, when is the best time to retain a disability lawyer? The answer to this question is, as soon as you feel it is needed. If at any point in your case you find that you are having a hard time understanding the process or canít grasp what a disability examiner is asking of you, or if you are simply feeling uncomfortable with any part of the proceedings, you should probably at least consult with an attorney to make sure everything is in order and to get some kind of direction.
However, if the Missouri state disability determination services agency has denied your initial claim and turned down your reconsideration appeal, legal representation can definitely improve your chances of winning your case before the disability judge. Disability claimants in Missouri who had legal representation at their administrative hearings won benefits fifty percent more often than claimants who were not represented.
Note: The request for reconsideration appeal step is currently suspended in the state of Missouri as Missouri is one of 10 prototype states testing a system in which denied claims move immediately to the hearing level upon appeal. Reconsideration may be reinstated at some point and many consider this likely. In the meantime, a claimant who is denied on a disability application should request, and prepare, for a hearing before a federal administrative law judge.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page