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 Missouri
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: 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