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
How does Social Security Disability Representation work?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
You are allowed to have representation on a social security disability or SSI case at any point in the processing of your claim. Many claimants do not seek representation until their claim has been denied at the disability application level. Others wait until their claim has been denied at the first appeal level (which is the reconsideration appeal).
My own opinion, as a former disability examiner, and as someone who has been involved in claimant representation, is--
A) While representation is not necessary while a disability application is being processed, it can still be of benefit to some individuals, particularly those who have conditions, either mental or physical, which may make it difficult for them to keep up with paperwork and with responding to requests for information from the social security administration (when you have a disability lawyer or a non-attorney representative, this individual will handle these tasks for you).
B) If you get denied on a disability application, you might as well seek representation. The reason for this is that the first appeal following an application for disability is a request for reconsideration. Reconsideration appeals generally have more than an eighty percent rate of denial. This being the case, most claimants who get denied at the first level will find themselves having to file a reconsideration appeal which will also get denied, which will then necessitate the filing of a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Therefore, if you get denied initially, you really might as well get a representative because it will be extremely likely that for you to win disability benefits you will need to be seen by a judge. And hearings before disability judges are helped enormously when claimants have representation.
Statistics, in fact, indicate that individuals who go to disability hearings without a disability attorney or a non-attorney representative (in the social security appeal system, your designated represenative does not have to be an attorney; in fact, many non-attorney representatives are former disability examiners and former employees of the social security administration) have, approximately, a forty percent chance of being approved for disability benefits. Those who go to hearings with a representative have a better than sixty percent chance of being approved for disability benefits.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Topics and Questions
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: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials