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
Do you need a Lawyer at the Administrative Law Judge Disability Hearing?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Most disability applicants will need a lawyer at the ALJ disability hearing if they wish to significantly increase their potential to win their disability case.
This is simply a point of reality considering that an unrepresented claimant will have zero understanding of how the disability determination process works, and what should be done to properly prepare a case for presentation to an administrative law judge.
On top of all this, of course, is the fact that a claimant will be at a severe disadvantage should the judge have a medical or vocational expert appear at the hearing. Responding properly to hypotheticals raised by an expert, or addressing new hypotheticals to an expert witness, can help determine whether or not a claim will be approved by a judge.
Back to the speed aspect, however, having a lawyer for your administrative law judge appeal may make the disability process faster by requesting the judge make a decision on the face of the record, or on the record.
What is this? If your lawyer provides medical records that indicate you are disabled or they believe the records contained in your disability file support an approval of disability benefits, they may ask the judge to make a disability determination without an actual hearing. This can eliminate many months of time that would usually be spent simply waiting for a hearing date.
Barring a disability decision on the face of the record, your lawyer can also send a letter of dire need to the hearing office to expedite the processing of your request for a disability hearing. If your lawyer files a dire need letter, make sure the letter is sent along with evidence that you are indeed behind on your rent, mortgage, or utility bills, or that you have a definite need for medications which you cannot afford.
Note: It is important to remember a dire need letter may or may not affect the wait time for an administrative law judge disability hearing. It really depends upon the backlog of hearings in your area hearings office.
Social Security hearings offices receive thousands of dire need letters from individuals just like you who are at their financial wits end because of their inability to work and earn a living. Having said this, dire need requests for expedited hearings are often still worth the effort. In some cases, they can eliminate an entire year of waiting.
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