How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Should I hire a disability lawyer?

There is no pat answer for this question if you are filing an initial disability claim or reconsideration appeal. A disability lawyer or Social Security representative cannot do any more than you can do if you are filing your disability claim. If you feel more comfortable with a lawyer at this stage, then by all means hire one to help you.

Hiring a disability lawyer or representative may become a little more important at the reconsideration appeal. If you are not able to keep up with filing deadlines, or you have a difficult time completing appeal forms, either paper or online, you may need to hire a lawyer.

You have a 60-day appeal period that begins with the date of the letter in which to file your reconsideration appeal. Social Security give you an additional five days for the time it took for your decisional letter to reach you, which gives you a total of 65 days to get your appeal filed. If you have conditions that prevent you from filing your reconsideration appeal timely, you should consider the services of a disability lawyer or representative at this time. The important thing is to keep your disability claim moving forward through the appeal process.

It still helps to have a lawyer in the beginning

Now, all this said, there is a rationale for getting a disability lawyer early. A lawyer can make sure that you properly respond to requests for information from Social Security, make sure that you do not miss imporant filing deadlines, and make sure that you are reminded to attend needed appointments such as for a consultative medical exam. Missed deadlines, or failing to appeal, can easily cause you to lose months of valuable case processing time. Such situations may even force you to have to start over with a new claim.

As a disability examiner and working in representation, I routinely came across people who had failed to understand the appeal process and wasted many months of time unnecessarily. I also knew of a situation where a very intelligent individual failed to understand, after filing for disability online, that he had, in fact, been denied. Because of this misunderstanding, he missed his appeal deadline and had to start over from scratch. That mistake cost him about three months of processing time.

When you should definitely get a disability lawyer

If your reconsideration appeal is denied, you should consider getting a disability lawyer or representative no matter what your disabling condition is. If you have not been approved for disability in the initial or reconsideration appeal levels, your disability claim is not a clear-cut approval for Social Security Disability.

This means that you should have someone who is familiar with all of the Social Security rulings and medical vocational guidelines to present your disability claim in a way that is most favorable to your being approved for disability.

Lastly, you do not have to pay your lawyer or Social Security Disability a retainer or fee upfront. If your disability claim is approved, they receive a fee for their services. Currently, your lawyer is allowed 25% of your back payment of disability benefits up to $6000.00. You pay the lesser of 25% or 6000.00. If you do not have a back payment, they are not entitled to a fee. However, this does not mean you are not responsible for payment of any non-fee expenses you agree to pay in your fee agreement with your lawyer, such as reimbursement for the cost of obtaining medical records.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Why are you denied the first time you are denied for disability?

Tips for Social Security Disability Psychological and mental testing

Will Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis in my hands qualify for disability?

Can I get short term Social Security Disability?

Can I get both Social Social Security Disability and SSI?

SSD lawyer pay when they win the case

Can I apply for Social Security Disability while on workers compensation?

If you are on Social Security retirement can you file for disability?

Do you have a better chance of being approved for disability with a physician's statement?

Does Social Security contact your employer when you apply for disability?

When should I seek representation for my disability claim?

Can I collect on my spouse’s VA disability and my SSDI?

If I apply for disability will they cut my husband’s disability?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.