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

What is your disability attorney supposed to do in their role?

A disability attorney has really just one single purpose. That is to help you win your Social Security Disability or SSI Disability claim, and help you obtain all the disability back pay benefits to which you are entitled. How can they help you do this?

Based on my personal experience as both a disability examiner and through my own work in disability representation, this is my answer:

1. A disability attorney or disability representative will help you avoid mistakes on claims. What mistakes? There are many to avoid, such as a) missing scheduled appointments for consultative medical exams, which are basically Social Security Medical examinations, b) failing to get in touch with a disability examiner when they have requested that you contact them within 10 days, c) failing to update Social Security with changes in your condition or keeping them updated with regard to your treatment, or even failing to keep them updated with how to get in touch with you. And, of course, d) failing to file an appeal before the deadline expires.

Any of these mistakes can have an injurious effect on your claim and you definitely want to avoid them. They simply are unnecessary. Part of what a disability attorney or disability representative will do is work to ensure that these simple but potentially harmful mistakes do not happen.

Obviously, when it comes to appeals, a disability representative or attorney will file your appeal for you so that the deadline cannot be missed. In the other examples, however, your attorney or representative will receive copies of all correspondence sent to you by the Social Security Administration and will then typically remind you of your examination appointment, remind you to get in touch with SSA if they have requested this, or update your disability examiner with new medical treatment information assuming that you provided this information to your attorney or representative.

2. A disability attorney or disability representative will attempt to obtain the information that is necessary to prove that you are disabled according to the Social Security Administration's own definition of disability. This information includes medical records of a physical or mental nature, but can also include statements from your doctors.

These statements are referred to as medical source statements and Social Security refers to them as RFCs or residual functional capacity forms. But they basically do one thing: they take your doctor's opinion about how your medical condition, or conditions, limit your ability to do normal everday activities, including work activity. This information is recorded in very specific detail and the form will typically ask, among other things, how long you can sit or stand, how much weight you can occasionally or frequently carry, your ability to reach, grasp, maintain attention and concentration, etc, etc.

Forms from doctors are, quite honestly, sometimes essentially ignored by disability examiners if your claim is being worked on at the disability application or reconsideration appeal level. However, they can have a very strong impact at a disability hearing conducted by an ALJ or administrative law judge. Disability attorneys and Disability Representatives frequently use these forms obtained from doctors to effectively win their client's cases for them.

Suffice it to say, the primary role of someone representing a disability claim is to win the claim. However, an individual representing a claim will use their knowledge of your case and medical history to establish the most favorable onset date possible (when your disability began) so that you can receive the highest amount possible in disability back pay. And also allow you to receive your medicare benefits as quickly as possible (note: medicare applies to Social Security Disability, not SSI. SSI recipients may potentially receive medicaid).

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:

Does SSI disability come with automatic medical care?

How long do you have to be out of work to get disability benefits?

Can disability be denied because of not enough doctor visits?

Can I get Social Security Disability off my spouse’s record?

Do I need an attorney to get disability?

Getting the Status of your Disability Hearing Request

Will I be sent to my own doctor for a disability examination for SSD or SSI?

Does Social Security send you to their doctors?

Using the right medical evidence to win disability benefits

Disability Judges and getting information for your disability claim decision

What do I do after being denied disability?

Can I receive temporary SSI disability benefits?

How to get an SSDI reconsideration appeal approved

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.