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

Can I Do My Social Security Appeal Without Using A Lawyer?

Social Security does not require that a person use a lawyer for a disability appeal. In fact, Social Security Disability representatives do not have to be lawyers. Individuals who apply for disability with Social Security can appeal their disability decisions themselves, or have anyone else they wish file an appeal for them.

Additionally, disability applicants can have professional non-attorney representatives represent them for their disability appeals rather than a lawyer.

That said, however, disability applicants who feel that they cannot keep up with their disability appeal deadlines (all disability applicants must file an appeal within sixty-five days of their disability denial notice date), or manage their claim most efficiently, should have someone help them file their disability appeal.

For most individuals this will mean obtaining the services of a non-attorney representative or a lawyer when they receive their initial disability denial. However, if an individual is capable of completing and returning their appeal (either in paper form or via the internet) to Social Security within the sixty-five day appeal period, they have done what any representative could do for them at the reconsideration appeal level.

This scenario changes if an individual’s reconsideration is denied. If a "request for reconsideration" appeal is denied (this is the first appeal), then the claimant's next step will be to request a hearing.

Most individual’s who have to go before an administrative law judge (the individual who renders the decision at a disability hearing) should obtain the services of a knowledgeable representative who is either an attorney or an experienced non-attorney representative. This is practical simply because most individuals who have to appeal disability claims to the disability hearing level are not familiar with the rules and guidelines that govern Social Security Disability, nor are they able to present their own disability cases in a manner that will win their disability benefits.

Generally, representatives gather medical and vocational information that will be helpful to their client’s cases and they are able to present these cases objectively using their knowledge of Social Security Disability vocational grids, disability rules, and case law.

In fact, Social Security Disability applicants with representation are as much as fifty percent more likely to win their disability claims at hearings versus those without representation.

In summary, any disability applicant can file their appeals and represent themselves at any disability proceeding, however many individuals benefit from having a representative or lawyer available to file their appeals and represent them should their disability claim require an administrative law judge hearing.

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:

How long do disability benefits last?
Can you file for both SSI and SSD disability benefits?
A medical or non-medical denial for disability
What does a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative do for your claim?
Getting a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative for your case
How will an attorney help me win disability benefits?
Disability Lawyers, Medical Records, and Social Security Hearings
What Expenses Will A Social Security Attorney Charge In Addition To The Fee?
Can a disability attorney speed up my disability hearing case?
Should you get a Disability Lawyer before you File for Disability, or get an answer on your claim?
Using a lawyer for a Social Security Disability, SSDI, case
Can you file for SSD and SSI at the same time and have the cases worked on separately?
Social Security Disability and treatment counselors

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.