Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

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 individualís 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 individualís 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 clientís 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.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

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

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria