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 you talk to an Attorney before you file a Disability Claim with Social Security?

This is a common question that gets a fairly common response; however, I was asked this question by someone whose situation is a classic example of when it may make perfect sense to talk to an attorney who handles disability cases, or a non-attorney disability representative.

Before addressing the individual's specific situation, what is the standard answer to the question, "Should you think of getting a lawyer before you have been denied for disability, or before you have even filed a disability claim?". The answer for many people will be: "No, wait until your claim has been denied at least once before getting a lawyer".

The rationale behind this answer is that when a person gets a lawyer and files the paperwork for representation--which includes a fee agreement and signing an SSA-1696 appointment of representative form--if the disability case is won the lawyer will be fully entitled to receiving a fee even if they did very little on the case.

(Note: The fee is equal to one-fourth of the claimant's back pay up to a certain maximum -- to see the current maximum, visit this page: How much does a Social Security Disability attorney or lawyer get paid?).

Why should a person pay a disability lawyer for providing services if no services, or very little in the way of services, was actually provided? Most would conclude that there is no reason for doing this. In other words, if the bulk of the lawyer's work only occurs after the claim has been denied at the disability application level, getting a lawyer can easily wait until the claim has been initially denied.

My own opinion in this area is that a person would be ill-advised to go to a disability hearing where the decision is made by a federal judge (and where expert vocational and medical witnesses may be called by the judge--solely at their discretion--to provide pivotal testimony) without representation.

Furthermore, if a person receives a denial on a disability application, the argument can be made that they might as well get disability representation before their case is decided at the next level (the reconsideration appeal level). This is simply because most reconsideration appeals are likewise denied, making the need for requesting a hearing nearly a foregone conclusion.

In other words, if you get denied once, you are, statistically speaking, highly likely to get denied again, and you will probably have to go to a hearing in order to win disability benefits...so you might as well get a disability attorney.

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:

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
If you apply for disability in Ohio
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Ohio?
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Ohio
How do you appeal your disability denial in Ohio?

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.