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

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 you might as well get a disability attorney.

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

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