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 I be Represented by a Lawyer or a Non-Attorney Disability Representative?

A Social Security Disability case or SSI disability case should always be handled and represented by a specialist.

This means that if you have an attorney working on your claim, the attorney should be one that specializes in the representation of SSD and SSI claims versus an attorney that only devotes a percentage of his or her total workload to social security cases and devotes the rest of their workload to, for example, a combination of traffic, personal injury, and medical malpractice cases.

Why do you want a specialist? For the most practical reason, really. The disability system administered by the Social security Administration is a complex system of case law and regulatory and administrative procedure (which is why the federal judges that make decisions on claims at the hearing level are ALJs, or administrative law judges).

To fully understand how cases are decided, how they are processed (by disability examiners who make decisions on each disability application filed), and how and why a case is either approved or denied, it takes a specialist.

This is particularly evident when you take into consideration the fact that a disability representative should be able to review a claimant's file and quickly and easily understand the following:

1. The medical evidence - Was all the medical evidence gathered? Was some of it missed when the disability examiner requested the claimant's records. Was some of it not properly considered? Was the evidence properly evaluated?

This last question is especially important since the medical evidence is used to determine the claimant's residual functional capacity which allows the disability examiner to decide whether or not the claimant is capable of going back to work.

2. The decision that was made on the case - A disability representative who is an experienced specialist will be able to review the history of the case and understand what medical-vocational rule was employed to direct a decision of disabled or not disabled.

Likewise, a specialist will be able to ascertain whether or not a case processing error was made, or what the prospects are for approval should the claim be appealed.

An attorney who only occasionally represents Social Security Disability cases and SSI cases will, typically, have less understanding of how the federal system works and, as a result, a claimant who has such a representative will potentially be a grave disadvantage if this type of representative handles their case.

How can a claimant know if their disability attorney, or prospective attorney, specializes in social security law, or only handles the occasional claim? The easiest way to to do this is visit the attorney's website, or to simply ask them on the phone if they specialize in social security, or represent other types of legal cases.

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:

Should I be Represented by a Lawyer or a Non-Attorney Disability Representative?
What is the Role of a Social Security Disability Representative?
Getting a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative for your case
Will an attorney or representative help me win North Carolina disability benefits?
Should I get a disability representative or lawyer in North Carolina?
Responsibilities of the Disability Representative Before and After the Social Security Hearing
Facing the possibility of having to leave work and go back on disability
If you apply for disability in Alabama
Will I qualify for disability Alabama
Will my SSI or SSDI claim be denied if my spouse makes too much?

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.