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

Do I need a lawyer or representative for a disability hearing?

Very few individuals would be qualified to represent themselves at a disability hearing. This is simply because the system is complex. Disability examiners have a very specific approach to evaluating both a person's medical record documentation and work history in order to determine if a claimant actually meets the Social Security Administration's definition of disability.

How complex is the decision-making process? An examiner will check to see if a claimant has a medical condition that is contained in the disability listings and if they also meet the criteria for a listing approval. If a person cannot be approved under a listing, the examiner will determine what the person's functional limitations (which can be mental, physical, or both) are and then compare these limitations to what the individual's past jobs required. The purpose of this is to determine if the claimant can go back to their past work, or switch to some form of other work.

Obviously, this is not a simple process. And, likewise, it is not a simple process for someone who has not been trained in the disability determination system to understand. So, the answer is yes, anyone who is going to a disability hearing would be wise to have representation by a lawyer or advocate.

If you have applied for disability and been denied, the reason you have not been approved with your initial disability claim or reconsideration appeal is, logically, that your claim is not a clear approval under Social Security Disability guidelines. This, of course, means that you will need to do more to prove your case if you expect to be approved at your disability hearing.

As an average person, you will not be familiar with the guidelines and rules of Social Security Disability. And you would not be able to present your case in a manner that would lead to an approval unless your disability condition has worsened to the point that it meets or equals an impairment listing or it is expected to result in death.

Also, you cannot take out the possibility that you will be emotional and unable to talk about your disability claim objectively. This might be expected as you have probably waited a long time for this hearing and it is likely that your financial situation has worsened over all of this time. So…

In practically all situations, it would be advisable to obtain the services of a competent representative for your disability hearing, who could be a disability attorney or a non-attorney disability representative. They will be able to present your disability case to the administrative law judge in a way that is most favorable for a positive outcome. They are able to do this because they are familiar with Social Security Disability case law, rules, and vocational guidelines. They can also relate to the administrative law judge in a professional and unemotional way so as to convince the judge that the facts of your disability case warrant a finding of disabled.

Social Security keeps statistical information with regard to disability hearing approvals and denials and there is no doubt having a professional representative will increase your chance of being approved at your upcoming disability 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:

Filing a Request for Reconsideration
What happens if a Social Security Disability or SSI reconsideration is denied?
How Long Does A Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
What if I go to a Social Security hearing without an Attorney?
Social Security Disability and Going In Front Of A Judge
Can a Congressional Inquiry Really Help Your Disability Case?
Eligibility and Qualifications for Disability in Illinois
Applying for disability in Illinois
Disability Lawyers in Illinois
Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Illinois
Disability denial in Illinois, when to get a lawyer

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

Do I need an attorney to win disability?
How Long Does It Take To Go Before A Judge For Disability?
Will a Judge give you an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
What happens when you go to a disability hearing?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical conditions
Social Security Disability lawyer fee
Can a lawyer or attorney speed up my disability case?
When can I expect my first disability check and my back pay check?
Going to a medical exam for Social Security Disability or SSI
Filing for disability - How to file the disability application
Do you need a lawyer to file for disability?
How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?
Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
The Social Security Disability Award Letter
Social Security Disability SSI Eligibility Requirements
How Many Times Will you be denied before You Get Approved for Disability?
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
How to Prove disability and qualify to win benefits
How to speed up the disability process
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes
What should you say if you go to a Social Security Exam?
Maximum back pay you can get from Social Security Disability or SSI
How to qualify for disability
What is the Social Security Disability List of Impairments?
What is considered a disability by Social Security?
How Long Does A Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
How does back pay for Social Security Disability work?
Your Social Security Disability Status
How do you find out if a disability claim has been approved or denied?
How to check Social Security Disability Status
Applying for disability, what medical conditions can you apply for?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
How much does disability pay?
Can I get permanent Social Security Disability or SSI?
How long will it take to get a disability decision letter?
Social Security Disability and SSI Medical Exams
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security Disability?
How Long to get a Disability Hearing decision?
How long to get disability benefits after you receive an award notice?
Social Security Disability and Working
What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?
How To Get Disability Through SSDI or SSI Approved
How Much Income Can A Person Earn If He Draws Social Security Disability?
Partial disability benefits from Social Security
Can I Qualify For Disability for Depression?

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.