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 get representation for an upcoming hearing?

Summary: Social Security does not require a lawyer for a disability hearing. But there are several reasons why having assistance will be helpful, or even vital to winning a case at the hearing level, starting with knowledge of how decisions are made and what a specific needs to win before a judge.

Should I get representation for an upcoming hearing?

As we stated, if you are pursuing SSD or SSI benefits, Social Security most certainly does not require that you have representation. However, you might benefit from the services of a competent Social Security Disability representative or disability attorney.

What is the difference between using a representative or attorney? Practically, none. A non-attorney representative may also be more likelier to have formerly worked for the Social Security Administration, or for DDS as a disability examiner.

Getting evidence for the hearing

Whoever represents your case, they will be responsible for obtaining to win your claim. This is particularly important since SSA does not obtain your most recent medical records at the hearing level. And since it can take over a year to get to a hearing, this can mean that everything in your file is a year old. Note: SSA cannot approve a disability claim unless they have at least some evidence that is recent, meaning not older than 90 days.

In this regard, a lawyer or non-attorney rep can make sure your disability claim file has the necessary medical information. This will also typically include attempting to obtain solid statements from your doctor or doctors (treating physicians is the term used by SSA). Medical source statements, as they are called, can certainly help win SSD or SSI benefits at a hearing with an ALJ (administrative law judge).

Hearing expertise

In addition to evidence gathering, representation at your hearing can present the information in a way that is most favorable for your being approved. Disability claims with representation at the hearing are about 21% more likely to be approved than those that are not represented. And to a great extent, this may be because a disability attorney or non-attorney representative understands vocational grid rules, sequential evaluation, onset dates in relation to filing dates, DLI (date last insured) issues, substantial gainful activity, and other terms and concepts which claimants, most likely, have never heard of.

Being represented at a hearing, or not

Social Security does not require that you be represented at a disability hearing. But…it is very unwise to represent yourself at a hearing.

Social Security also does not require that your representative be an attorney. As we said, often a Social Security Disability representative is more familiar with Social Security medical vocational guides lines and case law than an attorney unless the attorney’s focus is strictly Social Security Disability, versus taking the occasional SSD or SSI case. And even then, some non-attorney representatives are simply better, especially if they have been handling cases for many years.

If you represent your disability claim at the hearing, you may be approved if your disability claim is a clear allowance (an easy win). If your disability claim relies on the vocational grid guidelines, you need someone who knows what rules will help your disability claim.

Additionally, most disability applicants have had a long wait filled with financial hardship before they get their disability hearing and this often leads to emotionality that does not necessarily help you present your disability claim in an organized manner. It would probably be advisable to do all that you can to get a favorable outcome from 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:

What is a Social Security Disability Representative?
Getting a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative
What does a Social Security Disability Lawyer or Representative do for your claim?
What if I go to a Social Security hearing without an Attorney or a Disability Representative?
the Disability Representative Before and After the Social Security Hearing
Why do I need an attorney for Social Security Disability?

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 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.