Social Security Disability Resource Center
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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).
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.
Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center
The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI
Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
The SSI Disability Benefits Program
Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs
Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews
Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children
Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative
What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney
Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits
Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability
Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children
Disability Benefits through Social Security
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records
Filing your claim for disability benefits
Eligibility for receiving disability benefits
Resources on this site
Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
The SSDRC Disability Blog
For Individuals living in North Carolina
Disability in North Carolina
North Carolina Disability Lawyer
Getting disability in North Carolina
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?
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.
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?