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).

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.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    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

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    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

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    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

    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

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    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?