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 have a lawyer working on my disability case?

Most people filing for Social Security Disability are perfectly capable of filing their initial disability claim. If your disability claim is at the disability determination agency, you may be asked to provide more information, attend a consultative examination, or complete questionnaires for them. If you can handle these things, you most likely do not need a lawyer at this level of the disability process. However, if you are an individual with mental or physical impairments that make this difficult, it may be advisable for you to get a lawyer or Social Security representative to handle your disability case for you.

But…it is worth noting that even individuals with good memory, attention to detail, and high intelligence who are not represented can sometimes make terrible mistakes on their claim. I am personally aware of one case in which an individual, a computer network administrator, filed his claim online, never fully completed the claim online, and was then sent a denial notice. He did not appeal (you only have 60 days) and let his appeal period expire. Why did he not appeal? Because, from his point of view, he had not finished supplying the information on his application. Which brings up two things: one is that you cannot take forever to finish an online application for disability, and two is that a lawyer would have told him that he needed to file the appeal ASAP or face starting over again, thus wasting months of time. The individual was forced to start over again from scratch. A disability attorney handling the case would not have allowed this otherwise smart individual to make such a terrible mistake based on a poor assumption.

At this risk of being redundant, if you receive a denial notice, you have to file a reconsideration appeal to continue your disability claim. If you can handle completing your appeal forms or filing your appeal online, you may not need a lawyer at this time. However, many disability claimants seek out the services of a Social Security representative or disability lawyer to handle their reconsideration appeal simply because it is highly likely their disability case will have to go to a disability hearing before administrative law judge.

Why? Most reconsideration appeals are denied (in many, if not most, states the denial rate on a request for reconsideration disability appeal is over 80 percent). And this makes sense when you consider that the reconsideration appeal is not any different in the process of decision-making; it is simply sent to a different disability examiner. That second examiner will review what happened with the first examiner, however if the initial examiner did not make an obvious mistake the odds are strong that the decision will be the same. In other words, a second denial.

So what next? If you are denied, a Request for an Administrative Law judge review appeal must be filed in order for your claim to keep moving forward. At this point, you should have a lawyer or Social Security representative working on your disability case. You need someone who knows Social Security Disability case law and vocational guidelines to present your disability case in a way that is favorable for your case being approved by an administrative law judge.

Over the past three decades, it is very clear that individuals who have a case at a disability hearing and who are represented are much more likely to win.

See: What does a Social Security Disability Lawyer or Representative do for your claim?, How will an attorney help me win disability benefits?, and How much should my lawyer say at my 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:

Should I get a lawyer if I have already filed for disability?
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Social Security Disability Hearing?
Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
How will an attorney help me win disability benefits?
Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Missouri?
Missouri disability lawyer
Apply for Social Security Disability in Missouri
Applying for SSI in Missouri
Will I Qualify for Social Security Disability in Missouri?
How much does it cost to get a disability lawyer in Missouri?

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.