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 to go to court or get a Lawyer to get approved for Social Security Disability or SSI?

I have paid into the disability system through my fica taxes. And I did not want to file for disability but it's not like I have a choice. I don't understand why I should have to be in the position of getting a lawyer or having to go to court to get my disability benefits started when it's clear that I can no longer work.

Unfortunately, the majority of individuals filing for disability will be denied and will find it necessary to file one or more appeals (usually the reconsideration request and the ALJ hearing). That is not always the case, but approximately 70 percent of initial claims are denied and approximately 85 percent of reconsiderations are denied.

Because this is true, claimants are put in the position of having to prove that their condition is severe enough to satisfy the SSA standard of disability.

An attorney is not required at the disability application or reconsideration appeal levels, and, in fact, representation is not a requirement at any level of the system, even federal district court. That said, representation at the first two levels of the system offers several benefits:

1. SSA must keep your attorney "in the loop" so that you can be properly advised at key points in your case, e.g. should a less-than-favorable ruling be appealed?; or should an amended onset date be accepted. This means that the representative will receive copies of all correspondence (you should still notify them if you receive a notice of decision) and also means that Social Security will obtain permission from the representative if they need to contact you directly.

2. A representative will ensure that your appeals are filed timely. Many individuals would be amazed at how often claimants either give up on pursuing their claim, or fail to file an appeal by the required deadline, forcing them to start the process from scratch (unless they can show good cause for submitting a late appeal).

3. A proactive representative may be able to get a case won without the need for a hearing by obtaining strong supportive statements from treating physicians.

4. A representative will keep SSA advised of changes, such as medical treatment information.

5. A representative will conduct periodic status checks on the case (very important since it is not unusual for paperwork to not arrive at its intended destination and for cases to simply fall through the cracks).

At the hearing, however, it is really just foolish to go unrepresented. 99 percent of claimants will have zero understanding of how to prepare for a hearing. And as was said, some claimants will benefit from early representation, particularly if you consider how many claimants end up missing deadlines to file appeals.

Some will wonder how an appeal deadline can be missed when SSA gives the claimant 2 full months plus an additional five days to file the appeal, but my theory on this is that many claimants find the thought of pursuing the claim depressing and maybe even overwhelming. More so if the case has been denied a second time. Which is why it is so very important to inform claimants of the basic facts.

70 percent of all applications ARE denied. 85 percent of all reconsideration appeals ARE denied. These are the odds and claimants who understand this can take the viewpoint that if you they don't approved for benefits initially, they should continue to pursue the case simply because the odds of approval will eventually fall in their favor.

Forty percent of unrepresented claimants will typically be approved by an administrative law judge at a hearing while represented claimants can boost this statistic to over 60 percent (62 percent acccordingly to a federal statistic several years ago).

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 does a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative do for your claim?
Getting a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative for your case
How will an attorney help me win disability benefits?
Disability Lawyers, Medical Records, and Social Security Hearings
What Expenses Will A Social Security Attorney Charge In Addition To The Fee?
Can a disability attorney speed up my disability hearing case?
Should you get a Disability Lawyer before you File for Disability, or get an answer on your claim?
Using a lawyer for a Social Security Disability, SSDI, case

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

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.