Social Security Disability Resource Center

Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

It is worth it to have your disability case heard by a Judge

There are, no doubt, many thousands of stories out there about disability judges who were terse, rude, judgmental (no pun intended) and who simply made bad decisions on claims brought before them.

However, the fact remains: every claimant who goes before an ALJ has been denied on an initial Social Security Disability or SSI claim and on a first appeal. And roughly half of all claims that are taken to disability hearings...are won by claimants and their representatives. Because of this, I think it is reasonable to say that the ALJ (administrative law judge) serves as an equalizer, of sorts

When I was a disability examiner, we used to speak about the great differences in approval rates; that is, cases approved at DDS and cases approved at hearings offices. Unfortunately, most examiners were of the mind that ALJs approved far too many claims (which reconsideration-level disability examiners had denied).

However, the examiners who thought this way suffered from tunnel vision. They were unable to view the system in ways other than those related to their job function. The truth is, how you look at a disability claim and how you look at the person filing the claim probably depends a great deal on whether you actually meet the person.

Disability examiners do not meet the individuals whose claims they are deciding. Disability judges do. To an examiner, a claimant is a file, a job, a performance statistic for one's annual evaluation. And to some extent, this may be true of judges. But judges meet the individuals whose fate they decide. And because of this, for at least a few minutes, the file has a face.

Remember, disability evaluation is not an objective process. It is subjective and statements to the contrary are wishful thinking at best, and lies at worst---if it was objective, judges would not be overturning so many prior denials.

  • 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

    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

    The SSDRC Disability Blog

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Getting disability in North Carolina

    Related pages:

    Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
    How Long Does It Take To Go Before A Judge For Disability Benefits?
    Scheduled for a disability hearing before an administrative law judge
    What Percentage Of Social Security Disability or SSI Cases Does A Judge Deny?
    How long does a disability judge have to make a decision?

    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 provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

    Disability qualifications - Who will qualify is based on functional limitations
    What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
    How to file for disability and the information needed by Social Security
    What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
    How does back pay for Social Security disability work?
    What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI? Part I
    To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
    Social Security Disability Status - when should I call to check
    Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
    What is qualifying for disability based on?
    How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
    Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
    How long does it take to get disability?
    Filing and applying for disability in Texas