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 you get someone to help you with your Social Security Disability or SSI claim?

When it comes to filing for disability benefits with the social security administration, you should do the following.

1. Learn how the disability process and system works.

2. Don't utilize the services of social agencies (such as a department of social services) to assist you will applying for disability.

3. Immediately apply for disability.

Number three, of course, should be a given if an individual has a mental or physical impairment (or several impairments, which is often the case) and the impairment makes it either impossible to work or has the effect of significantly reducing the ability to work and earn a sustainable wage. And the keyword in that sentence should be "immediately".

Simply put, disability cases take a long time to process and more cases are denied at the application level than approved, thus, making it necessary to file appeals. And the appeal process for Social Security Disability and SSI can be very long, indeed.

Number one is simply good advice. A claimant should learn how the system works, both to reduce the probability of making a mistake on a claim and for this one reason: social security offices typically do a poor job of explaining how the system works to individuals who are filing for disability or already have a pending claim. And this is probably the reason why so many claimants do the following: file brand new applications after they have been denied (when they should have filed an appeal instead).

Number two on this list, however, is also a good point of advice and this is something I can speak with authority on. I am a former disability claims examiner for social security. And in that capacity, I made decisions on SSD and SSI disability cases.

However, I have also been a social services caseworker in a number of programs, including medicaid. And in caseworker roles, I knew nothing practically about the Social Security Disability and SSI disability system. In fact, it would be difficult to find anyone (caseworker or social worker) at a department of social services who knows anything about the federal disability programs. Why is that? The answer is simple. Its not their job to know.

Should you get someone to help you with your Social Security Disability or SSI claim?

If you have a friend, neighbor, or relative who has been through the process, you might want to solicit their advice. And, in some cases, if a social services organization offers you assistance in getting a disability claim initiated (such as providing transportation to a social security office for an interview, or setting up an appointment to file an application), then you may wish to take advantage of this.

However, when it comes to case preparation, particularly involving appeals, and especially involving disability hearings, you should probably obtain the assistance of an individual who is thoroughly familiar with how the system works. And if you are at a point where you consider it necessary to obtain representation on your claim, you should make sure the representative you eventually choose (a disability attorney or non-attorney representative) specializes in Social Security Disability and SSI cases.

Why? Because you don't want a generalist who only represents a handful of these cases each. What you want, and will benefit from, is a specialist who does nothing but represent SSD and SSI cases (and, as a result, is intimately familiar with such cases, and is also familiar with the judges at hearing office for your area's jurisdication).

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

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New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Disability requirements and how to file in Pennsylvania
What are the Application Requirements For SSI Disability?
How to File for SSI
Which medical treatment sources will Social Security accept for evidence?
How does Social Security determine someone can't work?
How can I win disability if I don't have health insurance and can be seen by a doctor?
Applying for disability, medical conditions
Appealing A Social Security Disability Determination
Disability requirements, eligibility, criteria
How do you Apply for SSI?
What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability?

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

What Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Disability for a mental condition
Tips for Filing for disability
Financial Help Filing For Disability
Checklist for filing for disability, SSI or SSD
Qualifying for disability benefits, how to qualify for SSD or SSI
Filing a disability application: the steps
Disability award notice, how long it takes to get benefits
How to Apply for Disability - Where do I go?
What makes you eligible to get disability?
How to check my disability claim status?
Can a disability attorney speed up a disability case?
SSI disability Award Letter
How long to get approved for disability?
How to apply for disability benefits
How long does disability back pay take?
What are qualifications for getting disability?
What medical conditions can you file disability for?
Disability Lawyer help questions
Social Security Attorneys, Disability Representatives

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.