Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Get an experienced disability, not one that makes mistakes

If you have not yet hired a disability attorney and are due to appear before a judge in a social security disability hearing, then now is the time to seek legal counsel. Statistics show that those who are represented by a disability lawyer at their hearing are fifty percent more likely to win disability benefits than those claimants who represent themselves.

However, hiring an attorney does not ensure a good outcome for your case; in some cases even experienced disability lawyers will “drop the ball,” causing your claim to be denied, and forcing you to start over again at square one.

You can increase the odds of receiving adequate representation from your disability lawyer if you watch out for the following attorney missteps:

1. Attorney is not familiar with the particulars of the case. Unfortunately, there are some disability attorneys and non attorney reps who are known for not even reading the file until the day of the hearing. No lawyer can adequately represent a disability claimant without a firm grasp of the claimant’s medical condition, work history, etc. If you suspect your lawyer is not taking an interest in your case, find better representation.

2. Attorney misses deadline for filing. This is a big one—a claimant may be forced to start all over with a new disability application if a disability lawyer does not file on time. As previously stated, the process of application at the state disability agency level can take months or years, during which time you may find you are unable to work, and without benefits. Do not be afraid to call your lawyer to remind him or her of approaching deadlines.

3. Attorney submits incomplete paperwork. Your case cannot move forward until all the required forms are completed and submitted. The claims representative ( CR), the social security employee assigned to process your claim, will delay your case if forms are incomplete or are missing, and will have no choice but to contact you personally for the information.

4. Attorney does not get a residual functional capacity (RFC) statement from claimant’s doctor. An RFC is a form on which a claimant’s treating physician states what activities an individual is no longer able to perform as a result of their condition. Although it is true that RFC forms generated by social security are often used as the basis for rejecting disability claims, at the hearing level an RFC from your own doctor, supporting your condition, can only help your case. Make sure your attorney has an RFC from your physician on file before going to a hearing.

Remember, although an administrative law judge is statistically more likely to grant your claim for disability than your local state social security disability agency, there are no guarantees, even when you have legal representation. Keep a close eye on your case, and don’t be afraid to check up on your disability attorney well in advance of your "day in court".

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Filing for disability with IBS, irritable bowel syndrome
Appealing a denial of Social Security Disability or SSI
Social Security Definition of disability for a child
24 month waiting period and Social Security Disability
How your past work affects your Social Security Disability or SSI decision?
How long does your condition have to last to qualify for disability?
What SSA means by disabled and disability
What Income Will Affect Your Disability Benefits? (Workers Compensation, Wages etc)
Social Security Disability - What is considered earned income versus unearned income?
The amount of back pay that you receive
If You Get Social Security Disability or SSI, Will Your Dependents Get A Check?
How to file for disability, tips to start
How Long Does A Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits When You First File?
Hashimoto's Disease and Filing for Disability

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

What mental problems qualify for disability?
SSI disability status
How to prove you qualify for disability
Qualifying for disability eligibility requirements
How Does Social Security Decide If You Are Disabled
How much does disability pay?
Factors involved in Winning SSDI or SSI Claims
Applying for disability with Degenerative Disc Disease
How long to get a Social Security decision letter?
What Does Social Security Consider To Be a Disability?
The amount of back pay that you receive
Social Security medical disability determination process
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How long can you receive SSI or Social Security disability benefits?
How Long Does A Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits When You First File?
Can you work if you get SSI disability?
Social Security Disability attorney fees
Am I eligible to receive disability benefits?
What are the non medical requirements for disability
How to get SSI
Approved for disability benefits
SSD SSI disability hearing decision