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

Is there a requirement to have a lawyer at a disability hearing?

Are Social Security Disability Hearings a Rigged Scam? Someone wrote recently the following (paraphrased): "Social security denies nearly everyone the first time, and this is due to a scam involving the judges who used to be practicing disability lawyers, as the lawyers support each other. This forces you to get a lawyer in order to win".

Is there any truth to this? Not a bit, and it reflects a complete misunderstanding of how the Social Security Disability and SSI disability system (which is the same system) works.

When a person first files for disability, they do the following:

1. They usually contact a local social security office to set up an appointment to be interviewed.

2. The purpose of the interview is NOT to determine if the individual is disabled, but, rather, to get the disability application ready to be sent to where the claim will be worked on and decided. Where is that? At a state-level DDS, or disability determination services, agency. It is at a DDS that the claim will be assigned to a disability examiner who will gather the medical records, evaluate those records and the claimant's work history (the academic history if the claimant is a child) in order to arrive at a decision on the claim.

From reading number 2, it should be obvious that judges are not in any way involved in the decisional process at the disability application level. And judges are, furthermore, not involved in decisions at the next step of the system, which is the reconsideration appeal level. That level also involves a disability examiner who will, as with the first level, review the claimant's medical and work history (and possibly academic history if the claimant is a child, or an adult with mental impairment issues) in order to make a decision on the claim.

Disability judges only come into the process at the disability hearing level and the hearings are anything but rigged or scammy. In fact, they offer claimants who have been previously denied their best chance of winning benefits. At the disability application level, where examiners make decisions, about seven out of every ten claims are denied. At the hearing level, where judges make decisions, at least half of all claims are approved and this figure rises to better than sixty percent for claimants who have representation.

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:

A disability attorney and your medical records at a hearing
Does it take the right doctor and letter to win disability?
Medically disabled for Social Security Disability
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
What can I expect from a Social Security Mental Examination or Evaluation?
Filing for disability with obesity
Applying for disability with depression
How to get disability with arthritis, osteoarthritis
How to file for disability in Oklahoma
Forms for Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability Criteria
Denied disability by ALJ
Can You Get Approved For SSI or SSD Benefits if you Have A Mental Condition
Check your SSDI and SSI claim status
How social security evaluates attention deficit

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How to claim disability
Disability claim appeal status
How to get you Social Security Disability status
How does a person qualify for disability benefits?
How do you Apply for SSI?
How Much Income Can you Earn If you draw Social Security Disability?
Can you work if you get SSI?
How long will you get disability after an award notice?
If You Get Social Security Disability or SSI, Will Your Dependents Get A Check?
Social Security Disability denied
Time on a Social Security Disability Decision
How to apply for disability for a child or children
Denied Twice For SSD or SSI Disability, What Do I Do?
f I get disability will my children receive benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI - Retroactive Benefits Vs Back Pay Benefits
How long do you have To Be Out Of Work Before You Get Social Security Disability (SSD)?
How to file for disability and medical conditions
What Does Social Security Consider To Be a Disability?
When does social security consider you eligible for disability benefits?
Qualifying for disability benefits with the social security administration
How to get disability
Will I be approved for disability on my appeal?
How to appeal a disability denial

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.