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
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Arizona
Claimants with disability representation in Arizona tend to be approved in higher percentages, need fewer appeals, and have more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the disability is proven to have begun) which can result in higher back pay benefits.
Representation may be through a disability lawyer or a specialized non-attorney disability representative. Many non-attorney representatives are actually former Social Security Administration Claims Specialists and Disability Examiners.
A qualified representative will be knowledgable with regard to Social Security administrative law and procedures, particularly concerning how claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules. A qualified and competent representative or lawyer will also be skilled in obtaining the most relevant case evidence, analyzing it correctly, and incorporating it as part of a winning strategy for an SSD or SSI claim.
To learn about fees for representation, see: "How do disability lawyers get paid?"
If you are considering filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI benefits in Arizona, your chances of winning benefits are a little less than 50/50. In Arizona, 53.4% of all initial disability claims, i.e. disability applications, are turned down by the Arizona disability determination services (DDS).
If you appeal the denial by filing a request for reconsideration with DDS, your chances of winning are 30.6%, which means that about two-thirds of all appeals are denied. If these figures seem discouraging, you might be surprised to learn that Arizona SSD and SSI approval rates are actually well above the national average.
Simply put, Arizona residents are more likely to win disability benefits than applicants in other states; however, despite this relatively favorable climate, it is important to keep in mind that, at the first two levels of the disability determination process, the odds of winning are against you.
Many individuals filing for SSD or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits in Arizona will find that they are able to comply with the most basic requests for information and filing deadlines of the social security administration (SSA) and the Arizona Disability Determination Services without the need for counsel.
Though it should be noted that some cases are lost because DDS was not notified of specific medical record documentation and a significant percentage of claimants who are without representation fail to file an appeal on a timely basis.
Additionally, there are instances in which early representation can allow a claim to be won without the need for appeal, which can save many months in case processing time. Individuals who have chronic mobility or pain symptoms, memory lapses, or depression or anxiety, will also often benefit from obtaining representation at the start of the claim process.
The majority of individuals filing a claim in Arizona will be denied by DDS at both the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels, and will need help making their case for disability.
Those who are denied at the application level should probably consider finding representation simply because the odds of being denied on the first appeal, the reconsideration, are over 80 percent. Those who have been denied twice by DDS (at the application and reconsideration levels) should certainly consult with a qualified disability attorney or qualified non-attorney disability representative.
It is never recommended that a claimant should go to a disability hearing unrepresented even if they have proceeded through the first appeal level, the request for reconsideration, unrepresented. It is often the case that judges in Arizona will even advise claimants who show up unrepresented at hearings to have their hearings rescheduled so as to allow the claimant the opportunity to consult with a representative before the hearing is conducted.
Arizona disability applicants with representation may be as much as 50 percent more likely to win benefits from an administrative law judge than those who represent themselves, perhaps, in part, because judges are more receptive to arguments presented by lawyers. However, this is more likely because a lawyer or disability representative who specializes in SSD and SSI claims in Arizona will be able to put together a better argument that is supported by a knowledge of the regulations, rulings, and grid rules, and, thus, a stronger case.
Unrepresented claimants, by contrast, generally are unaware of what is required to properly prepare a case prior to hearing, or even what types of evidence to focus on, let alone the importance of obtaining a medical source statement from a claimant's treating physician.
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?
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.