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 Florida

Disability representation, i.e. getting a lawyer or representative, is always optional. However, claimants who are represented on disability claims for SSI and SSD in Florida tend to have a higher rate of approval, a need for fewer appeals, and more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the disability is proven to have begun) that lead to higher back pay benefits.

Representation may be through a disability lawyer or a specialized non-attorney disability representative. Many non-attorney reps are former Social Security Administration Claims Specialists and Disability Examiners with an extended history of working from within the federal system.

1. Questions about using a disability lawyer

2. More questions and answers about disability lawyers

A qualified disability representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law, particularly with regard to how claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules. A qualified and competent disability representative or lawyer will also be skilled in the ability to obtain the most relevant case evidence, analyze it correctly, and incorporate it as part of a winning strategy for a claim.

To learn about fees for representation, see: "How do disability lawyers get paid?"

Additional information

If you are applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI in Florida, the odds of winning benefits are fairly slim. Only about 31% of disability applicants in Florida are approved for SSD/SSI, and those who appeal their cases are even less likely to prevail—about 81% of first appeals to the Florida state Social Security Disability determination services agency are denied each year.

These statistics are in keeping with the national average, though. It is well-known throughout every state of the country that most applications for disability are denied—in fact, initial claims for disability are denied so regularly, a common misconception has developed that there is an unwritten policy in the Social Security Administration (SSA), which dictates that all claims be denied at least once before they are approved.

While SSA has no such policy, written or unwritten, it is easy to see why the general public has reached this conclusion, given that so many Social Security Disability examiners deny claims that are later approved by an administrative law judge in a disability hearing (if the applicant is persistent and doesn’t give up, that is).

Of course, these bleak statistics in no way mean that your claim for SSD or SSI benefits will automatically be denied—keep in mind that, overall, about half of all applicants are eventually approved by disability determination services examiners, either on initial application or request for reconsideration (the first appeal in the process).

However, if you are planning to file for benefits, it does not hurt to prepare yourself for the fact that your case is likely to be denied, and to begin to understand the options open to you at that point so that you can plan accordingly. If your claim for disability is denied by the state disability determination services, you have the option of requesting a hearing before an administrative judge, and at this point you should strongly consider obtaining legal representation.

Disability cases in which claimants are represented by a disability lawyer are more likely to be approved, and some judges even advise claimants who show up to their hearing without a lawyer of their right to legal representation before the proceedings begin (Hint Hint!).

At every level of consideration in the disability determination process, having a lawyer or non attorney rep involved can improve your chances of being approved for benefits, or at the very least make the process easier for you average individual, who probably does not have a full understanding of the type of evidence or documentation that must be provided to the judge in order to meet the legal definition of disability.

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?

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.