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 Hawaii

Claimants with representation in Hawaii tend to be approved in higher percentages, have a need for fewer appeals, and 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 reps are former Social Security Administration Claims Specialists and Disability Examiners.

A qualified representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law and procedures, especially with regard to 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 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

Nationally, most people who file for Social Security (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability are denied. In Hawaii, the number of initial disability claims approved for disability benefits exceeds the national average. In fact, Social Security Disability examiners approve about thirty five percent of their initial disability claims compared to a national approval rate of thirty two percent.

However, while more residents of the state of Hawaii are approved at the initial claim level versus other states, the majority are still denied for disability. Naturally, you can appeal your disability claim denial. Unfortunately, your chances of qualifying for disability benefits do not improve with your reconsideration appeal in Hawaii, or any other state.

More than twenty-two percent of all reconsideration appeals are approved in Hawaii, which makes Hawaii one of the most favorable states for an approval for benefits at the reconsideration level. Still, the vast majority of reconsideration appeals—approximately 78 percent, are denied.

Filing for disability with the Social Security Administration can be very difficult. Generally, it takes a considerable amount of time to be awarded disability benefits, with no guarantee of being approved for disability benefits at all.

Most individuals who file for disability are looking at three or four months for their initial disability decision (meaning the decision on their application for disability). If they file a reconsideration appeal, they will typically wait another sixty days for that decision, and if this appeal is denied they may wait a year or more simply to be scheduled for a disability hearing.

While there are a few disability claimants who are approved for disability benefits quickly, most will have to pursue the Socials Security appeal process. Although, it takes many months to get a disability hearing, the administrative law judge offers your best chance of being awarded benefits.

This seems especially true in Hawaii where the disability hearing approval rate is sixty-nine percent. The national Social Security Disability hearing approval rate is only fifty–six percent, so you have substantially better odds of winning your disability claim in Hawaii.

If you reside in Hawaii, you may wish to consider the services of professional representative if you have to appeal your disability claim. The process is difficult at best even in a state where you are more likely to win your case at all levels. It take a long time to get your disability case before an administrative law judge, so it may be beneficial to have someone who is familiar with Social Security medical and vocational guidelines to present your case.

Social Security Disability hearings are considered a non-adversarial; however your disability case must be supported by objective medical evidence that would suggest “a finding of disabled”. Your representative will get the necessary medical evidence to support your disability claim; they will also go with you to your disability hearing. For most disability applicants, this relieves the stress of going to a hearing before a judge with no idea as to what information is necessary to win the case.

Your representative will present the facts of your disability claim in a way that is most favorable for your disability case. Congressional statistical data indicates that disability claims with representation are more likely to be approved for disability benefits.

As stated above, this individual may be a non-attorney disability representative or a disability lawyer. Many non-attorneys are former employees of the Social Security Administration, or are former disability examiners such as the author of SSDRC.com, Tim Moore.

The main point, however, is that whoever is chosen to handle a disability claim should specialize in Social Security administrative law. This is always the case with non-attorneys; however, disability attorneys often handle a variety of legal cases (criminal, workman’s comp, speeding tickets) and so never develop an indepth understanding of the complexity of the Social Security system.

A disability case is much more easily won when a claimant’s representative is qualified in the sense that they are familiar with federal rulings and regulations and focus exclusively on Social Security claims. However, their level of expertise is enhanced when they have formerly worked from within the disability system.

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.