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 Louisiana

Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Louisiana 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.

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 a resident of Louisiana who is considering filing for disability benefits, you will almost certainly wish to consult a qualified attorney specializing in Louisiana state disability law at some point. This is because, while it is no easy task to win disability cases in any state, those filing in Louisiana are even less likely to be awarded disability benefits than applicants living in other states.

Only 31% of all Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) or supplemental security income (SSI) cases filed in Louisiana win benefits each year, and only about 33% of all appeals (also called requests for reconsideration or review) to the Louisiana department of disability determination services are successful, which means that many, many Louisiana applicants are denied benefits.

Because the odds of winning disability benefits in Louisiana are so unfavorable, you should definitely consult an attorney or non-attorney rep (non-attorney reps are usually individuals who have worked for DDS or the social security administration in the past, and have a great deal of experience in this area) as soon as you feel you need help. A qualified disability attorney can help you gather your medical records, file all of your documents for you on time (this is especially important if you file an appeal with DDS—if you miss their deadline, your appeal is automatically denied).

If you feel confident filing a disability claim with DDS, and would rather forgo legal counsel at the outset of your case, you are not alone. The majority of individuals filing for disability in Louisiana do not retain a lawyer unless their disability application and appeal have failed, and they are facing their second appeal.

If your claim for disability benefits is denied, and your reconsideration appeal fails as well, you should definitely get a disability lawyer before your second appeal, which will take place at a hearing before a federal administrative law judge (ALJ).

Statistics indicate that judges are significantly (up to 50 percent) more likely to award benefits to those who are represented by a disability lawyer than those who choose to represent themselves. There is little doubt that at this level of consideration a lawyer can make the difference between a loss and a win, and would be well worth the cost to retain his or her services.

Also, keep in mind that it can take up to a year to get a case heard before an ALJ due to backlogs in the system (the number of people filing for disability benefits has greatly increased over the past few years). Given the long wait to be heard and the unfavorable environment for disability cases in Louisiana, it is strongly recommended that applicants take no chances and retain legal counsel before this last chance to appeal their case.

Note: The request for reconsideration appeal step is currently suspended in the state of Louisiana as Louisiana is one of 10 prototype states testing a system in which denied claims move immediately to the hearing level upon appeal. Reconsideration may be reinstated at some point and many consider this likely. In the meantime, a claimant who is denied on a disability application should request, and prepare, for a hearing before a federal administrative law judge.

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.