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 Michigan

Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Michigan 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

At what point in the process should a Social Security Disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI) applicant in Michigan consult an attorney? Does anyone really need the services of a disability lawyer, and if so, when is the best time to get one involved? The answer to these questions really depends upon the circumstances surrounding each claim, as well as the individual involved.

For instance, some claims are so straightforward they will most likely be immediately approved for benefits by a disability examiner. Individuals have been diagnosed with severe loss of vision, paralysis, debilitating seizure disorders, etc., or those with symptoms that clearly fit a condition listed in the social security administration impairment manual (called the blue book), are likely be approved for benefits fairly quickly and in such cases there may be no need for legal counsel.

However, the majority of disability claimants do not fit neatly into criteria listed in the blue book, and must rely on medical records to convince a disability examiner that they are too disabled to earn a living. For some individuals, the task of gathering all the medical records and work history information to present to the examiner may prove too great, especially when they are already coping with symptoms associated with their condition. They may not be in a place, physically or mentally, in which they are able to stay on top of things.

These individuals should consider retaining a disability lawyer as soon as possible. In Michigan, as soon as the social security administration is informed that a claimant has legal representation in a disability matter, they are required to keep the legal representative informed of the status of the case.

This takes a lot of the weight off the shoulders of the claimant, because their legal representative will deal directly with Social Security Disability services and ensure that everything is in order, as well as file an appeal well within the 60-day deadline should the initial claim be denied (it’s important not to miss this deadline, because if you do, you have to start all over again with a new claim).

Some claimants find that they are able to provide all the necessary medical and work history information to disability determination services with little difficulty, and will not need a lawyer to help them stay on task.

However, anyone in Michigan who has had both their initial disability claim and reconsideration appeal denied by a state disability examiner should strongly consider legal representation, because the next step in the process involves a hearing before an administrative law judge.

In Michigan, your chances of winning disability benefits from an administrative judge are significantly greater when you have legal representation of some kind.

An experienced disability lawyer or non attorney claimant's representative (non-attorney reps are often former SSA representatives of state disability examiners) can mean the difference between approval or disapproval of your claim, and given that it can take over a year to get your case heard (backlogs exist in the disability system in Michigan and just about every other state) you definitely do not want to leave anything to chance when you finally do appear before a federal judge.

Note: The request for reconsideration appeal step is currently suspended in the state of Michigan as Michigan 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.