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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 Missouri




Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Missouri 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 considering filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in Missouri, you should know up front that the Missouri state disability determination services (DDS) agency turns down most disability applicants. Only about thirty percent of all disability claims, including claims for supplemental security income (SSI), are approved by Missouri disability examiners.

In addition, federal statistics indicate that over two-thirds of first appeals filed with DDS in Missouri are denied as well (these first appeals are sometimes referred to as reconsideration appeals). It’s hard to be sure if more cases would be approved by disability examiners if claimants had early legal representation. The majority of disability applicants in Missouri do not choose to involve a disability attorney unless their application has been turned down and their appeal for reconsideration was also unsuccessful.

Indeed, quite a few disability lawyers will not become involved in a disability case in its early stages, believing that their services are most valuable only at the point in which the claimant is due to appear in a hearing before a federal administrative law judge (this is the second and, in most instances, final level of appeal).

So, if you are filing for SSD or SSI in Missouri, when is the best time to retain a disability lawyer? The answer to this question is, as soon as you feel it is needed. If at any point in your case you find that you are having a hard time understanding the process or can’t grasp what a disability examiner is asking of you, or if you are simply feeling uncomfortable with any part of the proceedings, you should probably at least consult with an attorney to make sure everything is in order and to get some kind of direction.

However, if the Missouri state disability determination services agency has denied your initial claim and turned down your reconsideration appeal, legal representation can definitely improve your chances of winning your case before the disability judge. Disability claimants in Missouri who had legal representation at their administrative hearings won benefits fifty percent more often than claimants who were not represented.

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








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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.