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

How should I prepare for a disability hearing with Social Security?

If you are preparing for a Social Security hearing, it is advisable to have a representative who is competent with Social Security law and disability determination procedures and rules. Of course, you are entitled to represent yourself at a Social Security Disability hearing; however statistics indicate that Social Security Disability and SSI claims with representation are more likely to result in an allowance, i.e. an aproval.

This is less true, of course at the lower levels of the system (the initial claim level and the request for reconsideration level) because at those levels decisions are made by disability examiners. Examiners tend to hold down the number of approvals that they make, because they report to unit supervisors and also because they are subject to having their decisions reviewed by DQB, the disability quality branch (a quality control unit that looks for errors in a disability examiner's decision process).

That the hearing level offers a greater chance of being approved is somewhat obvious if one considers the fact that over 70 percent of all initial claims nationwide are denied by disability examiners. And over 85 percent of all reconsideration appeals are denied by disability examiners on a nationwide average basis. Yet, more than 60 percent of all cases that are brought before administrative law judges at disability hearings are approved when the claimant is represented.

What do these facts say about how one should proceed after being denied on either an application for disability or a request for reconsideration? Simply that it will nearly always be in a claimant's best interests to file an appeal, the eventual goal being to get a case heard by an administrative law judge. Hearings, of course, cannot be requested until a reconsideration appeal has been denied. Hearings also take an extraordinary amount of time to get to.

For instance, if a claimant receives a notice of denial on a reconsideration and decides to file the next appeal, the request for a hearing before an administrative law judge, it may take 12-24 months to get schedule for a hearing. By that point, the total amount of time spent on a case, from the very first filing of the claim, will probably be over two years at a minimum.

However, because it takes so very long to get to a hearing, a claimant should make sure that they are well prepared.

For most claimants who are at the point of requesting a disability hearing, the most important consideration will be whether or not to get representation. This is not just an important consideration, it is a crucial one. Statistics are very clear in this regard. While approximately forty percent of claimants who go to hearings without a disability lawyer or representative will be successful in winning benefits, for those who go to their hearing with a representative, the likelihood of winning benefits will increase to sixty percent. This represents a 50 percent increased chance of winning for the person who has representation.

Continued at: Why does representation result in a higher win ratio at a hearing?

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?

Related pages:

Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
Basic Facts about the Administrative Law Judge Social Security Disability Hearing
Are the Chances of Winning Disability Benefits Higher at a Social Security Hearing with a Judge?
Winning at a Social Security Disability Hearing
Social Security Disability Hearings - what to expect
What happens when you go to a Social Security Disability hearing?
How do I request a Social Security Disability hearing - How do I file?
Requesting a Social Security Hearing when you have a Disability Representative or Attorney
How long does a request for a disability hearing appeal take?
What are the odds of a judge giving you a disability denial?
What is a Social Security administrative law judge disability hearing?
What is the time frame for a judge to make a decision for a disability hearing?
How should I prepare for a disability hearing with Social Security?
What are the questions that get asked at a Social Security Disability or SSI hearing?
If you apply for disability in Virginia

Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Virginia?

Getting a Disability Lawyer in Virginia

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.