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

Why do I need an attorney for Social Security Disability?

Some would say that you can take care of your own Social Security Disability or SSI claim through all levels of the appeal process, and, of course, technically speaking, they would be correct. SSA (the social security administration) does not require a claimant to have representation from a disability attorney or non-attorney representative at any level, even at a disability hearing or at federal district court.

Some individuals chose to appeal their own initial claim (this is the application for disability). Is this a problem? For all intents and purposes, it is not as long as you file your reconsideration request within the sixty day appeal period. Certainly, you should get started on the appeal as soon as your claim is denied.

Many individuals procrastinate and, despite the fact that SSA allows a sixty day appeal period, actually miss their deadline for submitting an appeal. When that happens, if the claimant cannot demonstrate "good cause" for a late appeal filing (in general terms, a rationale reason for a late submission which might include a medical or family emergency, or simply not having received the notice of denial in the mail and, thus, not having even been made aware of the need for an appeal), they will be forced start over with a new claim.

However, the real reason for possbily going without representation on the first appeal, i.e. the request for reconsideration, is two-fold:

1. There is often little for a disability attorney or disability representative to do on a reconsideration appeal (reconsiderations are the first appeal). The reconsideration phase is really just a rehashing of the initial disability application. Meaning that the process is identical, only handled by a different disability claim examiner, and the process is usually much shorter since most of the medical evidence that is required for the claim has already been gathered.

Having said this, though, there are a number of good disability attorneys and non-attorney claimant's representatives who strongly endeavor to win claims that are being processed at the reconsideration appeal level. And, for this reason, early representation can make a valuable difference, especially considering the fact that more than 80 percent of all reconsideration appeals are denied by disability examiners.

2. The reconsideration denial rate is absurdly high. So high, in fact, that many individuals simply assume that the reconsideration will be denied and, thus, expend very little effort on trying to win the reconsideration. It is true that reconsiderations are generally denied at a rate of between 85-87 percent.

However, this still allows some chance of being awarded benefits. It is also more likely for well-prepared cases to be won at this level. And this is where able representation can make the difference. There are a number of representatives, attorney or otherwise, who make every attempt to win cases at this level because they are full aware of the hardships that will be endured by claimants who are forced to file a request for a disability hearing and then wait many months for that hearing to be scheduled.

As was said several times, the chances of being approved on the first appeal, the reconsideration, are faily slim. The chances of being approved, however, on a disability hearing can be quite good. And this, by itself, should give every claimant full reason to follow the appeals process, so that eventually their case will be heard by an ALJ, or administrative law judge.

Why are claims more likely to be won by a claimant who has representation at a disability hearing? Social Security representatives have knowledge of the rules and regulations that govern Social Security Disability and SSI.

In addition to having an expertise with the disability system, your representative does not have the emotional investment that you have in your disability claim; consequently your representative or attorney will be able to give an organized presentation of the facts of your disability claim -- your medical background, your condition and how it limits you, your work history, and the reasons why your condition limits your ability to work.

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:

What does a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative do for your claim?
Getting a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative for your case
How will an attorney help me win disability benefits?
Disability Lawyers, Medical Records, and Social Security Hearings
What Expenses Will A Social Security Attorney Charge In Addition To The Fee?
Can a disability attorney speed up my disability hearing case?
Applying for disability with bipolar, anxiety, and antisocial personality disorder
Should you get a Disability Lawyer before you File for Disability, or get an answer on your claim?
Using a lawyer for a Social Security Disability, SSDI, case
Social Security Disability and Workman's compensation
Trying to get disability with meniere's, degenerative disc, ankylosing spondylitis, depression, and anxiety
Applying for Disability in Michigan

Filing a Disability appeal in Michigan

Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Michigan?

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.