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

Can you win your Disability Case by Yourself?

It is certainly possible to win a Social Security Disability or SSI disability case by yourself, without the involvement of representation. There are many individuals who have been able to accomplish this for claims that have been decided at the disability application, request for reconsideration (the first appeal), and ALJ (administrative law judge) disability hearing levels.

However, having said this, it should be pointed out that many claimants simply will not require representation at the first two levels of the system. At the disability application level, nearly thirty percent of claims are approved whether representation is involved or not.

The claimant who decides to file a claim without representation can help his or her case by providing the social security administration with the information that is needed to process the claim: in most cases, this is simply accurate and detailed information regarding their work history and medical treatment history.

Specifically, if the disability examiner (the specialist who makes the decision on the claim if it is pending at the disability application level or reconsideration appeal level) requires more information from the claimant regarding their prior jobs, or treatment providers, or their ability to engage in ADLs (activities of daily living), the claimant should endeavor to facilitate this by promptly returning the examiner's phone call, or, if it applies, returning whatever questionaire forms the examiner may have mailed out (often, the examiner will send out a questionaire regarding the claimant's daily activities or work history).

Additionally, if the disability examiner schedules the claimant for a CE, or a consultative examination, the claimant should go to the scheduled examination appointment on time, be candid and truthful with the examining physician regarding their complaints, and give their best effort during the examination if it involves testing of any kind (such as, for example, IQ testing).

Note: A CE is a physical or mental examination that is conducted by an independent physician who provides a report of the examination's findings to the social security administration; this type of exam is usually scheduled to A) provide medical information that is recent if the claimant has not been seen by a doctor in the last 90 days or B) provide medical record documentation about a condition for which the claimant may allege to have but has never received treatment for, such as depression or anxiety or lower back pain.

The corollary to all of this, of course, is that while close to a third of initial claims will be approved, roughly seventy percent of initial claims will be denied, thus making it necessary for a claimant who wishes to be approved to A) File a request for reconsideration and, mostly likely, B) File a request for a disability hearing (we say "most likely" because the vast majority of reconsideration appeals--more than eighty percent, in fact--are usually denied).

At a disability hearing, however, a claimant would, without question, handicap their case by going it alone. Presenting a case to a federal administrative law judge involves a level of preparation that most claimants would be unfamiliar with. Case presentation at the hearing level does not only involve gathering updated medical records and statements from one's treating physician or physicians, but also having substantial familiarity with the history of the case, i.e. why the claim was previously denied.

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.

Filing an application for disability

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?

Qualifying for disability in Missouri

Will I qualify for disability in Missouri?

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.