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

What does a disability lawyer in Pennsylvania do to help a claim?

Your disability lawyer or non-attorney disability representative (many of whom are former SSA field office workers or former disability examiners) will file all of your appeal paperwork for you, ensuring that it will be done in a timely manner, and done correctly. An obvious advantage of this, of course, is that you will not have to start the disability process again because of a late filing.

Late appeals--meaning appeals that are submitted after the end of the disability appeal period, which is 60 days from the date of the previous denial--happen in an unacceptably high percentage of claims. When claimants in Pennsylvania are represented, their representative will receive copies of all notices that are mailed out by the Social Security Administration. This tends to dramatically reduce the opportunity for missing appeal deadlines.

Additionally, your lawyer or representative gathers medical record updates and physician's statements so that they may be used to present your case to the administrative law judge. Medical record updates are crucial at disability hearings because once a case is decided at the level before the hearing level, the reconsideration appeal stage, the Social Security Administration no longer gathers records for a case.

Translation: once a disability hearing is requested in Pennsylvania, complete responsibility for getting medical evidence falls to the claimant and/or their disability lawyer or disability representative. If a claimant is not aware of this fact and is not represented on their claim, they may very well show up at a hearing with nothing to substantiate their claim, other than medical records that are months out of date.

One of the most important aspects of medical evidence is getting a qualified statement from a claimant's doctor, known as a medical source statement, or an RFC form. This type of statement tends to be given significant consideration by an administrative law judge and can be crucial to winning a claim.

However, most unrepresented claimants would be unaware of this, or would simply think that a short, handwritten note from their doctor would suffice, which is not the case at all.

Once you are at the hearings level, your lawyer will make an argument for approval based on your medical evidence, work history, functional limitations, educational background and age.

The "case theory" that is advanced to the administrative law judge presiding over the hearing will be based on Social Security administrative law and procedure, which includes applicability of grid framework rules (the grid rules direct decisions on the majority of claims), the code of federal regulations, the sequential evaluation process used by both examiners and judges, and the various SSRs (Social Security rulings) that may apply.

The lawyer, or representative, will attempt to secure an approval of your disability claim by either proving that you have a medical condition that meets a listing in the Social Security list of impairments, or by proving that your medical condition limits your functional abilities to the extent that you cannot return to any type of work activity that allows you to earn a substantial and gainful income.

In other words, your lawyer will present all of this information in an objective and logical fashion in an effort to win an approval based upon the medical and vocational rules which govern the Social Security Disability program.

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?

Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Wisconsin?

If you apply for disability in in Wisconsin

Getting a Disability Lawyer in Wisconsin

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.