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 if I go to a Social Security hearing without an Attorney or a Disability Representative?

There is no guarantee of winning a disability hearing with or without the presence of competent and experienced social security representative or attorney. Individuals who have been denied on their request for reconsideration (the first appeal which comes immediately after a denial on an initial disability application) and have now come to the point of having to submit their second appeal, a request for hearing before an administrative law judge, will simply need to decide if they would benefit from representation.

Can an unrepresented claimant win at a Social Security Disability hearing? Yes, and in fact statistics on disability hearing decisions in recent years have indicated that approximately forty percent of those claimants who go to their social security hearings by themselves will be approved for disability benefits.

However, claimants who go to disability hearings with representation provided by a disability lawyer or a non-attorney disability representative have been shown to have a sixty-two percent percent chance of being awarded disability benefits. This means representation increases the odds of being approved by at least fifty percent.

Claimants who appear at hearings unrepresented and win their benefits will most likely do so because the medical evidence supporting their case is fairly obvious. In many instances, it may be that the prior decisions reached by disability examiners (who worked on determining the application for disability and the request for reconsideration appeal) were faulty due to a misinterpretation of the medical evidence in the file.

In these instances, the claimant should never have been required to go to a disability hearing, or to wait so long before receiving Social Security Disability or SSI disability benefits.

Without representation, the majority of individuals appearing at disability hearings will be denied. With representation, more than 60 percent of individuals appearing at a social security hearing will be awarded benefits.

What accounts for the difference? There are many factors owing to this. There is the very simple fact that an unrepresented claimant will typically be unaware of:

A) How to interpret the information that is contained within their own disability file and

B) How to determine what additional information should be added to the file to make the case stronger.

This, of course, is where certain key knowledge areas tend to come in handy, such as a familiarity with social security regulations, operational procedures, and certainly the various rules that determine the outcome of a claim based on medical and vocational factors.

By rules, we mean the "grid", a set of medical-vocational guidelines that will direct a decision of disabled or not disabled based on factors such as the claimant's age, their level of functional restrictions, their work skill levels, and their level of education.

However, in addition to possessing a fair amount of knowledge as to how the federal disability benefit system operates, and why things happen the way that they do, individuals who provide disability representation perform tasks that optimize the chances of winning a claim.

Continued at Disability Laywers, Medical Records, and Social Security Hearings - Should you go to a Hearing alone?

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?
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
Can I work if I have not received my disability award letter?
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.