Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

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?

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

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?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria