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

Using a Social Security Disability Attorney in California

Applying for SSD is a fairly straightforward process—you simply go down to your nearest social security office and fill out the application (you can also do this online for SSD, but not SSI). Your case will then be assigned to a disability examiner at the agency responsible for disability determinations in your state. In California, this is DDS, or disability determination services.

At some point you may be contacted by an examiner from the disability office, requesting clarification of your work history, medical treatment, or your ability to engage in normal daily activities.

Who needs representation on a disability claim in California? Approximately 70 percent of all claims are denied nationwide at the application level. California mirrors these statistics with a 31 percent rate of approval. Arguably, these individuals will probably require representation since the likelihood is extremely high that they will need to attend a disability hearing in order to be approved.

However, many individuals will benefit from representation from the very start. While some claimants are perfectly capable of gathering the necessary information and presenting it in an organized, understandable format for the examiner, some may need additional help in this process, particularly if they are heavily medicated, have memory difficulties, are suffering from depression or anxiety, are in chronic pain, or are mentally impaired.

For these people, it is well worth it to retain either a disability lawyer or a non-attorney disability representative to assist them with their claim.

Additionally, a representative can help to focus a disability claim on the more important aspects of a claimant's cumulative medical record and avoid an inadvertent weaking of the case before it gets to the hearing level. In some cases, the case may be won early in the process, avoiding the need for a hearing.

If your Social Security Disability claim is denied at the application level (and most are), and denied again upon reconsideration, you should seek professional legal counsel from a disability attorney or non-attorney claimant's representative.

This is because the next step for a claimant is to appear at a disability hearing before an ALJ, or administrative law judge. An attorney can help you make a stronger case before a judge by providing the expertise needed to:

1. Gather medical evidence. A disability attorney will know exactly what medical records are needed to support a claim, or to establish proof of a claimant’s residual functional capacity (RFC). An RFC form, or medical source statement, from a physician corroborating your disability, i.e. the functional limitations that make you disabled, greatly increases your chance of approval before an administrative judge.

2. Present your condition in a way that best enhances your chances of receiving disability benefits. A disability attorney will know what impairments are listed in the social security list of impairments manual (the “blue book”), as well as what symptoms or limitations must be demonstrated to support diagnosis with one of these conditions.

3. If your condition is not listed in the blue book, then your attorney will also be familiar with the criteria necessary to show that a medical vocational allowance is warranted. A medical vocational allowance is awarded for disabilities that, while not listed in the blue book, prevent claimants from performing their current job or any other job for which they may otherwise be suited.)

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?

Filing for disability in California

How do I Apply for Disability Benefits in California

How long should you wait before you apply for disability?

SSD and SSI applications in California

What do you do if your California disability claim is denied?

Do you file for your children when you apply for disability in California?

Should you apply for disability in California after a denial?

How long does a disability case take in California

After you file for disability in California

Filing for disability in California and your condition

Filing a disability claim in California, long filing process

The California disability process

Do I need to be disabled a year in California to get disability?

The Social Security Disability process in California

California Disability determination process

Disability approval criteria in California

California Social Security Disability decisions

Steps to Win Social Security Disability benefits in California

Questions about disability in California

How much can you make in California and still apply for disability?

California Social Security Back Pay

Can Disability benefits be garnished in California?

Disability two year medicare waiting period in California

California review of Social Security Disability claim

California Social Security Disability status

VA disability and California Social Security Disability

Can a Congressman in California help on a disability case

How do examiners make disability decisions in California?

Applying for disability benefits in California

How long does disability take in California?

How long does it take to get a decision on a disability case in California?

Why do disability claims take so long in California?

How Long Will It Take To Get My Disability Decision If I Appeal in California?

Disability claims in California with certain conditions

Applying For Disability On the Basis of Back Pain in California

Filing for Disability with Fibromyalgia in California

Social Security Disability For Mental Illness in California

Winning California disability

Will a lawyer improve the chance to win disability in California?

Getting approved for disability in California

Winning disability in California

California Disability Lawyers and Representation

Getting a disability attorney in California

Finding a new disability attorney in California

Applying for SSI in California

Filing for SSI disability in California

SSI disability denied in California

Are SSI claims in California denied more than SSDI claims?

How to apply for SSI Disability in California

Doctors, medical records, and medical exams

Doctors and applying for disability in California

Can you be turned down for disability in California if your doctor says you are disabled?

Disability hearings in California

Disability Hearings in California

California quick disability hearing

How do I win my Social Security Disability Hearing in California?

How long does it take to get a disability hearing in California?

Disability denials in California

Disability Denied in California

If a disability claim is denied in California

Appealing a Social Security Disability denial in California

If you get denied Social Security Disability in California

Why are Most Disability Cases Denied in California?

Getting approved or denied for disability in California

Disability appeals in California

How do you file a disability appeal in California?

How many disability appeals do you get in California?

If your California disability appeal is denied, can you get another appeal?

If your disability reconsideration is denied in California

Filing a reconsideration appeal in California

Why was I denied disability in California?

Qualifying for disability in California

Qualifying for disability in California

Qualify for SSD in California

Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in California?

Disability lawyers in California

Using a Social Security Disability Attorney in California

Cost of a California disability attorney

Why do disability lawyers in California sometimes not take cases?

Hiring a Disability Lawyer in California

Social Security Disability Attorney Fees In California

How do Disability Lawyers in California get paid their fees?

Should you get a disability lawyer before you get denied in California?

Lawyer for a disability hearing in California

Why was I denied disability in California?

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.