Social Security Disability Resource Center

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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.)

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    The SSDRC Disability Blog

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Getting disability in North Carolina

    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?