how likely is it to get disability without a lawyer

by Ms. Jada Gerhold 7 min read

If you don’t have a lawyer (or no lawyer will take your case), it is still possible to get approved for disability. Here’s a few tips and good ideas to get you started: Some people prefer to have a lawyer early in the process, and others choose to wait.

Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn't require you to hire an attorney, statistics show that you are much more likely to be approved if you are represented. However, if you decide to represent yourself there are some important things to keep in mind throughout the process.

Full Answer

What happens if I do not have an attorney for disability?

If you are a SSI or SSDI applicant who has a condition listed as part of the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program (a list of 100 conditions including acute leukemia, adrenal cancer, Early-Onset Alzheimer s Disease, bone cancer and bladder cancer which the SSA assumes are so severe and debilitating that you will not be able to perform substantial gainful activity) than …

Do I need a lawyer to apply for Social Security disability?

Sep 13, 2018 · Before you decide whether or not to hire a lawyer to handle your Social Security Disability case, make sure you know what can happen without proper legal representation. Not All Disability Cases are Created Equal. Not everyone will need an attorney in order to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. In fact, some Social Security Disability attorneys will not …

Is it harder to prove that you're disabled if you work?

Nov 08, 2021 · Surveys also show that 60% of those who had legal assistance were approved for disability benefits. While only 34% of claimants got approved without a lawyer. These statistics are backed by government data which shows that applicants represented by lawyers are 2.9 times more likely to get benefits.

Can you be approved for disability without going to a hearing?

Aug 01, 2019 · If you don’t have a lawyer (or no lawyer will take your case), it is still possible to get approved for disability. Here’s a few tips and good ideas to get you started. You can apply for disability online, on paper or on the phone.


How can I increase my chances of getting disability?

Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting Disability Benefits
  1. File Your Claim as Soon as Possible. ...
  2. Make an Appeal within 60 Days. ...
  3. Provide Full Details of Medical Treatment. ...
  4. Provide Proof of Recent Treatment. ...
  5. Report your Symptoms Accurately. ...
  6. Provide Medical Evidence. ...
  7. Provide Details of your Work History.
Oct 20, 2019

What disqualifies a person from disability?

You Earn Too Much Income

For SSDI, which is the benefit program for workers who have paid into the Social Security system over multiple years, one of the most basic reasons you could be denied benefits is that, when you apply, you are working above the limit where it is considered "substantial gainful activity" (SGA).

What percentage of disability is denied?

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the average acceptance rate of initial applications is 22 percent, and approximately 63 percent of SSDI applications are denied. Understanding why these applications are not approved may help you be successful if you need to apply for benefits.

Is disability difficult to get?

These benefits are awarded to qualified individuals who are no longer able to work due to a disabling mental or physical condition. But unfortunately, obtaining SSDI benefits is not easy. In fact, it's rather difficult. Approximately 70% of initial SSDI claims are denied every year.Aug 8, 2020

What is the hardest state to get disability?

Oklahoma is the hardest state to get for Social Security disability. This state has an SSDI approval rate of only 33.4% in 2020 and also had the worst approval rate in 2019 with 34.6% of SSDI applications approved. Alaska had the second-worst approval rate, with 35.3% of applications approved in 2020 and 36.2% in 2019.

What is the most approved disability?

1. Arthritis. Arthritis and other musculoskeletal disabilities are the most commonly approved conditions for disability benefits. If you are unable to walk due to arthritis, or unable to perform dexterous movements like typing or writing, you will qualify.Dec 16, 2021

What is the easiest state to get disability?

  • Kansas offers the highest chance of being approved for social security disability.
  • This state has an SSDI approval rate of 69.7% in 2020. It had the second-highest approval rate in 2019, with 61.3% of SSDI claims approved.
  • The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,228.
Jan 11, 2021

How do you survive while waiting for disability approval?

While you wait for disability benefits to be approved, consider seeking assistance through other local, state, and federal support programs. These may include: Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)Mar 2, 2021

Which is harder to get SSI or SSDI?

SSDI is the easier of the two to apply for, and you can do so online at SSI is slightly more complicated, so you'll need to apply in person at your local Social Security office or over the phone.Mar 25, 2016

What should you not say in a disability interview?

The following five statements should never be announced at your disability hearing.
  • “I can't work because no one will hire me.” ...
  • “I don't know why I'm here. ...
  • “I don't do chores because my significant other, friend or family member does them.” ...
  • “I have never used drugs or alcohol in my life.”
Oct 17, 2014

How do doctors determine disability?

Disability is determined by five criteria, many of which are medical. The individual must not earn more than $1,000 a month in wages [5]. The health condition must be “severe” and must interfere with “basic work-related activities” [5]. must also be unable to adjust to other types of work [6].

Should I go on disability?

If all of the following apply to you, you should file for disability benefits. You have a mental or physical condition that is severe. You expect your medical condition to last for at least a full year, or longer. Your condition is severe enough that it prevents you from doing a substantial amount of work.

What happens if you don't have an attorney?

If you do not have an attorney representing your case, you may waste years of time, effort and money trying to represent yourself. In the end, you may have to turn to the services of a qualified attorney when you are forced to file a second (or even third or fourth) claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

What is the first step in the disability appeal process?

The first stage of the appeal process is called the Request for Reconsideration stage. When working with a disability lawyer, your attorney is likely to explain to you ...

Can you represent yourself in court?

There is an old adage that states that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. In some Social Security Disability cases, this may prove true. If you decide to represent yourself during your disability appeal and you lose your case because of it, you will likely have to re-apply for benefits all over again.

Is it easy to get disability?

It isn't easy to get Social Security disability benefits. As anyone who's been through it can tell you, it can be a long, exhausting process. But our survey reveals two important points that provide hope: Don't give up if your application is denied at first, because approval rates go up at the hearing stage.

How to get a disability hearing?

These results aren't surprising. Experienced disability attorneys can help in several ways, including: 1 gathering the proper medical evidence 2 recognizing when medical records need updating or more evidence is needed 3 recognizing when it would help to have a medical expert testify at the hearing, and knowing where to find appropriate experts 4 preparing you for questioning at the hearing 5 anticipating what the administrative law judge may focus on (based on the attorney's familiarity with local judges who preside at Social Security disability hearings), and 6 knowing how to cross-examine the vocational expert in order to strengthen your case.

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

There are big differences between SSDI and SSI, even though the SSA administers both programs. SSDI is a type of insurance for people who've worked and paid taxes for years before becoming disabled. In contrast, SSI is a need-based program for disabled people with little or no income or assets, regardless of their work history.

Social Security Turns Most People Down

As anyone who's been through the process will tell you, it isn't easy to get Social Security disability benefits. Our survey backed up that general impression. Overall, only about four in ten (42%) of our readers were ultimately approved for benefits.

Disability Application to Hearing

First, some background on the procedure of applying for SSI or SSDI: After you submit an application, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will start out by deciding whether you meet the financial and/or work-history requirements. If you don't, you'll receive a nonmedical, or "technical," denial.

Recent Medical Visits

The strength of your medical evidence is critical for proving your claim. Clearly, you should see a doctor or other medical professional in order to create that evidence. One-third of our readers said they had not seen a doctor or other medical professional in the year before they applied for disability.


About half (51%) of readers who applied for SSDI were ultimately approved for benefits, compared to just over a third (36%) of SSI applicants.

Quit-Work Date

Some of our readers were still working when they filed their SSDI or SSI applications. Less than three in ten (29%) of those applications were approved for benefits, compared with more than five in ten (51%) of those who had quit work within the five-month period before applying.

Approval Rates at Different Ages

Our survey revealed an upward curve in approval rates for SSDI from younger readers to those in their sixties. About half of readers age 50 or older were ultimately approved, while nearly two-thirds of those in the 60-65 age group received benefits.

Gender Differences

Our survey revealed a gender gap in the approval rates for men and women. Nearly five in ten (44%) male readers saw their applications approved, while less than four in ten (38%) female readers had successful outcomes.

How to get disability approval?

To help you get approval at this stage, your lawyer can: 1 help you gather substantial medical evidence proving the extent of your disability 2 present a clear and concise argument as to why you deserve the benefits 3 negotiate your disability onset date 4 convince the Attorney Adjudicator on the specific merits of your case

What to do if your disability application is denied?

If your initial application got denied, you have the right to request a disability hearing. To skip the wait for the hearing, your lawyer can file for an on-the-record (ORD) decision. To help you get approval at this stage, your lawyer can: help you gather substantial medical evidence proving the extent of your disability.

How long does it take to get a disability claim?

According to the SSA, the average processing time for disability benefit claims is 103 days in 2018. But some disability reviews may take up to two years. Some factors that can affect the turnaround time include: A disability lawyer knows what the SSA wants to see and hear.

Who is Judy Ponio?

Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.

Who is Victor Malca?

Victor Malca P.A. has over 25 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success in fighting for his clients puts among the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.

Is a doctor a treating physician?

This is provided, of course, that the doctor is a “ treating physician ”, meaning a doctor who has a history of providing treatment to a patient versus a doctor that a patient has only seen once or twice (such as would be the case involving a quick visit to an urgent care).

What is a consultative exam?

Consultative examinations are status examinations performed by doctors or medical professionals (psychologists would be included when the CE, or consultative exam, involves mental testing) paid for by Social Security.

How long does a disability last?

Eligibility for social security disability benefits requires either that the disability lasts, or is expected to last, 12 months or longer, or will result in your death. This means that disability benefits are paid only for long-term disability; short-term disability does not qualify.

What is the first question people ask when they apply for disability?

The first question people ask when they apply for disability is whether they will be approved for benefits. Unfortunately, the odds that your disability application will be approved at the initial stage of the process are not good.