What Are My Chances Of Getting SSDI With A Lawyer?

If you’ve sustained a serious injury, developed a chronic illness, or suffer from a disability that prevents you from working, you may apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. In 2019 alone, nearly 2 million American filed for SSD/SSDI, of which only a portion were able to receive these disability aids. Now, with the number of claims steadily on the rise, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is being extremely selective as to who can benefit. To maximize your chances of getting compensated, you’d best solicit the services of a disability lawyer. This article sheds light on how a specialized attorney can help you through every step of the process.


For starters, to determine whether you qualify to receive SSDI, it’s important that you meet certain eligibility requirements. These benefits are usually granted to people who have been unable to work for at least 12 months as a result of an incapacitating, long-term condition. The SSA establishes strict standards as far as what qualifies as a disability; the impairment must severely hinder basic work duties such as standing, walking, lifting, etc. Also, your income mustn’t exceed $1,170 per month. Consulting with a lawyer early on will help you determine your chances of qualifying.

Initial Application

It’s estimated that less than 1 in 3 SSDI claims are approved during the initial stage. You’ll be expected to prove that the condition is in fact a burden that’s preventing you from conducting any work. So, unless you’re in a coma or rendered paraplegic after a serious road accident, the California-based legal experts at recommend hiring a disability attorney to help gather the right documents and justifications and put together a strong case to qualify for SSDI in the initial application.


If, like 70% of applicants, you’ve had your claim denied in the first stage, you can submit your claim for reconsideration. Here, a claim examiner at the Disability Determination Service (DDS) will review the application thoroughly, which can take several months. They will determine whether to reverse the initial decision if anything was missed, or for any other reason. The chances of approval at this stage are barely 15%.

ALJ Hearing

This is when having competent legal representation comes in handy. If your claim was rejected a second time after reconsideration, you may request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at a state court. The judge will ask questions relating to the nature of your disability, whether it was worsened in time, and more to determine your eligibility for SSDI. Here, statistics show that claimants who have a lawyer at their side are significantly more likely to win their case versus those who do not. As a matter of fact, among the 47% of claim winners at ALJ hearings, only 34% will be granted a favorable verdict without a lawyer, while over 60% will have hired a lawyer.

Appeals Council

In the event where your claim is yet again denied by an ALJ, the next stage involves filing for a review with the Appeals Council. This council consists of Administrative Appeal Judges (AAJ) whose job is to review the decision ruled by the ALJ. Chances of approval here are extremely low, 1% on average. That said, the council has the power to send your case back to the ALJ, should they have missed anything. This happens in about 9% of cases. Lawyers usually inform their client that getting approval is rare, but that it’s a prerequisite for the next and final stage.

Federal Court

Lastly, as a last resort, you may file a lawsuit at the federal court. In practice, approval rates are barely even higher than the Appeal Council. The court will either approve the ALJ’s denial, reverse their ruling and award the claimant SSDI benefits (which only happens 2% of the time), or send the case back to them to fix any noted errors and/or procedural mistakes. While chances of obtaining a favorable ruling are slim, enlisting a reputable lawyer will boost your chances of being granted their disability aids.

All things considered, qualifying for SSDI benefits can prove to be an extremely challenging task. This is the reason why it’s always advised to hire the services of an experienced disability attorney to help you navigate the application process, various procedures, legal system, represent you in court, and vouch for you in appeals. Due to the complexity of the whole procedure, an adequate counselor by your side can significantly improve your odds of winning the legal battle and claiming your due benefits.

Written by nikola

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