33 N. Dearborn Street, Suite 1130, Chicago, IL 60602

5 Convenient Locations

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Youtube


call us312-999-0999fax312-999-8999

The Positive Effects of Working With a Lawyer in Social Security Disability Cases

Posted on in Social Security Disability

disability insurance benefits, Chicago Social Security lawyer, social security disability cases, social security disability, disability applicants, disability claimPeople are often reluctant to hire an attorney when they have a legal problem. Some folks think hiring a lawyer will make them appear hostile or adversarial. But when you are forced to deal with a large bureaucracy—say the Social Security Administration—having an experienced attorney to guide you through the system can make a critical difference. Indeed, if you are applying for disability insurance benefits, hiring a lawyer may be the most important step you can take to help ensure your claim is approved.

Congressional Auditor Finds Disability Applicants 3 Times More Likely to Receive Benefits With Representation

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, the auditing arm of Congress, recently published a report on “allowance rates” in Social Security disability cases. This refers to the percentage of cases heard by a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) where disability benefits were paid to claimants. Overall, the GAO said there was a wide disparity in allowance rates throughout the country. But the GAO also found that applicants who had “representation” when appearing before the ALJ were far more likely to achieve a positive outcome.

More precisely, the GAO said its review of ALJ decisions between 2007 and 2015 showed that applicants who had representation “were allowed benefits at a rate nearly 3 times higher than those without representatives.” One thing to note here is that the GAO defined “representatives” broadly to include not just experienced Social Security disability lawyers but also non-attorneys such as friends or family members. Basically, anyone who attended a hearing or assisted an applicant may be considered a “representative,” although the GAO noted 77 percent of applicants who appeared before an ALJ had an attorney representative, while only 12 percent used a non-lawyer.

So why does having an attorney or representative make such a big difference? According to the GAO, there are a few explanations:

  • Qualified Social Security disability attorneys often use a “screening process for potential clients.” Disability lawyers cannot demand upfront fees or retainers. They are paid on a contingent basis, i.e. only if and when the applicant's claim for disability benefits is granted. This creates an incentive for attorneys to identify potentially successful cases at the outset.

  • Experienced lawyers understand how to gather and present medical evidence. A Social Security ALJ is not a medical professional (although they often pretend to be). They must rely on expert testimony presented by physicians, psychologists, and other professionals who have either personally treated the applicant or reviewed the applicable medical records. According to the GAO, when a claimant presented such expert testimony, Social Security was 1.6 times more likely to grant disability benefits.

Call Us Today if You Need Social Security Representation

Of course, merely hiring an attorney will not guarantee a favorable decision from Social Security. But walking into a hearing without representation will put you at a significant disadvantage. If you are thinking about applying for disability and would like to speak with a passionate Chicago Social Security disability lawyer about representation, contact Pearson Disability Law, LLC to schedule a free consultation today.



You are not alone. Call now for a FREE consultation 312-999-0999

Unable to travel to my office? No problem! No office visit required.

dupage county bar association Chicago abr association nosscr Super Lawyer
Back to Top