Your Disability Claim: Representing Yourself vs. Hiring an Attorney

By Disability Group

Which way should I go on the road to receiving disability benefits?

Filing for social security benefits involves many steps and can be a hassle. During these different steps, there will be several people who will be handling your case. It is important to know who, what, when and where to go.

If you are considering filing an application on your own (according to the SSA website)  you should keep in mind:

  • To file online, you must:
  1. Review the Adult Disability Checklist for details about what you will need before starting the online process;
  2. Fill out the online Disability Benefit Application to provide us with information regarding eligibility for payment;
  3. Fill out the online Adult Disability Report to provide us with medical and work history;
  4. Fill out, sign, and mail or take the Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration to your local Social Security office.
  • To file in person, you can:

Call the toll-free telephone number 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday to make an appointment


Please note: The initial application processing time is approx 3-5months

What does this mean for you if you have filed on your own?

Basically, you are responsible for making all phone calls, tracking all filing dates and most importantly making sure that your medical records are being sent to your local SSA office.

If you aren’t very organized and have trouble keeping track of times, dates and paperwork it may be best that you secure a representative. 

Securing a representative can remove the weight off your shoulders. Imagine, if you are disabled you probably are in pain and do not have the energy to fight to the best of your ability.

Securing a representative means that throughout the entire process you have a knowledgeable, qualified individual working for you. You can avoid filing applications, appeals and making the proper phone calls. Your representative should make sure that your paperwork is in order and that you are well informed throughout the process. Your representative should make sure that you have a complete file with medical records and all proper documents.

By securing representation you can avoid the situation of having insufficient information or improperly completed documents to present to a judge if you make it to the hearing stage. Most people are denied during the initial filing period due to lack of proper information or even simply following the proper instructions.

Please note: Filing on your own and being denied is NOT the end. As a matter of fact many people secure a representative after being denied. This should be an EYE-OPENER for those of you who are considering filing on your own.