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Denied benefits first time now I have lawyer what are my chances?

Up to 70% of disability applicants are denied benefits the first time they apply so it’s not unusual for many of them to find a lawyer and appeal the disability decision. Recently on our forum we had a user ask, “If I was denied benefits the first time I applied but I have hired a SSDI lawyer will I win benefits on appeal?”


Denied benefits and appealing your decision


Whether or not you will be denied a second time with a disability lawyer can depend on why you were denied the first time. For instance, if you were denied benefits the first time because you did not have enough work credits or the SSA determine you were working too much it won’t matter how many times you apply. You will continue to be denied benefits because you do not meet the basic nonmedical requirements.

But because has hired a lawyer and the lawyer took the case the assumption is you do meet the basic requirements and have been denied because the SSA determine your condition was not severe, would not last 12 continuous months or the you could retrain for new work.

Because SSDI lawyers work on a contingency fee basis and only get paid if they win your, case the assumption is they believe you have at least some chance of winning SSDI benefits or they would not have taken your case.

What can the lawyer do to make sure you are not denied benefits a second time?


Assuming you do have a severe health condition which will last 12 continuous months, you may simply have been denied benefits because you did not have enough medical information in your medical file to prove your case.

The good news if you have hired a good lawyer they have experience in handling cases just like yours. They know how to review your medical records and determine what additional information you may need to prove your case. They may suggest, for instance, if you have a severe heart condition that you need to see a cardiologist or send them a residual capacity form which allows the doctor to specifically list your limitations to work.

If you are going to a hearing hiring a lawyer is crucial. They will understand how to argue your limitations to work and counter claims by the “job’s expert” that you can retrain for new work. For instance, if the job’s expert claims you can retrain for sedentary work the lawyer may be able to argue that you cannot lift 10 pounds and your ability to sit, stand and walk is so limited that maintaining full-time work would be impossible.

Bottom Line


The bottom line is that if you have been denied benefits hiring a lawyer can only help your case. It does not, however, guarantee that you will win benefits on appeal. There are good and bad lawyers and good cases and bad. Judges also have different rates of approval. There are so many different factors it is hard to give a definitive answer about your chances to win.
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