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Who can get disability benefits without a disability lawyer?

A common question we get each day on our disability forum is, “Can I apply and win SSDI or SSI disability benefits without hiring a disability lawyer?” The simple answer is absolutely. In fact, there are many claimants who should not hire a lawyer because they can expect to get approved the first time they apply. Below we will examine what applicants should not need a lawyer and which applicants will probably eventually need to seek legal help.

Who does not need to hire a disability lawyer?


There are several types of SSI and SSDI applicants that should be approved for disability benefits the first time they apply, assuming they meet the nonmedical requirements of SSI and SSDI and have sufficient medical records to prove their condition exists.

1.    You have a condition which is listed on the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program list.


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 your claim should be approved the first time you apply and you will not need to hire a disability lawyer.

2.    You have a condition which meets or exceeds a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments.


The SSA maintains a list of conditions and symptoms it considers automatically disabling. Claimants who have a condition which“meets or exceeds a listing” on the SSA Listing of Impairments (informally known as the Blue Book) will be considered automatically disabled, assuming they meet the nonmedical requirements of SSI or SSDI.

Now, this seems to be very confusing to some applicants. Having a condition on this list will not be enough to be automatically considered disabled. Claimants must also prove that their symptoms “meet or exceed” the listing. Just having the diagnosis of “diabetes,” for example, will not be sufficient.

3.    Any claimant who understands the disability process.


Assuming a claimant’s case does not fall under the first two examples, the disability applicant needs to have a realistic idea about how much effort they want to put into the process of getting disability benefits. For most claimants the disability process will be time-consuming, difficult, confusing and challenging. If you do not have the stamina, either physically or emotionally, to do the proper research to understand the process hire a disability lawyer and save yourself the hassle and struggle. If you are up to the challenge, forge ahead on your own.

Who should hire a disability lawyer?


Claimants who do not meet the above examples and who must prove through a vocational allowance that they cannot work should talk to a disability lawyer. These cases will most likely be denied at the initial application level and an appeal will have to be made to get SSDI or SSI benefits.
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