Home Blog What Does a Disability Lawyer Do (Overview: All You Need To Know)

What Does a Disability Lawyer Do (Overview: All You Need To Know)

What does a disability lawyer do?

Wondering what type of work is done by a disability attorney?

What is the role of disability lawyers?

Be sure to read this entire post as we have a full answer to your question!

Let’s get started!

Role of a disability lawyer 

A social security disability lawyer is a legal professional experienced in dealing with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

When a person becomes disabled or unable to work, the Social Security Administration or SSA provides for financial assistance to be provided to those who are unable to work and earn a living.

The social security administration process can be quite complicated and overwhelming for many.

Not all applications are accepted.

What disability lawyers do is to provide you legal advice and support to help you apply for disability benefits, gather the relevant facts, represent you during an SSA hearing or contest an SSA decision.

In general, a disability attorney has the necessary legal knowledge, competence and experience in dealing with:

  • Your initial social security application process
  • Provide you with legal guidance on how to present your case 
  • Validate that your SSA application is complete 
  • Gather and collect necessary medical evidence in support of your application 
  • Review your medical records and advise on their completeness or missing tests 
  • Deal with the social security administration office 
  • Represent you before disability hearings
  • Provide you legal advice after an SSA decision has been made 
  • Appeal the SSA decision 

Let’s look at the main aspects of what disability lawyers do once you communicate with them.

Initial interview

The first step is the initial interview with the disability attorney.

The initial interview is when you first discuss your disability issue with your attorney.

During this initial interview process, the disability lawyer will look at gathering all the relevant facts of your case to determine if you have a good legal recourse or not.

If the attorney considers that you have a case, he or she will take your case.

If not, the attorney may further review the case and decide whether it will be worth pursuing.

Medial evidence 

The next step is for your disability legal professional to help you gather your medical records and medical evidence relevant to your case.

This is an important step in the process of establishing a strong disability case as you need to submit credible evidence to the Social Security Administration to win your case.

Typical, you’ll need to sign a medical records release so your disability lawyer can get your medical file.

The medical records you’ll submit in support of your case are the core evidence that can make or break your case.

Your disability lawyer will speak with your health care providers, gather all the relevant medical information, ensure the record is complete and discuss with you the extent of what was gathered.

Application process

Your disability attorney will also help you prepare and submit a strong and complete SSA application.

Many make the mistake of filing an incomplete form or not providing all the relevant facts and information leading to their application being denied.

Disability lawyers bring value in what they do as they know how to set up and structure your disability application.


Another aspect of a social disability lawyer’s work is to represent you in communications with the Social Security Administration.

Once you name your social security disability attorney as your legal representative with the SSA, they will send all future communications and correspondence directly to your SSA attorney.

This is important as your SSA lawyer can react quickly to communications or letters sent by the SSA.


Where disability lawyers bring the most value in what they do is to represent you in the context of a disability hearing.

Over 70% of SSA applications are denied.

If you feel that the Social Security Administration’s decision was wrong or unjust, you can appeal that decision.

Many cases are won at the appeal stage.

If you are denied disability benefits, your disability attorney can appeal the decision for you.

In that case, you will have the chance to present your case before an administrative law judge who will hear your appeal and make a decision.

During the appeal process, your disability lawyer will ensure that your case and evidence are presented in the best possible manner so as to increase your odds of winning.

You can speak with disability attorneys about the possibility of contesting and appealing an SSA decision.

What SSA lawyers will do is to structure your appeal process in such a way that you can get the best chances at overturning the decision.

When it’s time to present your case to a federal judge at the Administrative Hearing, you will be prepared and ready to make the best of your case. 

Legal theory 

When a disability claim is denied, you may be in a better position to work with a disability lawyer who will legally assess your case and come up with the legal theory to support your arguments.

In defining your case’s legal theory, your attorney will attempt to demonstrate that you meet the disability listings, that you are unable to work, you have limitations preventing you from working and your level of exertion is less than sedentary.

A disability “listing” represents a set of criteria defined by the SSA with regards to different illnesses leading to automatic approval for disability benefits.

A disability “grid” is to prove that you are unable to perform or adjust to less demanding work.

The disability grid is a way of determining a person’s level of exertion and their capability to work based on that level of exertion.

When a person does not fall under the disability listing or the grid, the other alternative is to demonstrate that your disability has rendered you less than sedentary.

Your disability attorney masters these legal concepts and systems developed by the SSA to approve or deny disability claims.

What does a disability lawyer not do

What does a disability lawyer not do

Myth 1: My disability lawyer will win the case

Many hire a disability lawyer thinking that the lawyer will be able to get them a disability benefit for sure.

That’s not the case.

Just like any other legal case, there are no guarantees that your application may be granted.

Even if you hire a disability attorney, you should not expect to see your SSA applicable approved or your appeal successful.

Myth 2: My disability lawyer can get me disability benefits quickly

If you work with a disability lawyer, he or she will not be able to get you disability benefits more quickly?

The answer is not necessarily.

Disability attorneys are experienced in setting up your file in the best light possible and as complete as possible.

That can surely help your application and case get processed faster as you avoid procedural mistakes.

However, that does not mean that the process will not be complex or long.

Disability claims can be long, tedious and challenging

That will not change even when you work with a disability attorney.

Myth 3: I’m required to have a disability lawyer

Are you required to have a disability lawyer?

The short answer is no.

You are not required to have a disability attorney represent you in any of the disability claim processes.

Experienced disability lawyers are good at what they do and can help their clients increase their chances of getting fair disability benefits or winning an appeal, but you are not required to hire one.

Many choose to handle their disability claims from end-to-end and that’s perfectly fine.

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Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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