Bourgeois: Do I need an SSDI representative?

Published 8:58 am Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

I am sure you have heard that you do not need a Louisiana Social Security Disability Lawyer to win your disability case. Well, you heard right.

An often-asked question is “do I really need a representative for my Social Security Disability case?”  After all, many people claim to have received benefits on their own – you can probably do it as well – right?

Except of course, if you are one of the over 62% (based on the 2009 Social Security Statistical Report) of people who have their social security disability claim denied initially.


Can you win disability without a lawyer?

Yes, but it won’t be easy. There’s going to be a lot of red tape.

Most of our social welfare policies are designed in such a way where they’re a lot more concerned about preventing people who aren’t eligible from accessing benefits than ensuring that those who are eligible actually receive them. We’re fixated on fraud and abuse, which is extremely low in social welfare programs — something like 1 to 2% of cases. And even then, it’s not what people mean when they think of “fraud and abuse.” It’s mostly people making mistakes because they didn’t understand eligibility rules.
The problem with this unjustified obsession with fraud and abuse is that it means 20 to 30% of people are unable to access these programs even when they’re clearly eligible for them, because they’ve created all these administrative burdens designed to target people they don’t want on the programs. So, it’s a huge disconnect in terms of trying to meet the broader goals of these programs. –Pamela Herd, author of Administrative Burden: Policymaking by Other Means

The statistics show that once your Louisiana Social Security Disability claim reaches the hearing level (or above), you have a significant increase in the odds of being found disabled.

Why is this? While I do not know for sure, I suspect it is because this is the stage that Social Security attorneys get involved and help their clients get benefits.

In 2008, at the hearing level or above, greater than 80% of claimants were awarded social security disability benefits.

So while you may not need a Social Security Disability Lawyer, you may want to get one to help you navigate through the system and improve your chances of obtaining benefits.


Should I hire a lawyer before applying for disability?

recent study by the Government Accounting Office found typical adults who had representation, by attorneys or others, had a three times better chance of receiving benefits than those who applied on their own!  This means your chances improve by 300% if you have a skilled, disability representative on your side presenting your case.

Here are some other interesting tidbits from the study:

Age is an important factor! Those 55 and older were allowed 4.3 times higher than those 35 years old.

Type of Impairment is important! Those with heart failure or MS were allowed four to five times more often than those with asthma.

Type of claim important! SSDI claims were allowed 1.7 times more often than SSI claims.

The entire report is interesting but the main takeaway is this: I’m no mathematician but I’ll take a 300% better chance any day of the week. What about you? If you’re preparing to apply for Social Security disability or appeal a claim denial, I’ve written a book, 9 Mistakes that Can Disable Your Social Security Disability Claim. This is a helpful and informative guide that will guide you through some of the common mistakes and errors that lead to unfavorable Social Security Disability decisions.

Don’t make a costly mistake that could cause you to lose the benefits that you need to survive! I’d love to send you a copy. Visit to receive your free copy of my book.


Loyd J. Bourgeois is a nationally recognized attorney dedicated to fighting life’s legal battles with compassion and care. His office can be reached at 504-372-1444 (Metairie) or at 985-441-3448 (Luling).

For more information on this topic and other legal matters, visit