It’s not hard to cut your own hair if you have a pair of scissors, but most people still go to a hairdresser. If you want to, you can change the oil in your car and rotate the tires on your own, but most people prefer to visit a mechanic. It’s also possible to fill out all the forms necessary to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) without help from an attorney, but many people choose to get help.

Some people cut their own hair or change their own oil because they find the task relaxing or fulfilling. The same cannot be said for applying for SSDI or SSI benefits. There are few people who need government support that get satisfaction from filling out mounds of paperwork and building up the supporting documents needed for a successful application.

It is particularly upsetting to fill out tedious forms only to have the government deny your application because you checked the wrong box in subpart D, of form F, in packet 3. However, about two-thirds of initial claims filed with the Social Security Administration (SSA) are denied, often because of some piddling technical mistake.

Hiring a knowledgeable disability rights attorney can take the stress of filling out forms and checking boxes off your shoulders, and decrease the likelihood that your claim will be denied because of a small error.

An experienced attorney will also know what sort of supporting materials to include in your application to increase the likelihood that it will be approved. The government won’t pay you a dime if it doesn’t believe that you actually need the help it can provide, and this often means getting copies of medical files, doctors’ notes, lab results, and exam histories. Even though this information is deeply personal, it can be difficult to track down, and some medical facilities are reluctant to give out copies of information they consider to be their own.

An attorney can also represent you if you choose to appeal a claim that has been denied. There is an extensive appeals process that can take you all the way up to the United States Supreme Court if you so choose.

There is nothing wrong with DIYing an SSDI or SSI application, but why take on the stress of filling out a tedious application on your own when that also increases the likelihood it will be denied?