As with any business, Social Security disability is filled with its own language. If you don't know all the acronyms, you might have no idea what is happening. I have had countless hearings where the claimant won his or her case, but let the room with no idea what just happened. When I tell people they won, they look at me doubtfully and ask how I can be so sure. After all, the judge never said: "You win." Can you blame people for their confusion? If you were sitting in the hearing room and the judge said, "I'm satisfied that the claimant grids out because she is fast approaching retirement age and the AOD is before the DLI," would you think that means you won? Would that mean anything at all to you? Just in the time I have been doing Social Security disability work, the rules and regulations have gotten far more complicated. You have to wonder how likely you are to succeed at anything if you don't even speak the language. This is not to say it is mandatory to hire a (local!) lawyer. But the days when you could represent yourself and have a good chance of winning seem to be disappearing.