A few people won’t need a lawyer to secure disability benefits the first time they apply. In most cases, these claimants have life-changing injuries, terminal illnesses, or multiple severely disabling conditions. However, most people who don’t apply through a Social Security disability lawyer wait significantly longer for payments. On average, people who apply on their own without legal assistance wait at least 18-24 months for SSD benefits. The SSA approves about 21% of initial applicants each year, on average. However, about 17.7% of first-time claimants have a Social Security disability lawyer file their applications.