i believe age is a factor that works against diability. i'm 26...i was just approved for SSDI on december 20th after 5 years of denial & appeals.
i never had a lawyer for any of it due to finances...i also went to court without an attorney; so it is possible to be successful in winning your case without a lawyer.
my best advice is: be extremely specific about your inability to do work or your old work duties.
specific examples work best.
what can you not do now that you used to be able to? and are these things getting more difficult.
this process is the most difficult thing a person who is disabled has to go through. but, if you indeed are physically disabled and can not work ANY gainful employment...then don't give up.
also...your ability to care for yourself is a big matter.
things like sleeping, eating, bathing, dressing, commuting...how is your condition making those things? to what extent are they affected.
myself, i do have to deal w/ a progressive disease...year after year my ability to do things people take for granted dwindled.
i felt that i was being discriminated due to my age & also that i have a very very good education.
being in bed or lying down 23 hours a day?...that's the extent of my physical capabilities now. so, successfully getting to shower is the main agenda nowadays...
i think it's easy for a person to be denied on paper...but when a judge sees for himself the truth, any person with 2 eyes & a brain can make the proper decision.
stay mentally strong...leave nothing vague & review your records...fight for what is just if you can no longer work.