What Every Social Security Disability Attorney Wants You to Know

The unfortunate reality about disability insurance is that many claimants who file for Social Security are denied, particularly during their appeal for benefits. Legal representation, such as a Social Security disability attorney, can increase your chances of approval during your initial claim, or if need be, during your appeal process.

Who Should File for Social Security Disability?

Social Security is a type of disability insurance that pays benefits to recipients and certain members of their family who meet specific criteria. The recipient must have worked for a long enough period in order to be eligible. In addition, they must have a medical condition currently preventing them from working, one that is expected to prevent them from working for a minimum duration of 12 months, or one that is expected to end in death. Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not mandate it, individuals who are looking to submit claims for this benefit can utilize legal representation for the process.

Obtain Representation as Soon as Possible

One of the biggest mistakes that potential claimants make in the filing process is that they don’t seek out a Social Security disability attorney as early as possible. The truth of the matter is that securing legal representation early in the process can potentially lead to a desirable outcome. How? A lawyer who is knowledgeable about this particular claim process can give you the benefit of their experience, and most importantly, they can present your case in the most legally favorable light.

According to the SSA, many applicants only seek out a disability attorney after their initial claim has been denied. Certainly, lawyers versed in these types of disability claims are more than willing to assist a claimant with what is called the reconsideration appeal process; however, there is usually very little that they can do once a claimant has been denied. In fact, the SSA reports that the reconsideration appeal rate is between 85 and 87 percent, which only serves to emphasize the grave importance of obtaining counsel before beginning the filing process. The majority of the cases won during the appeal process are the result of the legal representation’s labor.

Other Information to Consider

A disability attorney is entitled to receive 25 percent of the claimant’s back payment in the event of a win in court. This is standard operating procedure, and the fees should alarm no potential claimant looking for legal representation. However, be advised that the fee is typically deducted from whatever back pay is owed to the claimant first before the claimant receives their benefit.

Expertise in this particular type of disability takes focus. As a result, a Social Security disability attorney that only deals with this type of law is likely your best bet should you have a choice between a lawyer whose time is divided between other areas of the law and one who solely devotes their time to these types of cases.

How a Disability Attorney Can Help You With Your Case

Navigating the bureaucratic process of Social Security benefits can be frustrating and confusing. Instead of handling the process by yourself, a disability attorney can guide you through it with positive results. Lawyers with this expertise understand the government process and how to move through it effectively.

Time is of the Essence

Disability claims have a finite period during which you can apply for benefits. If you miss this time period, you may not have a successful claim. Your lawyer will have expert knowledge of the time necessary for processing a petition and the best date to apply to ensure timely completion before the deadline. Without a lawyer working on your behalf, you might file too late.

Handling Details

Applications for benefits are complicated and detailed. Completing the application on your own without professional assistance could result in rejection. The Social Security Administration routinely rejects applications if they are not completed properly or if the claimant did not file them correctly. With a disability attorney working for you to handle your application, you can rest assured that the application will be filled out correctly and it will be submitted according to proper procedure.

Understanding of the System

A disability attorney will have an expert understanding of all types of claims and cases. This expertise will enable the lawyer to provide guidance and recommendations for the best way to handle the claim. The lawyer has first-hand knowledge of what the Social Security Administration wants in application claims. Consequently, the advice you receive will help you avoid common pitfalls that could lead to the rejection of your application.

Including Medical Evidence

A complete case will include strong medical evidence to back up the disability claim. The attorney will assist you by collecting this evidence, including details about the impairment, your work history, your age, and the events that led up to your current condition. It’s possible to submit your medical evidence and application online, over the phone, or in person with your lawyer present.

Rejection and Request for Reconsideration

Up to 70 percent of all initial applications are rejected by the Disability Determination Services Office of the Social Security Administration. If this occurs, your lawyer will be ready to help you file your request for reconsideration. To be accepted, your request for reconsideration must reach the Disability Determination Services office within 60 days of the first rejection. If your reconsideration request is denied, you can then file an appeal.

The Appeal Process

The appeal process involves a hearing in front of a judge, a council review, and a Federal court review. The hearing involves a review of your case with witness interviews, if desired. The judge will make a decision about your petition. If you wish to appeal the judge’s decision, you can request another review by a council. The council will provide a ruling on your case. If you wish to appeal the council ruling, you can request a review in Federal court.

Throughout this appeal process, a disability attorney can assist you to ensure that the evidence you present is factual and supports your claim of illness or injury. Having a representative in your corner may make the entire process easier.

When To Contact A Social Security Disability Attorney

People who are unable to work because of a physical or mental impairment can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. If accepted, the disabled individual will receive monthly payments from the government. Standards are quite high, however, and about 70 percent of initial claims for support are denied. In the overwhelming majority of cases, applicants are rejected because they failed to provide enough medical evidence to substantiate their disability.

What Constitutes A Disability?

For SSDI purposes, an individual is considered disabled if they suffer from a medical or psychological impairment that is so severe it prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least one year. At present, the monetary threshold for SGA is just under $ 1,100. So if an applicant cannot earn above that amount from his labor, he can apply for SSDI benefits. That does not, however, mean that he will be approved.

Can A Social Security Disability Attorney Help?

It may be disappointing, but having your initial claim denied isn't the end of the world. Many applicants successfully pursue their claims through the appeals process. Of course, it helps to have someone familiar with the process on your side. According to official data, over two-thirds of applicants who appeal their denial eventually receive benefits. But that can only happen if they have the information and evidence they need to prove their case. That's where a Social Security disability attorney can be invaluable.

It is important to note that not every claim for SSDI benefits should be pursued. If the Social Security Administration (SSA) had a valid reason for rejecting your request, a reputable attorney may not take your case. He or she may peruse your denial notice and inform you that your chances of winning are slim. If, however, your application was denied because you failed to provide medical evidence of your impairment, an attorney may accept you as a client. As such, he or she may submit new evidence for reconsideration on appeal.

The Odds Are In Your Favor

According to the SSA, more than two-thirds of the cases that come before an administrative law judge on appeal are approved. Why? The most obvious explanation is that most of the applicants at that stage of the appeal process have a reputable Social Security disability attorney by their side. These skilled legal professionals know how to present your case in a favorable light, providing proof of your impairment and the effect it has had on your life.

With results like those, you might be wondering why everybody doesn't hire an attorney to represent them? One obvious explanation is the price. Although their fees are often quite reasonable – generally less than 25 percent of back pay – not every applicant is owed a sizable sum. Only those who have not worked for quite some time and have been pursuing their case for many months may be eligible for substantial disability back payments. With that said, if you cannot work and do not expect to return to work for more than one year, you should seriously consider hiring a lawyer.

A Social Security disability attorney can help you win your claim for SSDI benefits.