Social Security law can be very complicated and many find it very difficult to tackle on their own. Therefore, if you are planning to apply for disability benefits, it is advisable to hire a Social Security Disability attorney.
Social Security Disability attorneys, with their training and experience, can help get your disability claim approved by the Social Security Administration.
How are Social Security Attorney's Paid?
Typically, a Social Security Disability attorney is paid only if you are successful in getting Social Security Disability benefits. Most disability lawyers offer a free case evaluation and only charge a percentage of the backpay that is awarded once you succeed in your application.
Before you file for disability benefits, start searching for a good Social Security Disability lawyer who will point you in the right direction and guide you through the application process.
How a Social Security Attorney Can Help
A Social Security Disability attorney will help you understand the disability benefits application system, its nature, and how you should approach it in order to obtain the help that you need.
There are a few common misconceptions about disability claims that people often hear from their friends or other individuals who were denied several times. One of these misconceptions is the belief that first-time applicants are always denied Social Security Disability.
This is not the case. While it is true that many first time applicants for disability benefits are denied, this does not necessarily mean that you will be.
If you file for disability and are denied, be sure to file a disability appeal. A Social Security Disability attorney can assist you as you move your case from filing status to appeal status.
When it comes to paperwork or documentation, you’ll find that your disability lawyer is an invaluable asset to have. A Social Security Disability lawyer understands the system and is in a position to guide and help you through the process of filing the application/appeal forms.
Your choice of attorney can make or break your case. Social Security Disability cases are important not just to you, but for your family and dependents as well. Therefore, your choice of Social Security lawyer can be a potentially life changing decision.
Do not think that you will be unable to afford a disability lawyer, as Social Security attorneys usually receive payment once disability benefits are awarded to you.
How Does A Social Security Attorney Become Qualified?
Disability lawyers have graduated from law school. They have undergone extensive training regarding law, and they have worked diligently to learn the skills that they need to be able to help their clients. These are well-educated and dependable individuals who want to help individuals access the benefits that they need during a difficult time in their life.
To become a disability attorney, a lawyer must obtain a bachelor’s degree and have work experience and/or proper training. He or she must undergo a complete criminal background check. Liability insurance is imperative, so he or she must obtain adequate liability insurance to cover them if there is a problem or if they are sued.
He or she must graduate from law school and pass the bar exam. An exam on Social Security rules and regulations must be passed, and the attorney must complete continuing education classes. An attorney has undergone extensive training and will stay current on the laws and regulations as they relate to disability claims.
Becoming a Disability Advocate
To be a disability advocate, an individual must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience or training and undergo a complete criminal background check. He or she should maintain liability insurance and pass an exam on Social Security rules and regulations. Continuing education classes and seminars must be completed.
While an advocate must undergo training, he or she has not undergone as extensive training as an attorney. He or she will be able to help you throughout the claims process, but they may not have the additional skills or educational background needed for the more complex and challenging disability claims.
The Changes and Regulations That Apply
The SSA is constantly changing laws, guidelines, and regulations. The criteria required for medical approval sometimes changes and listing are often updated or added to the Blue Book, which is the medical guide used by the SSA.
Advocates and attorneys must stay updated on the changes, and by doing so, they will know what is required to get a claim and the best way to proceed with a claim. The claims process is challenging, and your odds of a successful claim improve when you have the help of a knowledgeable advocate or attorney.
A non-attorney advocate cannot do everything that a disability attorney can do. As an example, a disability attorney is more experienced and prepared to question the medical experts and vocational experts at the hearing than a non-attorney advocate would be.
Disability claims can be denied because the expert testimony isn’t challenged, and an attorney can make a difference in that aspect of your claim. While advocates do undergo training, attorneys have undergone more extensive training and they have a better grasp of Social Security regulations and rules than a non-attorney advocate.
What To Know About The Initial Application Process
When you apply for disability benefits, the initial application process requires a lot of paperwork and supporting documentation. You must complete the application in detail, ensuring all the documentation is completed accurately, and that there are no mistakes. A single mistake could compromise your eligibility for disability benefits. About 60 percent of claimants are denied the first time they apply.
After a claim is denied, you can file a request for reconsideration. At that point, your claim is reviewed again. There will most likely not be a change in the decision unless you can provide additional documentation and details for Disability Determination Services (DDS) to review. If the claim is denied during the request for reconsideration, you will request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
The chances of having a claim approved increase significantly if you are represented by an attorney or an advocate. Your odds of having a claim approved before it has advanced to the hearing level increases greatly with the help of a disability attorney or advocate.
If you are unable to work because of your medical condition, you will want to get your disability claim underway. The monthly benefits that you can receive from the SSA can have a significant impact on your finances. Those funds can help with your medical care, and after you have been disabled two years you will become eligible for Medicare.
The Costs of an Advocate or an Attorney
You may think that the cost of a non-attorney advocate is less than what you would pay for an attorney. However, this is not the case. Social Security regulations state that disability representatives – either attorneys or advocates – cannot charge more than 25 percent of the past-due benefits that are owed to the claimant. However, the pay is capped at $6,000.
Non-attorney advocates perform diligent work and possess specialized knowledge about disability claims. On the other hand, attorneys have received more specific training when it comes to legal research, drafting briefs, oral arguments, reviewing legal matters, and cross-examining witnesses. All these additional skills may be required to be approved for disability benefits.
You can retain the services of a disability attorney or a disability advocate at any time during the claims process. You can retain a lawyer before you start your disability claim, or you can wait until your claim is denied and then enlist help. However, if you haven’t started the claims process yet, you may be able to benefit from enlisting the help of a lawyer first so it may be able to help speed up the process and get your claim on the right track much more quickly.
Getting a disability claim approval could take several months, but with the right help the claims process may get underway much more quickly and more successfully. If you are applying for disability benefits, or if you are currently in the claims process, you may want to contact a disability attorney or advocate to determine the best way to proceed with your disability claim and get access to the benefits that you need.
Filing an Appeal for Denied Disability Benefits
When you file a claim for SSDI or SSI, the SSA often denies the application based on the lack of evidence you have provided to support your claim. However, all is not lost as you are entitled to appeal this decision.
It is unlikely you will be successful unless you ask a social security disability lawyer to work on your behalf to win your entitlement to disability benefits.
The average time it takes to process an appeal with the Social Security Disability Appeals Council can be from six months to two years.
A lawyer for SSI appeals can help to ensure the appeal is won by carefully studying the outcome of your claim decided by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the administrative hearing.
The appeals stage is the last chance you have and is not the type of action you want to take on alone. A lawyer for SSI appeals has the experience and skill to give you the best possible chances of obtaining disability benefits while you are unable to work.
The disability lawyer will ensure your medical records are complete and the written reports from your doctor explain fully the nature of your disability.
One of the most important features of an appeal is ensuring it is filed within 60 days of receiving the denial. Your lawyer will ensure you meet this deadline otherwise you may have to start the SSDI or SSI claim all over again.
Next Steps You Can Take
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a time consuming and complex process. In order to have the application process made as easy as possible and to have the best chance of being awarded Social Security Disability benefits, hire a Social Security attorney who knows what needs to be done to help get you the disability benefits to which you are entitled.