If your disability application was denied there are several levels of the appeals process for disability benefits that may help to get your claim approved. Firstly, you can file a Request for Reconsideration and a special team will be appointed to review your claim again none of whom will have been involved in the decision of your initial application.
If your disability appeal is still denied, you can move onto the second stage of the disability benefits appeal which is a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You should know by now why your claim has been denied and you have the opportunity to provide fresh evidence to be considered by the ALJ who may also not only ask you questions but any witnesses you have provided. It is not always easy to interpret the reasons for disability benefits denials so asking a disability lawyer to help you may offer you a higher chance of having your application approved.
Do You Need a Disability Lawyer?
It is not required to ask a disability lawyer to represent you when you are filing an appeal for your claim for Social Security disability benefits, but hiring one may improve your chances of finally being approved. A disability lawyer likely knows the process of appealing an SSDI and SSI decision and may have handled cases many times before.
A lawyer can help to determine if your medical condition meets the SSA’s strict criteria and he or she will know what additional medical evidence is required that will help to strengthen your disability claim. If there is a way to resolve why your initial claim for disability benefits was denied the disability lawyer may know what to do.
The Cost of Hiring a Disability Lawyer
When you’re considering hiring a lawyer for your disability claim appeal there are usually no initial fees or upfront payments as the service is provided on a contingency fee basis meaning no fees are paid until the appeal is won. The attorney is paid out of any disability benefit you’re eventually awarded.
The attorney’s fee is limited to 25 % of any past-due benefits or back pay the Social Security Administration (SSA) finally awards you. The fee is capped at $6,000 but the lawyer does not get paid a fee if you aren’t awarded any back pay. The SSA will deduct all the lawyer’s fees from your first back pay check before you are sent the check.
Sometimes there are some out-of-pocket expenses requested by the attorney such as postage or fees charged for gaining access to your medical records. Before hiring an attorney, be sure to ask how out-of-pocket expenses are handled and what kinds of costs these may include.
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