Why Use a Social Security Disability Lawyer
There are good reasons why someone who is applying for social security disability benefits should seriously consider contacting a social security disability lawyer to help them with the process.
According to the Federal government’s Social Security Disability website: “Social Security pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. “ To even consider getting disability benefits, a person must meet two different earnings tests: a “recent work” test based on one’s age at the time the person becomes disabled, as well as a “duration of work” test to prove the person has worked long enough where Social Security monies have been withheld from their paycheck. The government’s Social Security Disability website has charts that give general examples showing how one meets their earnings requirement along with what information you need to fill out their forms completely. Learn about How You Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits.
It can take as long as three to five months to process an application for disability benefits, after it is submitted.
Your State’s SSD Agency
Once the federal government reviews the information and it is found to meet all requirements, the application is then sent to the Disability Determination Services office in that person’s state, since that state’s SSD agency makes the final decision. This is a five-step process before the final determination is made as to whether the person is disabled and qualifies for benefits.
After the state agency reaches a decision, the person receives a letter stating that the application is either approved or denied. For those who receive an approval of their claim the letter also provides the amount of the benefit and when it will begin. If the application is not approved, there will be an explanation along with instructions on how to appeal the decision.
This is just an abbreviated explanation of the general Social Security Disability application process without going into greater detail of requirements and explanations of exceptions.
Additional Sites with Helpful Information
Disability Starter Kit
The Social Security Administrations website offers a "Disability Starter Kit" page that helps a person prepare for their initial disability interview or online application.
Disability Determination Process
Keep in mind that the majority of Social Security disability claims are initially processed through the person's network of local Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices and State agencies (Disability Determination Services or DDSs).
SSA-561-U2 Request for Reconsideration
Subsequent appeals of unfavorable determinations are usually decided in a DDS or by an administrative law judge in SSA's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. If you get to this point, it is advisable to consult with a Social Security Disability Lawyer who can guide and help present your reconsideration request.
Why It Is Smart to Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer
Successfully obtaining social security disability benefits is very difficult, particularly when a person is unfamiliar with the law and the process. Appealing a decision of rejection is much more complicated and time consuming than the initial application process. It can be a major undertaking for an individual who is currently struggling with a disability. Some folks even recommend that Social Security Disability lawyers be hired for the initial application, since it isn't always easy to determine whether a disorder meets the Social Security Administration criteria for a disability.
Even if you meet all the requirements for social security disability benefits, you may be rejected simply because you did not file the initial forms properly. Unfortunately, statistically more than 60% of initial social security disability claims are rejected. You may appeal if you are declined benefits.
Developing a Disability Case For a Hearing
If your request for reconsideration of Social Security's denial of your disability is also rejected, you can appeal further by requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ takes a fresh look at your claim. It is at an ALJ hearing that having a social security disability attorney is very important and may make the difference between winning or losing your case.
A social security disability lawyer and their paralegals will do all the necessary paperwork and filings as they guide and advise you on every step of the process. They will know how to schedule and expedite a disability hearing, as well as prepare you for the questions that will be asked. One of the most important services a social security disability attorney performs is gathering the correct medical records, reviewing them, and submitting them to the court. They also will determine if your case requires additional medical evidence and whether any key test results or documentation is absent. An experienced social security disability lawyer will know best how to handle any weaknesses in your SSDI or SSI case and how to play up the strengths of your case, given his or her knowledge of the local ALJ. Statistics show that a disability claimant /applicant who is represented by an experienced SSDI lawyer at the hearing level is twice as likely to be approved than an unrepresented person.
Disability attorneys are paid on contingency basis.
This means they receive monies only if you win your SSDI or SSI claim, even if your case goes on for years. To get their fees paid, Social Security disability lawyers enter into written fee agreements with their clients that must be submitted to the state’s Social Security department for approval. If Social Security approves the fee agreement, it will pay your attorney for you directly out of your back pay social security monies. The fee is negotiable between attorney and the client as long as it does not exceed $6,000 or 25% of your back pay or whichever is less. Since the limit on fees is a part of Social Security law, be aware that no lawyer can charge more than that.
While social security disability attorneys cannot guarantee that you will be awarded Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, your case will have the best chance of being successful. Fill out the form on this page and a Social Security disability lawyer will contact you.
The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.