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Disability attorneys can represent your interests when applying for disability benefits for a number of reasons. Hiring a disability attorney can streamline the process for faster approval. Federal law regulates the fees when hiring a disability attorney to correlate to your date of entitlement or disability payback which is generally 25 percent or about $6,000. Upfront money requirements are minimal, if at all, and payment only occurs (contingency fees) when you win your case, creating a strong motivation for your attorney to succeed.
The Social Security Administration Prefers Working with Lawyers
While you do not require a lawyer to represent your application process, statistics show that hiring a disability lawyer significantly increases your chances of approval. The Social Security Administration is more likely to approve an applicant with legal counsel representing their interests. Facts of eligible impairments will be more persuasive when presented by legal counsel, which sheds a more favorable light from the initial application to the hearing levels and beyond. It is a lengthy process, and an experienced attorney knows what to deliver.
Attorneys Understand the Complex Laws
Regulations that correspond to the Social Security Act (SS Act) are another complicated area of law that plays a significant role during your disability hearing. While the SS Act originated long ago, it is a federal safety net for the elderly, disadvantaged, and unemployed, including amendments that keenly affect qualifying for disability benefits today. A disability attorney understands the laws and can explain how you can satisfy program eligibility.
A Minor Investment for Knowledge and Expertise
When hiring a qualified lawyer, you can often get a free consultation. Together you can evaluate the strength of your case and determine to move forward if it makes sense. With a proper legal filing from the initial application, your request can move quickly through each step of the process and have a better chance of approval the first time. Starting over can be a significant setback.
If you have already presented your initial application and were issued a claim denial, you should retain a disability attorney to submit your application a second time. Again, your disability attorney statistically increases your chances of success and moves your case through the system more quickly. Your lawyer will craft sophisticated legal arguments to show you were wrongly denied your claim at this appeals stage.
A disability lawyer takes you through several hearing levels, knows what is required to reveal at each stage, and how to handle the Appeals Council and Federal Court if Social Security denies your claim. Your attorney can offer advice for your initial application regarding the alleged onset date of your disability. This date determines when you first became eligible for disability and establishes how far back your payments will go.
Emergency Disability Needs
If you have a terminal medical condition or a dire financial circumstance (such as foreclosure or homelessness), your attorney may change your case presentation to an “on-the-record” decision. Your disability lawyer can send a request to the judge for approval of benefits without a hearing to get you the help you so desperately need. However, even with an attorney, expediting cases can often be unsuccessful because of the volume and backlog of existing cases. A claimant may have to wait months or even years before resolving the case.
Getting Started with Your Disability Attorney
Social Security’s “blue book” lists eligible impairments for disability benefits. Your attorney will gather and submit:
- Relevant medical evidence
- A doctor’s opinion
- A brief to the Administrative Law Judge
They will prepare you for questions the judge may pose during your hearings. Your attorney can elicit testimony from you or witnesses that are helpful to your case and may cross-examine a medical or vocational expert who agrees with your inability to work. Remember that not all disability is physical. Many Americans experience mental disabilities that prevent them from obtaining and maintaining gainful employment, and your disability lawyer can also argue these claims on your behalf.
If you have been denied social security disability benefits or are applying for the first time, it is crucial to meet with a qualified disability attorney. They can advise you about the likelihood of success and the best approach to ensure you get the disability benefits you need. We hope you found this article helpful. If you have questions or would like to discuss a personal legal matter, don’t hesitate to reach out. Please contact us at (321) 729-0087.