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Do You Need a Lawyer to Apply for Social Security Disability?

Many people are overwhelmed by the Social Security Disability application process. This isn't very surprising when you consider how frustrating the process can be. If you've read the various forums and blogs, you've likely heard more than a few stories about Social Security Disability nightmares. Tales abound about people having legitimate claims denied, waiting years for benefits to begin, being treated unfairly during the appeal process, the list goes on...

These tales leave many people wondering whether or not they should hire a lawyer to help with the Social Security Disability application process. The question is, do you really need a lawyer when applying for Social Security Disability? If you've been wondering whether you should retain an attorney for your Social Security Disability claim there are some things you need to know. Here are the answers you've been looking for...

The Initial Application

The truth of the matter is that over 60% of applicants are denied at the initial level when applying for Social Security Disability benefits. Further, for those who are completely overwhelmed by the Social Security Disability application process and can't even fathom going into it without someone to represent them, hiring a disability lawyer or advocate is recommended.

When You Definitely Want an Attorney

The need for an attorney arises when your initial claim for Social Security Disability is denied. It is at this point that you should consider hiring a lawyer to represent your interests.

When your initial claim for Social Security Disability is denied you will have to go through an appeal process. People who have legal representation at this stage are often more successful in being approved for benefits than those who decide to go on and represent themselves. A Social Security Disability attorney will ensure that you have a fair hearing and that you are asked all of the questions you should be asked during this process. It is important, however, that you choose an attorney who is familiar with Social Security Disability laws and what it takes to get a claim approved.

How Much Will it Cost?

Once someone decides that they want to hire a Social Security Disability attorney, the first worry that usually comes to mind is how much it's going to cost. After all, lawyers are expensive. You're applying for disability benefits, so you don't have an income. You're probably having trouble making ends meet. How in the world are you going to afford a lawyer?

Fortunately, hiring a Social Security Disability attorney is actually very affordable. In fact, chances are that the Social Security Administration will handle the attorney's fees for you and you won't have to come up with a single penny out of your own pocket.

Social Security Disability lawyers are paid up to 25 percent of what you receive in Social Security Disability back payments, and that amount cannot exceed $6,000. What this means is if you are awarded $20,000 in Social Security Disability back payments, your attorney would receive 25 percent of that amount, which is $5,000. If you receive $40,000 in back payments, your lawyer would only receive $6,000. The Social Security Administration would then take your lawyer's cut of your back payments and send it directly to your attorney. You never really feel the cost of your legal representation.

Many people worry what will happen if they don't win their case. They don't want to face thousands of dollars in legal fees if their Social Security Disability benefits are not granted. Don't worry. If you don't win the case, your lawyer doesn't get paid. Not only does this protect you financially, but it gives your lawyer quite a bit of incentive to represent you properly.

A Word to the Wise

Whether or not you hire a lawyer to handle your Social Security Disability claim is up to you. It is a personal decision that only you can make. Just understand that if your initial Social Security Disability claim is denied, the appeal process can go much more smoothly if you have a lawyer working for you.