Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is a long and cumbersome process. In fact, it can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years for an approval, depending on the route in which your case goes.
The SSDI process puts an enormous amount of responsibility on the applicant to correctly fill out the required paperwork and to submit the right medical evidence.
It’s a daunting task, especially for those who are not feeling well.
The rate of approval is relatively small, with only about one-third of the applicants being deemed disabled. The reality is that the majority of individuals who apply for SSDI will be denied. However, the chances of being approved go up dramatically if you are prepared and understand the process. Hiring a qualified and experienced attorney can significantly enhance the odds that you will be awarded disability benefits.
What Exactly Can an Attorney Do for Me in the Process?
Hiring an attorney to assist you with the Social Security disability process may make the difference between you winning your claim or being denied the financial assistance that you deserve. Some of the things that an attorney can do on your behalf include, but are not limited to:
- Ensure that your application is filed correctly
- Correspond with the Social Security Administration (SSA) on your behalf
- Assist you in filling out documents, including your application in some cases
- Obtain updates on your claim from the SSA
- Inform you of upcoming deadlines and the next steps in the process
- Help you decide which medical records are relevant to submit
- Inform you of additional medical tests or documentation that you may need to obtain
- Request medical documentation on your behalf
- Discuss your application with your doctor
- Prepare for your appeal hearing
- Decide if witness testimony is helpful for your hearing
- Ensure that you are doing all that you can to win your claim as quickly as possible
- Act as your advocate
What Will I Need to Handle Myself During This Process?
While a qualified attorney can be instrumental in your success, it is important to know that you will still need to take an active role in the application process. There are some things that you will need to be responsible for during the application process, such as:
- Filling out and submitting some of the required paperwork to the SSA, including the initial application for disability
- Attending all doctor’s appointments
- Attending any additional assessment appointments that the SSA requests you attend
- Communicating with your doctor on a regular basis
- Being present at your hearing
- Requesting additional medical tests or evaluations, as needed
- Communicating changes or new medical information to your attorney
Should I hire an attorney or an advocate to help me with the SSDI process?
It goes without saying that a qualified disability attorney or advocate enhances your chances of being approved for SSDI benefits. No matter where you are in the Social Security disability application process, an experienced attorney can be of assistance.
Some individuals are hesitant to hire an attorney, as they may already be struggling financially. However, Social Security disability lawyers and advocates do not get paid unless you win your claim. They work on a contingency basis and require no up-front costs or retainers. As their financial reward depends on yours, they work hard to ensure that all is done to win your claim.