Filing for Social Security Disability benefits can be a complicated and confusing process. Most applicants don’t know how to fill out the necessary paperwork and submit the correct medical documentation. This is a primary reason why over 65% of disability claims are originally denied.
While you don’t technically need an attorney to represent you during the application process, hiring one can improve your chances of a successful claim. Statistics have shown that the Social Security Administration (SSA) is more likely to approve someone who is represented by an attorney.
Ways Your Attorney Can Improve Your Chances
Social Security Disability attorneys understand the application process. They know how to present your case in a way that makes your disability obvious and not a matter of conjecture, and can assist you in obtaining the necessary medical documentation from your doctor and the hospitals where you received treatment. A lawyer can help you understand the Blue Book listing and make sure you meet the criteria. The risk of your claim being rejected due to insufficient medical proof of disability is greatly reduced.
Once your application is submitted, your attorney will check in with the SSA on your behalf and give you updates as they become available.
Representing You at Appeals
If your original claim is denied, your attorney will represent you at any necessary appeals, such as reconsideration and hearing proceedings. He or she can collect and submit key medical evidence, communicate with your doctor and any other medical professionals who have treated you, and prepare you for any questions that the administrative law judge may ask. They may also be able to move your case forward more quickly, especially if you are in dire financial need or your condition is terminal.
At the hearing, your attorney will guide your testimony so that the judge has a proper understanding of how your disability has impacted your ability to work. If appearing at a hearing is impossible given your condition, your attorney can request an OTR (on the record) decision from the judge, making it possible for your claim to be approved without a hearing.
Hiring an Attorney-The Real Cost
You may acknowledge that a Social Security disability attorney can help your case, but hesitate due to worry over the cost. Lawyers are expensive, aren’t they? If your financial situation is such that you need to apply for disability benefits to make ends meet, how can you afford an attorney’s fees?
The good news is that you will not need to pay for an attorney upfront. Social Security disability attorneys are compensated by receiving up to 25% of your disability back payments, to a maximum of $6,000. The SSA takes the attorney’s percentage of the back payments and sends it directly to him or her, so you don’t have to worry about calculating and remitting.
Whether you are applying for Social Security disability benefits for the first time or appealing a recently received denial, hiring a Social Security attorney will maximize your chances of ultimately being successful with your disability claim.