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...
How Many Claims Are Approved?
Each and every year, the Social Security Administration receives millions of claims for Social Security Disability benefits. Unfortunately, approximately 70 percent of these claims are denied during the initial stage of the application process.
What happens to the disability applicants who receive a denial of their claim for Social Security Disability benefits? If they have any hope of receiving disability benefits in the future, they must appeal the SSA's decision to deny their application for disability benefits.
To the frustration of many applicants, the appeal process is anything but simple. Proper representation can mean the difference between a successful appeal or a further denial of your Social Security Disability claim.
Statistics show that applicants who pursue the appeal process with proper representation are more likely to receive disability benefits than applicants who choose to represent themselves. The question is, how do you find a disability lawyer or advocate to represent you in your SSDI or SSI case?
The following information can help you choose the advocate or lawyer that is right for you.
When You Definitely Want an Attorney
The need for a Social Security disability lawyer arises when your initial claim for Social Security Disability is denied. It is at this point that you should consider hiring an attorney 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 a lawyer who is familiar with Social Security disability laws and what it takes to get a SSI or SSDI claim approved.
Ask the Right Questions
Finding a disability advocate or lawyer willing to take your Social Security Disability case should not be a problem. Finding a disability advocate or lawyer that is actually qualified to handle your disability claim can be a little trickier.
When retaining the services of a disability lawyer or advocate, you absolutely must ask the right questions. The last thing you want to do is hire an advocate or attorney, only to find out that the professional you have chosen is not all that you had hoped for.
This is why you must ask the right questions and get as much information as possible prior to deciding which advocate or lawyer you will work with.
What To Ask
The first thing you need to ask when you meet with the lawyer or advocate you are interested in working with is how accessible they will be. Many Social Security Disability attorneys and advocates handle a large volume of cases.
On account of this, some of these professionals may not be able to provide you with the individualized attention your case needs. You should discuss this concern with the advocate or lawyer you want to work with. Having your representative understand your concerns and needs right off the bat can prevent future headaches and misunderstandings.
You should also ask about the experience of the advocate or lawyer you are considering. Not all advocates are as experienced as they should be and some attorneys do not specialize in Social Security law.
Make sure your lawyer or advocate has the experience needed to understand the complex Social Security Disability claim process and the laws that will affect your particular disability case, such as what the current substantial gainful activity is.
While it might not seem like an important factor, personality should also play a role in your decision. You need to be able to get along with the Social Security disability advocate or lawyer you work with. This professional may be working with you for a year or more depending on how far you have to appeal your Social Security Disability case. If you are working with a lawyer or advocate who is rude or abrasive or does not respect your feelings, it will make things complicated.
Finding a Lawyer or Advocate to Work With
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.
Fortunately, finding a qualified advocate or attorney to represent you during your Social Security disability case doesn't have to be a stressful or overwhelming process. You can fill out our Free Disability Evaluation to find a qualified Social Security Disability advocate or attorney in your area and to determine if your Social Security disability case could be approved.