The timing in determining when to hire an attorney is often a difficult decision for an individual. Some claimants wait too long and often face a multi-year delay or have a hearing where no additional evidence is allowed. It is not required to have an attorney or representative to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Yet an attorney often allows for faster and more successful resolution of a claim. Moreover, too many individuals, their claims seem far easier than it actually is. The Social Security Administration conducts an analysis where they look at a person’s age, vocational background, skills, and diagnoses and treatment, and often concludes where the individual is deemed to have significant disabilities – but there are still jobs the individual can perform. Even if the vocational analysis results in a narrow class of jobs, the result can preclude disability approval. Some additional factors are at play:
- Many applicants are turned down because they do not understand the complicated application process. This can be due to the process itself, or because of a learning disability or difficulty in comprehension or reading. An attorney can help you understand what is required for the application and assist in completing any documents that may be difficult to understand. Disability attorneys can help guide you through the entire application and appeal process.
- Applicants are often denied because they fail to maintain contact with the Social Security office. Some must move to new locations, move in with family, or cut internet services. An attorney acts to assist in easing the level of communications with Social Security, help schedule some of SSA’s consultative exams and deal with SSA inquiries.
- A skilled Social Security Disability attorney can help you develop your medical evidence. The focus on sound and reliable medical evidence is often the key in successfully proving your eligibility for benefits. The people who review your claim may prefer you get an MRI, for example, rather than treat with your internist. Often, Social Security finds medical evidence “incomplete” or “insufficient” to grant a claim. An attorney can help gather the additional evidence necessary to support your disability claim, as well as a physician’s opinion of your impairment.
- A Social Security Disability attorney has the experience to notice if there are additional conditions/impairments that may not have been included in your application. Additional impairments, or a combination of impairments, often result in a higher chance your claim is granted.
- Attorneys assist in the appeal process if a claim is denied and represent clients at Administrative Law Judge hearings. This can include presentation of the evidence, preparation in answering questions posed by an Administrative Law Judge, and cross-examining of witnesses, such as medical or vocational experts called to testify during the hearing.
A Social Security Disability benefits claim has a unique set of criteria and regulations that guides the decision-making process. A Social Security Disability attorney has the experience necessary to navigate this very important and often lengthy process with your needs in mind. An attorney protects you from making certain errors that can harm your chances for a successful outcome. Individuals filing for disability benefits have the option to file online or over the phone. In order to apply online, use Social Security’s online website, www.ssa.gov. A simple consultation with our attorneys, free of charge for SSA disability claims, often ferrets out which is the best option for our clientele. You will typically need a Birth Certificate, proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status, U.S. Military discharge papers (if discharge was before 1968), W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns for the last year, medical evidence you may have in your possession (records, doctor’s reports, or medical tests), prescription evidence preferably from your local pharmacy, medical testing results and reports, and proof of any temporary or permanent worker’s compensation-type benefits.