“Should I get a disability lawyer? How can a disability lawyer help me with my claim?”
These are all too common questions for people applying for disability benefits. Yes, the SSA doesn’t give special considerations to applicants represented by lawyers. But hiring a disability lawyer can fast-track your disability claim.
According to the SSA, the average processing time for disability benefit claims is 103 days. But some disability reviews may take up to 2 years. The turnaround time is usually determined by factors such as:
- whether you got approved at the initial application stage
- the availability of your medical records
- your medical condition
- the state you live in
Though it’s hard to give an exact figure of how long it takes to get disability benefits with a lawyer, having legal assistance can shorten the claims processing time from 2 years to at least 3 months. Social security disability attorneys already know what the SSA wants to see and hear. Their experience and knowledge of the system can help you get approval during the initial application stage. This means you won’t have to go through a lengthy case review and even an appeals process. They may even get you qualified for quick disability determination.
Surveys also show that 60% of those who had legal assistance were approved for disability benefits. While only 34% of claimants got approved without a lawyer. These statistics are backed by government data which shows that applicants represented by lawyers are 2.9 times more likely to get benefits.
How Can a Disability Lawyer Help With Your Claim?
Aside from speeding up your disability claim, hiring a disability lawyer also reduces the headache and stress brought about by the process. Here’s how a disability lawyer can help you in every stage of your disability claim.
During the initial application stage, your disability lawyer can help you fill up the application form. This will ensure that your application demonstrates you qualify for disability by detailing your inability to work and the severity of your medical condition.
They can also help you gather medical evidence and talk to medical professionals on how to properly present your condition to the SSA. If yours is a terminal illness, your lawyer can alert the SSA too so you’ll be eligible for expedited treatment.
On the Record Decision
If your initial application got denied, you have the right to request a disability hearing. To skip the wait for the hearing, your lawyer can file for an on-the-record decision (ORD).
To help you get approval at this stage, your lawyer can:
- help you gather substantial medical evidence proving the extent of your disability
- present a clear and concise argument as to why you deserve the benefits
- negotiate your disability onset date
- convince the Attorney Adjudicator on the specific merits of your case
If you got denied at the OTR decision stage, a hearing date will then be set for your case. During this stage, your lawyer can help you:
- write a dire need letter that can get your hearing date scheduled sooner (for SSI applicants only)
- prepare you for the questions that might be thrown at you during the hearing
- choose which witnesses to present at the hearing
- prepare the witnesses so they give out information helpful to your case
At What Stage in the Application Process Do You Need a Lawyer?
Ideally, you should hire a disability lawyer during your initial application. If you get approved at this stage, your waiting will be over and you can enjoy your benefits a lot sooner.
Sometimes, an initial application can get denied even with the help of a lawyer. This is mostly because, at this stage, the applicant’s medical condition isn’t yet so severe to be considered a disability. In this case, getting a lawyer won’t help much.
But if your application reaches the disability hearing stage, then legal representation is essential. Surveys show that getting the help of a lawyer at this stage significantly increases your chance of approval. Results from the survey suggest that half of those who availed of legal assistance secured approval. While only 23% of those who represented themselves were able to get benefits.
If your claim is denied again after a disability hearing with the administrative law judge (ALJ), your lawyer can also help you appeal your case with the Appeals Council. The council will look at new medical evidence (if any) or any evidence that was not considered by the ALJ. Your lawyer can also help you gather that new medical evidence if necessary.
Hire the Best Disability Lawyer in Florida
If you’re planning to apply for social security disability benefits anytime soon, you should seek help from Atty. Victor Malca. For over two decades now, he had been helping injured workers in Florida get the benefits they rightfully deserve. He can help you too. Contact us for a free consultation now.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.