Should I get a disability lawyer? How can a disability lawyer help me with my claim?
These are all too common questions from 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 in 2018. But some disability reviews may take up to two years. Some factors that can affect the turnaround time include:
- whether you got approved at the initial application stage
- the availability of your medical records
- your medical condition
- the state you live in
A disability lawyer knows 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. You won’t have to go through a lengthy case review and even an appeals process. This shortens your claims processing time to a few months.
Surveys also show that 60% of those who had legal assistance was approved for 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.
During the initial application stage, they can help you fill-up the application form. This will ensure that your application demonstrates your inability to work and that your medical condition meets the SSA’s listing.
They can also help you gather medical evidence and talk to your doctor on how to properly present your medical condition to the SSA. If yours is a terminal illness, they can also alert the SSA 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 (ORD) decision.
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 which 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 an approval. While only 23% of those who represented themselves were able to get benefits.
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 LAW – A TRUSTED NAME IN FLORIDA
Victor Malca Law has over 25 years of litigation experience, we are the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.
Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are also recognized by our peers. Book a free consultation today.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.