Hiring a disability lawyer is not required by law. But doing so can be very beneficial for your case.
According to the SSA, denied social security disability claims average at 53%. Most of them got denied during the initial application stage.
But based on the results of a survey conducted by a private firm, about 60% of those who got approved did so with the help of a lawyer. This gives us an idea of how important disability attorneys are when fighting for your disability benefits.
So, what does a disability lawyer actually do? Here are some of the services you can expect from them:
1. Conduct an Initial Review of Your Case
When you first get in touch with a disability lawyer, they will conduct an initial review of your case. If you’ve never applied for disability benefits, they will assess how likely you are to win the case. But if you’ve already been denied, they will look at what went wrong with your application.
The information you’ll provide them at this point is essential. It will help them come up with an effective plan of action to win your case.
2. Gather Evidence to Support Your Claim
The SSA uses an evidence-based approach in granting disability benefits. They will want you to prove that your disability really prevents you from going back to work or doing any type of income-generating activity.
If you hire a disability lawyer, the burden of compiling the necessary evidence to support your claim will fall largely on them. You won’t have to stress yourself talking to your doctors or thinking about what type of evidence you need to get.
Disability lawyers, particularly the experienced ones, know the ins and outs of the system like the back of their hand. They know what the SSA wants to see and what type of evidence to submit for them to see that.
Most of the time, they will focus on your medical records. First, you’ll need to sign a medical records release. Then, they will talk to your doctors and any medical professional who treated you. They will ask for written statements, diagnoses, and the like. If necessary, they will also get sworn statements from the people who know about your disability.
3. File a Request for Reconsideration
If your claim gets denied at the initial application stage, you have the right to appeal the SSA’s decision. This is where a disability lawyer can help you too. They can help you navigate the appeals process and file a request for reconsideration.
4. Develop a Strategy For Your Case
One major advantage of hiring a disability lawyer is they know how to best present your case to the SSA.
After gathering all the information about your disability, they can formulate a theory for why you are disabled. They will then use this theory to argue that:
- your condition meets a disability listing
- you cannot go back to your previous work or engage in any substantial gainful activity
- your “limitations” prevent you from working
- you cannot even do a sedentary type of work
5. Prepare You For the Hearing
Most SSA disability claims that were initially denied get approved during the administrative law judge (ALJ) hearing. Thus, we cannot stress the importance of coming to the hearing well-prepared.
To get you ready for the hearing, disability lawyers usually conduct a pre-hearing meeting. During this, they will go over with you some questions you’ll likely be asked during the hearing. The questions may include but not limited to:
- Describe your symptoms
- When did you first stop working?
- Can you walk up a flight of stairs or carry a gallon of water?
Since they have previous experiences with these types of hearings, they know how it usually goes. So they know what type of questions the judges usually ask and what answers they expect. You will practice answering these questions during the meeting. Not only will this boost your confidence during the meeting. It will also help you avoid saying anything that might jeopardize your claim.
6. Represent You During the Hearing
Aside from preparing you, disability lawyers will also represent you during the hearing.
According to the private survey we mentioned earlier, half of those with legal representation during the hearing got approved. While only 23% of those who represented themselves won the case.
With these numbers, we can conclude that you will double your chances of getting approved for benefits if you are represented by a lawyer.
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.