Seeking help from a social security disability attorney significantly increases your chances of getting approved for disability benefits. Being represented by the right legal counsel is always better than not having one. Right from the initial application to the administrative hearing—an attorney understands how to go about the case in the best possible way. After your claim is declined, the SSA allows you 60 days to file an appeal.
According to the law, you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits, if you’re above the age of 18 and are unable to work due to your medical condition. The medical condition should be expected to last atleast a year or result in death. Navigating through the process on your own is never easy.
Here’s a detailed insight into how an attorney can help you out.
Step 1: Review
You approach a social security attorney after your application is denied. After you call up the nearest law firm, they’ll schedule an initial meeting to review your case. During the session, the attorney will determine how your claim was denied in the first place. Some attorneys only accept cases if they’re likely to be successful.
Ensure you take all the required medical evidence to present a strong case in front of the law firm. Before proceeding with the case, your attorney would want to confirm the severity of the condition and its limitations.
At this stage, the attorney will also take a look at your work history, educational background, and skill set to understand your job description. The documents should not only explain the symptoms but also how they affect your ability to work determine the proposed treatment plan. The physician’s notes must also mention any side effects caused by the treatment. The attorney will use these details to figure out the kind of work you can perform in the future.
You can hire a disability attorney at any step of the claims process. Ideally, it’s better to seek help before applying for the benefits, so your claim is properly represented and all health care providers are identified along with your diagnosis. They’ll guide you on what evidence is missing in your claim, to begin with.
Step 2: Gather Medical Evidence
If you don’t have all the medical evidence in one place, the attorney can help you gather it. For this, you’ll have to sign a medical privacy release to authorize them to help collect your medical records. After you’ve done so, the attorney will reach out to your healthcare provider to find more about your disability diagnosis and prognosis. They can provide specific residual functional capacity (RFC) forms for your provider to complete in an effort to document your disability pursuant to the SSA language.
They could also ask you to take the consultative examination either with an SSA-recommended doctor or of your own to evaluate your disabling condition.
If the attorney pays for the medical documents on their own, they will bill you for the cost when the case comes to an end. The attorney might also gather supporting statements from your coworkers, employer, and caregivers to support the claim.
Step 3: Pre-Hearing Meeting
Before your hearing with the SSA takes place, the attorney will hold a pre-hearing meeting to prepare you for the actual administrative hearing before the judge. They’ll tell you about some of the potential questions you may be asked and advise why these questions are important. It’s also the attorney’s job to enlist potential witnesses who can testify in your favor during the hearing. You need them to guide you regarding what’s important and what isn’t. You can’t possibly go through hundreds of pages of records to screen out the relevant information. Your attorney will do so on your behalf.
During this step, the attorney will also help develop a theory for your case. This usually works as a clever strategy to present your case in front of a judge. The attorney will help you decide whether your condition meets a disability listing or has made you unable to perform tasks that were once easy for you. Attorneys have a lot of familiarity with the SSA regulations and know the recipe for a winning case. They know what a judge looks for in every case and what it takes to get a claim approved.
Step 4: Pay the Attorney
After the hearing comes to an end and your claim gets approved, SSA will hold the attorney’s fees out of your back pay to pay your attorney. Attorneys are paid on a contingency basis, which means you only pay them if you get your benefits. In short, there are no upfront attorney’s fees when it comes to hiring an attorney. In most cases, it takes several months for the claim to get approved.
How to choose the right disability lawyer?
Before hiring a disability lawyer, make sure you do your research. Always invest in a lawyer with proper qualifications and in-depth knowledge of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Try and ask them as many questions as you can. They should be able to provide you with the required information.
Ask them about the years of experience they’ve had in handling such cases. Ask them about how they approach such cases and whether they’ve been effective. You should also know about the average timeframe it takes for them to handle an appeal process.
If you’re looking for a top social security disability attorney in Little Rock, AR, reach out to Lisa Douglas. Lisa has extensive experience in the field of social security disability claims, medical malpractice, personal injury, and accident-related cases. No matter what your legal claim is, Lisa will work around a way to increase your qualifying chances. Get in touch for an initial consultation.