It’s natural to feel hesitant about hiring a Social Security disability lawyer. Many questions may run through your mind ranging from affordability to time. Weighing your options may give you more insight into the benefits of having legal representation. Here are four key ways a disability lawyer or advocate can help you.
Four Reasons Why Most People File Claims Through a Disability Lawyer
Reason #1: To Acquire Costly Medical Records
You must provide proof that your medical condition exists and prevents you from working at least one year. Disability lawyers and advocates understand what kind of medical documentation can best prove your claim. They can submit all appropriate tests, lab results, and medical evidence with your claim to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Reason #2: To Check on Your Claims Status
Not knowing the status of your claim can be stressful. But this is where a disability lawyer can step in and help. A lawyer has the ability to contact the SSA on your behalf in order to check the status of your claim. They can also find out if the SSA needs any additional documentation and which office is processing your claim.
Reason #3: To Appeal a Denial
After all the time and effort that went into the initial application process, receiving a denial letter from the SSA can be devastating. Lawyers know how the appeals process works and they’ll be by your side throughout the entire ordeal. There can be many levels of appeal that your claim may have to go through.
If your case gets to the hearing level or above, it’s crucial to consider representation. Your legal counsel will go over your case and prep you for any questions that may be asked by the judge. These questions can range from specifics about your condition to your inability to hold gainful employment. So, you should prepare for any situation the judge may ask about.
Reason #4: No Up-Front Disability Lawyer Fees
Most disability lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means there are little to no out-of-pocket costs to secure legal aid. In almost all cases, fees will not come into play until you are awarded disability benefits. The maximum amount of money that an attorney can charge is 25% of your back pay, or up to $6,000 — whichever is less. The attorney can only deduct this amount from the back pay the SSA awards you. That means you never owe a lawyer anything out of your own pocket.
However, there are some situations where the SSA may not award you any backpay. If this happens, your lawyer would more than likely file a petition to obtain approval of a fee with the SSA.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
It’s beneficial to have someone on your side who knows the ins and outs of the disability program. In fact, having a lawyer file your application makes you 3x more likely to get SSD benefits the first time you apply. Those who file on their own without legal assistance usually wait up to two years for their first disability payment.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Megan Kelly is a former blogger and copywriter for LeadingResponse.