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When applying for social security disability benefits you have two options: do it by yourself or use a disability lawyer. Many applicants might choose the first option because they think a disability lawyer can’t help them or the lawyer may be too expensive or they just don’t like lawyers in general. However, these reasons are simply misinformed. There are some very strong advantages to using a disability lawyer. Here are the top five reasons to use a disability lawyer.
Most applications are initially denied– Around 50% of all claims are denied. The approval rate for initial applications is only 28%. Only 3% of applicants get approved after appealing the first time. After the second appeal, around 13% of applicants get approved. Those are pretty tough odds to go up against by yourself. The Social Security Administration has a long list of reasons to deny your claim, and they’re not afraid to use them.
Denials can be broken down into two categories: medical or technical. A medical denial happens when the SSA thinks your disability isn’t medically severe enough to qualify for benefits. A technical denial refers to a denial based on program eligibility. The most common reasons for a technical denial are:
To make things simple, the odds of getting approved are not in your favor. However, using a disability lawyer can help. Disability lawyers know how the system works and what to expect next. This helps you avoid simple mistakes and get closer to getting the benefits you need.
So much paperwork– When applying for Social Security disability benefits, one of the most daunting tasks is the proverbial mountain of paperwork that has to be filled out in precisely the right way at precisely the right time. Not only is the sheer quantity of paperwork and forms intimidating, just knowing which form to use for your specific situation is no small task.
Properly filling out these forms and submitting them by the deadline can make or break your application. The SSA makes very few exceptions for missing deadlines and turning in a form after the deadline can force you to start the entire application process over.
The neverending forms from the SSA are only the beginning. To have a fighting chance of getting approved you’ll need to keep detailed records of every medical appointment you have that verifies your need for disability benefits. Using a disability lawyer can help you keep all the forms and paperwork in order and submitted in a timely manner. A disability lawyer can also assist you in gathering your medical records.
Speaking medical– According to the official SSA rules and regulations, the term “disability” is a legal term, not a medical term. While getting a firm medical diagnosis is key, a doctor’s note stating that you are disabled is not enough. To get approved you’ll have to be able to turn a medical diagnosis into a legal fact.
This process requires a special set of skills that most people don’t have. If you’re appealing or going through a hearing, this set of skills can be even more vital. In these situations you’ll need to be able to present the medical facts in a way that is not only understandable, but convincing. Medical tests, treatments, doctors notes, your personal notes, and many other forms all need to fit together to tell the same story.
This kind of presentation takes a ton of preparation, which can be difficult to do if you’re disabled and waiting for benefits. Let a lawyer do the leg work and present your claim using all the regulations.
It takes a long time- The claim can easily take up to two years to get approved. That’s a long time to keep fighting. During this waiting time there’s a long list of do’s and don’ts. How much you’re making, how much you’re working, and what kind of medical treatment you’re getting can all be taken into consideration by the SSA.
A social security disability lawyer can guide you through this waiting period and educate you on how these things may or may not affect your claim. In addition to keeping you accountable, a lawyer can also be your cheerleader.
Waiting to get approved is brutal. Over a two year period the thought of giving up will cross your mind more than once. Having someone on your side who knows what to expect can help you stay motivated.
You’re not a lawyer- The list of SSA rules and regulations seems to never end, and keeping everything straight can be exhausting. While most of this information is accessible to the public, it’s not exactly user-friendly. These rules and regulations are written in a way that makes it seem like the SSA has their own secret language. In order to get approved, this language has to be decoded and the rules have to be followed with precision.
Even if you get all your ducks in a row, there’s bound to be a fair amount of arguing involved at some point. This is your lawyer’s time to shine. Whether they’re talking to a Disability Examiner or an Administrative Law Judge, a qualified disability lawyer will have a big bag of tactics they can use to present your case in the most convincing way possible. Having someone in your corner who knows what to say and when to say it can make a huge difference.
These are five great reasons you need to hire a disability lawyer when applying for Social Security disability benefits. The lawyers at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law have years of experience helping people just like you get the benefits they need. They’re prepared for the appeals process, they can do the paperwork in their sleep, they speak medical fluently, they’re in it for the long haul, and they know the SSA regulations like the back of their hand. If you’re shopping for a disability lawyer call Jan Dils Attorneys at Law for a free consultation.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law