Why hire an experienced SSDI attorney to handle your disability claim?
1) Avoid Frustration. When you hire an attorney to represent you before the Social Security Administration for a disability claim, you can avoid the frustration of completing forms and filing documents, worrying about what information you need to provide, and when and where you need to provide it. Filing a claim is a confusing and time-consuming process.
Your attorney will act as a buffer between you and administrative bureaucrats. Claimants receive a great deal of paperwork from the Social Security Administration -- forms, circulars, notices, requests, adendums, affidavits. This paperwork is often complicated and confusing. What has to be filed? When? Where? With Whom? Why? How? Your attorney knows and will help to ensure that all of your paperwork is completed and filed correctly, and on time. A missed deadline can be critical to your claim.
When you hire an attorney, you benefit from the attorney's claims-handling experience.
2) Get More of What You are Entitled to. A competent SSDI attorney will help you to maximize your disability claim. Your attorney will make sure you understand all of your entitlements. (For example, you may be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.)
Your attorney may also provide you with a list of free and low-cost community programs designed to support you in a crisis. Right now, you can view my list of community resources.
3) Higher Approval Rates. Social Security Administration statistics reveal that, all else being equal, claims presented by attorneys have a higher likelihood of being approved than claims filed directly by claimants.
Why do claimants who hire lawyers do better with the Social Security Disability process?
I can't say exactly with certainty why represented claimants experience a better success rate than non-represented claimants do. There are probably many good reasons. Some of them have more merit than others. Following are some of the reasons that make the most sense to me.
Knowing What the Social Security Administration is Looking For. Most disability claims are won (or lost) based on medical records. The information doctors and other medical professionals provide in these records is generally presented from a perspective that is most useful in treating injuries and illness. The Social Security Administration is looking for information that can be useful in determining an individual's capabilities, the extent of the injury or illness, and how the injury or illness may affect your ability to work. The rules for drawing disability benefits are based on these concerns.
For example, on a claim form, the doctor may state, "patient complains of pain in lower back -- recommend physical therapy and muscle relaxants." What the Social Security Administration needs to know is whether or not you can lift twenty pounds. While an ethical attorney will never encourage anybody to exaggerate or mislead, a competent attorney will guide the doctor toward providing the information that is most useful to the Social Security Administration (by knowing which questions to ask and how to phrase the questions).
Relationships. During the disability hearings and appeals portions of the claim process your attorney will present your case before a judge. While the judge doesn't know much about you, the judge will likely be very familiar with your attorney. The judge will know whether the attorney has a history of honesty and credibility or a history of skirting the truth. If the attorney has a credible history, the judge may give the attorney's claims and recommendations more weight in the decision-making process.
Fewer Errors in Filing. Claims filed professionally are more likely to be error-free. A professional disability lawyer who works with claim forms day in and day out is more familiar with what information is needed. Filing requirements can be tricky. Not mailing required documentation in a timely manner can be sufficient grounds to deny a claim.
Better Presentations. Experienced disability attorneys know what the Social Security Administration is looking for. While an ethical attorney would never mislead a judge, the same facts can be presented in a favorable light, or in an unfavorable light.
When you hire an experienced, competent attorney, you can rest assured, knowing that your claim will be handled professionally and quickly. Your attorney will do everything in his or her power to see that deserving people get benefits.