Filing a Social Security Disability claim can initially seem simple enough that you don’t need the help a an attorney. However, even if you have an undisputed, severe illness or injury that will undoubtedly disable you for more than twelve months, you may still want an advocate to help you navigate through the process. Hiring an attorney to help with your disability claim can significantly increase the chances of your claim being approved.
While it’s certainly true that some people who apply on their own are approved for benefits, the complexity of navigating the laws and procedures surrounding Social Security Disability benefits make it more likely to achieve an approved status if you have an experienced disability advocate.
Avoiding the Need for an Appeal
Hiring a lawyer experienced in Social Security Disability law when you file your initial claim may help you avoid having to file an appeal later. If you lay out your claim as clearly and fully as possible to the Social Security Administration from the very beginning, you may receive an approval much sooner. An attorney can guide you and your physicians, ensuring all necessary documentation is submitted with your initial claim.
Experienced disability attorneys understand how to present a case in the light most favorable to their clients. When you first file a claim, your lawyer can offer advice on complex issues such as the onset date of your disability, which determines how much in past due benefits, or back pay, you can be awarded.
Your lawyer may also help you argue that your condition meets one of the listed impairments set out by Social Security, and help you focus on the facts that will be most persuasive to the agency. If you are disabled by a combination of medical issues, or if you are disabled by pain, fatigue, or mental illness, having a disability advocate will be helpful because he or she will know which of your medical findings and symptoms are signs of disability and will emphasize those in your claim. If your claim is denied, an attorney may help you request reconsideration with the agency.
Hearings Before an Administrative Law Judge
If your request for reconsideration is denied, you may request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. The judge will focus on whether you are able to present objective medical evidence to support your claim. At this point we strongly recommend you hire an attorney.
A lawyer can collect, evaluate and submit relevant medical evidence, secure affidavits, draft a detailed and legally-sound brief to the Administrative Law Judge, arrange witnesses, explain the protocol for hearings, and prepare you for the judge’s questions at the hearing.
During the hearing, the judge may also ask for testimony from a Vocational Expert, a consultant hired by the Social Security Administration to testify on your ability to work despite your impairments. If the Vocational Expert testifies you are able to work, your claim will likely be denied. An experienced disability advocate can cross-examine the Vocational Expert and elicit testimony to affirm your inability to work because of your disability.
If you are in need of a disability advocate to help you through the intricate Social Security Disability claims process, call Greenman, Goldberg, Raby & Martinez at (702) 388-4476 to schedule you free consultation today.