When is the Right Time to Hire a Disability Attorney?
Learning that your disability will stop you from working can be upsetting. Whether you have been injured in an accident, a long-term medical condition has worsened, or you have received a new diagnosis, you will likely need some time to come to terms with your new situation.
However, it’s important not to wait too long before applying for disability benefits. It can take time for your approval to come through, and the benefits can help support you and your family during this difficult time.
The process for applying for disability benefits can be complicated, and many applications are denied the first time around. The best time to hire a social security disability lawyer is when you begin preparing your documents for your first application process.
Why Should You Hire a Disability Attorney?
In 2016, just over 25 percent of claims were approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA). A denial slows down the claims process and may involve a hearing before an administrative law judge and more medical records.
Although there is no guarantee that hiring a disability attorney will ensure your claim goes through the first time, they can significantly improve your chances of receiving benefits earlier.
A disability attorney can ensure you are applying for the correct type of disability benefits. Many claims are denied on a technicality, meaning that the applicant forgot to include the necessary medical documentation or applied for the incorrect type of benefits. Your lawyer will ensure that you submit a complete application, lessening the likelihood of a denial.
A lawyer will also respond to all SSA correspondence on your behalf. Often, those who require disability benefits suffer from decreased energy. It can be challenging to reply to emails and phone calls on time if you’re also dealing with pain, mobility issues, and having to attend multiple doctor appointments. Failing to respond on time to an important message could derail your application and mean you need to re-apply. A lawyer can help you avoid that possibility.
In addition to improving your chances of approval, a lawyer also handles all the administrative work for you, allowing you to focus on resting and learning to live with your disability.
What if my Claim is Denied
If your claim is denied, you should hire legal representation to help you with the appeals process. You have 60 days from the date of denial to submit your appeal in writing, so it’s best to find a law firm as soon as possible after receiving your rejection.
There are four appeal levels, and hiring an attorney can ensure you know what to expect and are fully prepared for each one.
The first stage of appeals is reconsideration. For this stage, you won’t need to submit any new material. Instead, someone new will review your original application and determine if the first decision was incorrect.
Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
If you do not receive approval in the first stage, you’ll move onto the second. In this stage, you’ll have to appear in a hearing. You’ll benefit from having a legal representative during this disability hearing.
The judge may ask you to provide more medical evidence to support your disability claims. These could include statements from your doctor about your ability to work, prescriptions, and proof of a diagnosis. During the hearing, your lawyer and the judge will question medical experts about the validity of your illness or disability.
A lawyer experienced in disability law can help win your case during this hearing. Their experience cross-examining witnesses can help when questioning the medical experts, and they can ensure you provide all the required documentation.
Appeals Council Review
If the administrative law judge denies your claim, you can ask the Appeals Council to review your case. The Appeals Council will look over the decision from the hearing and will either agree with the decision or choose to reconsider your case. However, they will not ask you for more documentation or information.
Filing a lawsuit in a federal district court is your last resource. Work with your lawyer to formulate a lawsuit that shows why you believe you should receive disability benefits. You may try to show discrimination or need to prove that your disability prevents you from working.
Choosing a Lawyer
When looking for a lawyer to help with your disability benefits application, you’ll want to find a law firm with extensive experience dealing with the SSA. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we have a long history of helping clients win their cases and overturn denials.
Contact Our Law Firm to Arrange a Free Consultation
If you cannot work and need to apply for disability benefits, let us help you with your application process. Call us at (866) 642-4529 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about applying for disability benefits with the SSA.