Social Security Disability Lawyers
Do I need a social security disability lawyer?
You have the right to have a lawyer represent you in your Social Security case. Although lawyer representation may not be absolutely essential in all cases, statistics have shown that people represented by lawyer have been successful more often than people without lawyer representation. Whether you hire a lawyer is entirely up to you; but you should seriously consider the advantages by examining what a LegalGenius lawyer specializing in Social Security Disability Law would do in your Social Security case.
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Definition of Social Security Disability
To receive benefits under the Social Security Disability or SSI program, you must have physical or mental health problems (or a combination of problems) severe enough to keep you from working in any regular, paying job for at least 12 months. The test isn’t whether or not you are able to go back to your old job or whether you have been able to find a job lately. Rather, the test is whether you are capable of doing jobs available in the national economy. By using an extensive set of regulations the Social Security Administration will take into account your medical conditions, your age, your abilities, training and work experience in deciding your case.
What do I do if I’ve been denied social security disability benefits?
Many disabled people become disheartened after they receive a Social Security Notice of Disapproved Claim and do not pursue their applications. This is often a mistake. Nationally, about two-thirds of all applications are denied benefits initially. But many of these people ultimately receive benefits.
What is a social security disability hearing?
The Hearing is the crucial step in the appeal process where you will have the best chance of winning. Slightly more that half of all Hearings result in the claimant receiving benefits.
A Hearing is conducted by the Office of Hearing and Appeals of the Social Security Administration. This is not the same agency which denied your initial Application. Although an Administrative Law Judge will preside and testimony is taken under oath, the Hearing is generally informal. Strict rules of evidence do not apply.
The Hearing is private. The only people present will be the Judge, Judge’s assistant, you, your attorney if you have one, and any witness you may want to present. Occasionally the Judge may ask a “vocational expert” and/or a “medical advisor” to testify about your ability to work.
Medical records will be accepted as evidence. The Judge or your attorney will ask you about your present medical condition, medical history, abilities, education, training, work experience and limitations in your daily life caused by your disability. You or your attorney may make a closing argument that you are entitled to benefits under Social Security Regulations.
When should I contact a social security disability lawyer?
The sooner the better. Lawyer’s practices differ about whether or not they will formally represent you before the time that you get a Denial Notice. Some do, while some prefer to wait until you have received the Denial. So, it’s very important that you arrange for lawyer representation early enough to allow time for hearing preparation. It might be best to start looking for a lawyer as soon as your application for benefits is denied.
Lawyers in social security disability cases do much more than sit in at the hearing and ask a few questions. Much pre-hearing preparation, analysis and evidence-gathering go into adequate representation in a Social Security case. For this reason you should not wait until a week or two before your hearing, to better your chances of winning.
In cases involving the termination of benefits for current recipients, a different sort of “hearing” is conducted at the Reconsideration Stage. It is important to have representation at hearings, if you are going to have a Reconsideration “hearing.” You should contact an attorney as soon as you receive your Termination Notice.
What if I’ve already lost a social security disability hearing?
If you are still within 60 days of the date of receipt of a hearing decision denying benefits or even a denial decision from the Social Security Disability Appeals Council, it may not be too late. You should contact an attorney immediately. It’s best to have good representation at your hearing, but sometimes an experienced attorney can still find a way to win your case at the Appeals Council or in Federal Court.
What information will my social security disability lawyer need?
When you go to the first meeting with your lawyer, be sure to take along all your Social Security papers – Denial Notices, decisions, appeals, forms, etc. If you have medical records in your possession, take them too. It would also be helpful to take to your lawyer the following information: the name and addresses of all doctors you have seen for your medical problems; the dates and number of times you have seen the doctors; the name and address of all hospitals where you have been treated as an inpatient or outpatient and the dates; the names and addresses of your employers during the last 15 years; dates or your job duties; and the name of each medication you are presently taking, the dosage and the name of the prescribing doctor.
How much does it cost to hire a social security disability lawyer?
Most lawyers who do Social Security Disability cases will accept them on a contingent fee basis of 25% of past-due benefits. That is, there is no fee if you lose although you will be obligated to pay any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the lawyer representing you. Such expenses usually involve charges for copying medical records and payments to doctors for medical reports.
In Social Security Disability cases, the Social Security Administration will withhold 25% of past-due benefits for payment of authorized attorneys’ fees. Your regular monthly benefits will not be affected. In SSI cases, it is your responsibility to see that your attorney is paid from the lump sum check you receive.
Social Security Regulations require that attorney fees be approved by the Social Security Administration prior to payment.
Make LegalGenius Your Social Security Disability Lawyer
Do I have a case?
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