Should I Hire A Social Security Disability Attorney to Help Win My Case?
Why do I need an attorney during the disability benefits application filing process?
A Social Security Disability Attorney is familiar with the application process. This is beneficial because all paperwork needs to be filled out properly and on time. This is crucial because the Social Security Administration(SSA) will deny your disability claim for a technical error or a missed filing deadline.
Besides the technical aspects of my disability benefits application, why else do I need an attorney?
An attorney familiar with the process and the law can relieve you of stress. The attorney who specializes in Social Security law will know what it takes to win your case. The attorney can look through your medical evidence (medical records) and determine weaknesses in your case. The attorney can advise you on how to minimize these weaknesses. The attorney can also tell you what steps to take in order to strengthen your case. Simply following the SSA instructions on the application will not give you the understanding and strategy an attorney can provide.
Why is it better to have an attorney representing me at my disability benefits hearing in front of the administrative law judge?
More disability benefits cases are won when there is a lawyer representing the disabled individual. The attorney role is very important at the hearing level:
- Before the hearing your attorney will review your file at the SSA office, and submit any medical evidence that is missing. (This is important because the judge cannot consider any missing evidence when making a decision.)
- During the hearing your attorney will present an opening and closing statement to the judge that will contain the strongest points of your case.
- If the judge requests that your attorney question you about your disability at the hearing, your attorney can let you know ahead of time what questions he/she will ask. If the judge wants to question you, your attorney can let you know ahead of time what sort of questions will be asked.
- If there is a Medical Expert or Vocational Expert testifying at your hearing, your attorney can cross-examine and discredit their testimony if what he/she says goes against your being awarded benefits.
How can I afford an attorney when I’m not working?
Your Social Security disability attorney should not charge you any up front fees. Your attorney’s fees have to be approved by the Social Security Administration. Your attorney gets paid only when you are found disabled by the Social Security Administration and found entitled to retroactive benefits. Your attorney is paid directly from the Social Security Administration when your retroactive benefits check is cut.
How much do I have to pay my attorney?
As the law is written your attorney is entitled to 25% of your retroactive benefits not to exceed $6000. If your retroactive benefits check is $15,000, 25% of that amount is $3,750. This is the amount the Social Security Administration will take out of your check and mail to your attorney. Your retroactive benefits check is written for $11,250 ($15,000- $3,750.) The only other costs you are responsible for are “out of pocket” expenses incurred by your attorney as he/she prepared your case. An example of this expense is the money the attorney paid for obtaining your medical records. “Out of pocket” expenses should be minimal and are usually collected after you receive your award from the Social Security Administration.
Due to the complexity of the Social Security Disability application process, it is recommended to hire an attorney early on in the process. It is important to seek out an attorney that specializes in this type of law. To see if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, click here.