In addition, social security law is incredibly complex, which makes an experienced social security disability lawyer a very valuable resource for those seeking disability benefits. But just what do social security lawyers do to help people get approved?
One of the most important ways that social security lawyers help is by speeding up the process. While there’s is no way to “fast track” a case, working with an experienced social security disability lawyer can help applicants avoid pitfalls that would cause major delays for folks who don’t know what to look out for.
First Round Approval
Many people wait until their application is denied and they are considering an appeal to start talking to social security lawyers; when in fact, the best time to do so is before they apply. The reason? simply put, the first round typically takes a few months, whereas the appeals process often takes over a year.
Those who hire a social security lawyer at this early stage get help with:
- Filling out their application correctly and in a way that makes it clear that they “meet a listing” (meet the Social Security Administration’s medical criteria for approval).
- Concisely and accurately proving that the applicant is unable to perform any income-earning work.
- Getting the medical evidence they need to prove the medical claims made in the application are legitimate.
- Getting help from treating physicians in the proper use of very specific medical terminology that the Social Security Administration looks for.
- Qualifying for expedited treatment for applicants suffering from a terminal illness.
First Round Denial
Over half of all initial applications get denied. When that happens, the applicant should immediately begin talking to social security lawyers to find the best fit. Every applicant can – and should – appeal an initial denial. Having a trusted lawyer at their side at this stage can help with several things.
Social security lawyers can help by:
- Requesting an OTR (On the Record) decision (a favorable ruling made by the judge before a disability hearing has occurred).
- Writing a detailed legal brief explaining exactly how your case meets the Social Security Administration’s criteria for benefit approval.
- Getting answers to the SSA’s medical questions from doctors knowledgeable about the applicant’s condition.
- Writing a proposed decision that the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge who looks over cases if a review request gets denied) can simply approve, rather than waiting for the Judge to write the decision himself.
- Helping prove the merits of your case and your Onset Date to an Attorney Adjudicator.
- If an application is not approved on its second time through the system, the applicant can appeal that decision and have the case reviewed by a judge.
The Benefits Hearing
The benefits hearing is where the application for benefits and associated materials are presented to a judge who considers all of it and renders a final decision; and they are as important and formal as they are in any other type of court case.
It’s also the point at which a social security lawyer becomes essential. Like most other legal proceedings, non-attorneys should not try to argue their case in front of a Social Security judge without qualified legal representation.
Social security lawyers:
- Prepare their client to properly answer questions that the judge is likely to ask.
- Help find and prepare witnesses appearing on the appellant’s behalf, which can include doctors, former employers or anybody with pertinent information.
- Attend the hearing with their client to stand with, advise, assist and provide moral and emotional support during what to many is a nerve-racking experience.
Social Security Lawyers Offer the Best Chance of Approval
In the most simple terms, social security lawyers represent the applicant’s best chance that the Social Security Administration doesn’t simply try to run them through the system until they give up, which is how many people applying for disability benefits feel. A disability attorney will make sure everything is on the up-and-up and act as the applicant’s strongest advocate.