The Social Security Administration approves approximately 45% of all claims filed with this administration with a denial rate of 43% and dismissal rate of 21%. In South Florida, disability claims are approved at 43%, just below the national average. We are currently in an era where unemployment is high which means the number of disability claims filed is ever increasing. With an increasing number of people filing for benefits comes an increase in not only disability companies but also attorneys. It is always advisable to obtain representation when applying for disability benefits. With the statistics mentioned above, you can see obtaining disability benefits is a hard feat. So it is a no-brainer that you should obtain representation. The difficult part is choosing who to represent you. The way I see it is you have three options. First, you can choose an experienced social security disability attorney. Second, you could hire a new attorney that wants to jump on the disability bandwagon. Or third, you could hire a national disability company where you are referenced as a number and not by name.
Let’s first discuss the pros and cons of hiring a national disability company. National companies treat SSD as a numbers game, meaning the more clients they represent the more money they will receive. What these companies…or mills as I fondly refer to them…forget about the individual. They forget the people they are representing are hurting, not only financially but physically or mentally. The people who are applying for SSD benefits are those who are in a tough situation, unable to work because of a physical or mental condition. This is not a game for them. This is real life. And receiving SSD benefits could mean the difference between having power this month or even receiving the necessary medical treatment to save their life.
In general, these national disability companies do a disservice not only to the people they represent but the Social Security Disability program as a whole. Here are just three reasons these national companies hurt the individual and the program:
- First, national disability companies do not screen their clients. They help anyone and everyone apply for social security disability benefits, no matter if the person qualifies for the program or not. SSD is a numbers game for these companies. They assume since the national average of hearing approvals is 45% half of their clients will win at hearing. This approach is the exact opposite of reality. Every case is different and should be treated differently. Do you want your case to be treated as a 50-50 statistic?
- Second, these companies do not properly prepare a case for hearing. Too many times these national companies show up to hearings without requesting medical records for the client. Sometimes it is an oversight on the staff’s part, and sometimes it’s because they refuse to pay for the records, requiring the client to front the money for the medical records. The main basis of an SSD application is based upon the strength of your medical records. The Judge uses medical records to determine your limitations and whether you meet the requirements for SSD. Without medical records, the Judge is left without any guidance regarding your case and will have no choice but to deny your claim for lack of evidence. After two years of waiting it is a shame to throw that time away just because your representative failed to request the necessary evidence. Furthermore, it is not unusual to meet your representative for the first time on the day of the hearing. How is it your representative knows everything about you and the exact things to argue when they have never met you?
- Third, you are a number. You are not seen as an individual. Every case is different. Every individual has different circumstances that affect their SSD application. National companies do not spend the time to get to know their clients which means they aren’t fully informed and prepared to fight for your SSD benefits at the hearing. Clients are seen as a number and statistic.
Your second option is to hire an attorney that is new to the disability realm and may not have experience litigating these types of claims. Disability law is not easy. The Social Security Administration does not make applying for benefits a simple process. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If you do not have experience litigating these types of claims it is easy to get lost in the vast amounts of paperwork the administration will send. It is also easy to miss deadlines and to report incorrect information. If you do not understand the regulations, you could potentially lose your client’s case by just giving a wrong description of a job to the administration. As mentioned above, applying for disability benefits is a serious consideration for individuals. It means they are not working and are in an extremely tight financial situation. I would not advise hiring an attorney without experience as you are gambling with not only your finances but your life.
The third and best option is to hire an experienced social security disability attorney. As a potential client, you should never be shy about asking an attorney what their experience is. Another great question to ask is what their approval rate is. Any knowledgeable attorney will be happy to share both pieces of information with you.
At LaBovick Law Group our approval rates are much higher than the national average of 45%. We take every single case seriously. Our approval rates are historically between 75-80%. This is because we spend time with our clients. We provide a personalized service, making sure to fight hard for every single individual we represent. If we don’t believe you qualify for the program we will tell you our thoughts upfront and get you the help you need, whether it’s through the SSD program or from somewhere else. We believe in providing an honest assessment of your situation so you know what to expect from the process.