When you are struggling with a disability that interferes with your quality of life and your ability to work, it can be nothing short of overwhelming. You have these stressors to contend with, and you also have the complex Social Security Disability process to navigate. You have also likely heard that most SSD applications are denied initially. Does this mean you should give up? No! It does mean that you may want to find a lawyer who can help (like the lawyers that help with disability claims at LaBovick Law Group).
Do You Really Need an Attorney When Applying for SSD?
You may not need a lawyer when you apply for Social Security Disability. If you have a condition that is listed in the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments (also called the “Blue Book”) and can provide sufficient evidence, for example, you may be approved on the first try. In fact, if your condition is deemed severe enough, your application is fast-tracked (this is called Compassionate Allowance).
The reality for most applicants, though, is that their request for benefits will be denied initially. This does not mean you are not disabled or that you do not meet the criteria. It may mean that you need to provide more complete information and evidence to the SSA. Your case may be complex or you may meet eligibility criteria under different disability classifications in the Blue Book.
Lawyers That Help with Disability Claims
Some lawyers do not take on Social Security Disability cases until the applicant has been denied. However, consulting lawyers that help with disability claims at the outset can be invaluable: they can advise and assist you in obtaining appropriate medical evidence to prove that you have a disability and in submitting your application in such a way that it increases your chances of getting a favorable decision.
If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, your legal representative can help you with the appeals process. Here, you have the opportunity to submit more evidence, to undergo physical exams, and include witness testimony. This can be incredibly helpful.
Without an attorney, it can be very difficult to navigate the steps of the appeals process, gather compelling evidence, and meet deadlines. Lawyers that help with disability claims can help you with the following aspects:
1. Request for Reconsideration. This can be complex. Were you denied for a medical reason? A non-medical reason? There are different forms to file based on the SSA’s initial decision. They will send you a letter explaining the reasoning behind the determination; this informs your next step.
Statistics show that those without legal representation are far less likely to be approved at the reconsideration stage (fewer than 20% of appeals are successful). Having a lawyer that helps with disability claims can be the difference between receiving essential benefits and struggling without.
2. Social Security Disability Hearing. The next step is a hearing with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). You will need to appear before an Administrative Law Judge. This hearing is a pivotal point in the process: nearly 66% of appeals are successful, and the odds are even better if you have legal representation.
The appeals process can be lengthy; to avoid “resetting the clock,” consult with a lawyer who can help with disability claims. No attorney can guarantee you will receive benefits (beware of those who make such promises). But representation has been proven to significantly improve the chances of a successful application or appeal.
Dealing with a life-altering disability is difficult enough; having to handle the Social Security Disability application process is one burden you need not carry on your own. At LaBovick Law Group, you’ll find a lawyer willing to help carry the burden. We will leverage our expertise and experience to ensure you receive the benefits you need — the benefits to which you are entitled.