Should I Retain An Attorney To Help Me Get Approved for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income?Updated May 29, 2018 Social Security Disability
There are many compelling reasons why it might make sense for you to hire an attorney to assist you with your disability claim.
Let’s start with the obvious one first. This is an important process and there is a lot at stake for you and your family’s financial well being. And when you are challenged financially, it spills over and affects all the other parts of your life. Think of it in these terms. When you need your car repaired, you hire a mechanic. When you need your drains unclogged or a leaky pipe fixed, you hire a plumber. You need to think much along the same lines when you are submitting a disability application. You are attempting to fix your financial house, and it only makes sense to hire a professional who knows what they’re doing to assist you.
It’s not surprising that when you retain an attorney, the chances for getting approved rise dramatically as borne out by statistics.
From an emotional standpoint, when you hire an attorney, you also relieve yourself of much of the stress and emotional burden that you are sure to feel while going through the process. If you are seriously disabled (and there is a good chance that you are if you’re considering filing), then the last thing you need to do is undertake activities that could threaten your fragile health situation and perhaps make it worse than it already is. An attorney will take of the day-to-day responsibilities of keeping up an open dialog with Social Security, providing them with updates and much needed information to fortify your request for benefits.
Of course, you’re probably concerned about how much hiring an attorney will cost you. Here’s the good news. The fees for representing someone going through a disability application process are regulated by Social Security and by Congress. The attorneys do not get to decide how much they want to charge. They are capped at 25% of a beneficiary’s back pay for any case they win. And, the maximum dollar amount is currently set at $6,000. If your case is won, Social Security will most likely automatically deduct the fee that is owed to your attorney out of the back pay that you are owed.
It gets even better, because the fee to represent an applicant is only paid if and when a case is won. There are a few other fees that an attorney can charge you for, such as various incidentals, but in the overall scheme of things, these are relatively minor. Before you sign an agreement with an attorney, you need to make sure of exactly what you may be charged for by reading the fee agreement.
Aside from these general benefits, an attorney can assist you in many specific ways. As someone who is going to be thoroughly familiar with the application process and how Social Security works, an attorney will be able to keep both of you focused on the most important tasks at hand. For the most part, this involves gathering records, retaining medical experts to strengthen your case, and perhaps most important of all, meeting all deadlines. When you miss a deadline at any point along the way, it can set you back months, and in some cases, years in your quest for benefits.
Attorneys are especially valuable if your case must be appealed. During the Reconsideration process, they will know and understand why your initial claim fell short, and how you will be able to address those shortcomings when you resubmit additional supporting information.
When you have a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, your attorney will have made several arguments in front of these types of judges and under these types of circumstances before. They will be able to use their experience and their expertise to provide laser focus to your case and its issues. This is probably when an attorney will be the most effective on your behalf, and is a big reason why many people gain approval at this level of the appeals process. In addition, because judges will often ask questions directly of the applicant, an attorney will also provide exceptional value when it comes to helping to prep through a mock question and answer process. In cases where a judge may call upon a medical expert or vocational job expert to provide testimony, you will definitely want an experienced attorney to handle the testimony and ask pointed questions in your favor.