In 2018 the average age of a person receiving disability income from Social Security was 54.7 years of age. Of those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 86% were for disability or blindness.
The majority of people who apply for Social Security disability benefits do not receive approval the first time. This may be for a variety of reasons including your income level or not providing sufficient medical evidence.
Whether you are in receipt of denial or filing for the first time, you need to contact a Social Security disability lawyer. Read on to learn why you need to hire an attorney when filing for benefits.
Familiar With Social Security Law
Filing a Social Security disability application can be confusing and time-consuming. When you hire an attorney they will walk you through the process and review all your supplemental documentation to make sure it is complete. This increases your chance of acceptance on the first filing.
Here are some of the steps your attorney will handle:
- Assistance with the preparation of your application
- Review all medical records and other evidence to make sure complete
- Obtain necessary information about your disability benefits and any other issues relative to your application
- Correspond with and negotiate with Social Security on your behalf
- Provide updates on the status of your application
- If you receive a denial, file the necessary appeal in a timely fashion
Your disability lawyer will be familiar with the application process and understand what is necessary to get you the benefits you deserve. They will be able to assess your medical records and determine what area your claim falls into for receiving acceptance.
Your attorney is bound by the ethical standards of confidentiality, is licensed, a member of their State Bar, and holds a degree in law. The attorney has the training necessary to appear before judges and present your case. They have the experience and knowledge to prepare documents, analyze evidence, and prepare for court if necessary.
When you are going to apply for Social Security benefits, it is important to understand the process and gather all information you need. Social Security Disability (SSD) is available to you and specific family members as long as the work requirements are met. You must have worked long enough and recently enough to receive benefits. The application steps include:
- Gather all documents as shown on the Adult Disability Checklist available online
- Complete and submit your disability application
- Social Security will review your application to determine if you meet basic requirements for disability benefits
- Social Security will verify your work hours to make sure you qualify for benefits
- Social Security will review your current work activities, if applicable
- Social Security will process your application and then forward it to the Disability Determination Service office in your state
- Your state office will make a final determination on your eligibility for benefits
If additional information is necessary Social Security will contact you to supply that information. Once a decision is made you will receive the determination in the mail.
When You Receive a Denial
When you receive a denial of your request for disability benefits, you have 60 days in which to file an appeal. The first thing you need to do after receiving a denial is to schedule a consultation with a lawyer for social security. They will review your previous filings, the reasons for the denial, and know the changes to make in filing an appeal.
There are four levels of appeal:
- Administrative law judge hearing
- Social Security Appeals Council Review
- Federal Court review
Filing the appeal in a timely fashion is important. If you fail to meet the 60 day appeal time you will need to begin your entire application process again. The appeal shortens the amount of time you will wait for another determination.
Reconsideration is the appeal of the original decision. The request for reconsideration must be made in writing or by completing Form SSA 561 or Form SSA-789.
The request must be made within 60 days of the date you receive the original determination. Social Security considers you to have received notice five days following the date on the notice. The determination on the reconsideration request will be sent to you and your attorney by mail.
An administrative hearing is the appeal made if you do not agree with the results of the reconsideration hearing. The request must be made in writing or by using Form HA-501. The hearing will be held before an Administrative Law Judge.
The rules for filing your request and the assumption on the date you receive your determination are the same as above It is possible that the ALJ will require you to have additional medical tests or exams. They may also have additional medical and vocational experts testify at the hearing.
An Administrative Law Judge Hearing is a legal process with its own set of rules on submission of evidence, objections, pre-hearing written statements, witness subpoenas, and more. If you are not familiar with this area of the law you will want to hire a lawyer familiar with the Social Security administrative hearing process.
If you are not in agreement with the ALJ decision you may file a written request for an Appeals Council review. This request may also be made on Form HA-520. The same 60-day rules apply for filing your request.
The Appeals Council will review the case and decide whether to grant, deny, or dismiss your request. If your request for review is granted, the council will either decide your case or return it to the ALJ for additional action. This may be a new hearing or a new decision.
Whatever the determination is the Appeal Council will send a copy of their action to you and your attorney.
If you do not agree with the Appeals Court decision, you may file a civil lawsuit with the U.S. District Court. This follows the same 60-day filing requirement of all prior actions.
The District Court will review the evidence and decisions made. It will then take action by sending the case back to the Agency, the ALJ may be ordered to conduct a new hearing or they may instruct the agency to award benefits or dismiss your case.
Attorney Fees for Social Security Disability
Social Security disability attorneys work on a contingency fee. This means that you do not pay any attorney fees unless they win your case. If your case reaches a settlement or you win at trial, your attorney will collect a percentage of your past-due benefits for their services.
Social Security has a cap on the amount of attorney fees your lawyer may receive. The cap is no more than 25% of the award, with a maximum fee of $6,000. This fee plan and cap makes it affordable to hire a lawyer for social security.
The Importance of a Social Security Disability Lawyer
The procedures for filing and appealing are time-consuming and difficult. To avoid missing important support documentation or a deadline, it is important to hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer.
The Sweet Law Group offers a 100% free consultation and no attorney fees unless you win. With 40 years of experience and a 98% success rate, the Sweet Law Group will work to get you the disability income you deserve.
Call 800-674-7854 today to schedule your free confidential consultation.