Most individuals have the common misconception that applying for Social Security Disability benefits is easy and headache free. Many believe that by filling out a bunch of forms, their checks will start arriving a couple months after. Unfortunately nothing can be further from the truth as the process is extremely complicated and may take years.
Statistically, about 65% of individuals who apply for disability benefits will be denied within a few months. Once you have been denied in the initial phases, next you are required to appear before aAdministrative Law Judge to argue your case.
To increase their chances of winning, whether in filing a new claim or appealing a denied one, more and more individuals choose to hire a Social Security Disability attorney / advocate, who knows the rules and regulations, instead of going at it on their own.
Would you ever consider, without an attorney, going up against an insurance company and their lawyers if you were suing for personal injuries? How about trying to prove your innocence, without an attorney, when you have been charged with a crime? Your answer to both of these questions is likely no. So why would you want to take on the Social Security Administration, a Federal Agency, on your own when your livelihood is at stake?
Simply stated, many applicants are denied because they do not how to properly and thoroughly prepare a disability case. What's more troubling is that a 2010 report from the Social Security Inspector General found that 78% of applicants have a hard time reading, understanding or properly completing forms. Remember that Social Security does not owe you a duty to advocate your claim; it is your obligation to prove that you are no longer able to work.
Stats have further shown that the odds of winning a disability claim before the Social Security Administration are markedly increased when the individual retains a Social Security Disability attorney / advocate, instead of going at it alone.
Firms that specialize in Social Security Disability, such as ours, generally have a high level of familiarity and expertise with the Social Security rules and regulations. In many instances, they will have invaluable SSDI and SSI claim experience including knowing what Social Security will be looking for, which questions to ask, and how to strategically argue your case. Another words, the level of skill needed to win is far more than the Social Security Disability basics often found on the Social Security Administration's website.
Because such firms get paid on contingency (only if you win), they spend a lot of time and resources to ensure that a client's case will have the best chance of succeeding. This includes tracking down important medical records and test results, obtaining detailed statements from a claimant's treating physicians, applying a thorough understanding of SSA rules and regulations as well as considering priorcases which may apply to the client's matter.
So, can a claimant who is not represented still win his or her claim? Yes, and, in fact, this does occasionally happen. However, the odds of winning a disability claim are markedly decreased when a claimant does not hire an experienced Social Security Disability attorney / advocate.
Should you decide to hire professional representation, please take into consider the following:
First, as the famous saying goes “Jack of all trades, master of none”, be cautious of local law firms who handle all types of cases, including Social Security Disability. This is usually a red flag that the firm is not really specialized in your type of claim as opposed to a firm, such as ours, who only handles Social Security disability cases.
Secondly, beware of “national law firms” who advertise heavily on your local television or radio. With these firms, you are nothing but a number as you may find your case being handed from person to person and getting someone to call you near impossible. These firms are notorious for the high turnover of employees, thus don't be surprised if at the day of your hearing, your attorney is not familiar with your case.
We hope that this page has clarified some of your concerns regarding hiring professional representation.
If you are thinking about filing a Social Security Disability, wish to appeal a denied claim, or have more questions, feel free to consult with one of our experienced associates and we will be more than happy to answer your common disability questions. Our firm has decades of combined experience in representing clients before the Social Security Administration. Representing countless number of cases has allowed our firm to understand what is required to ultimately win. Remember, disability cases are all that we do and we don't get paid until you win. Go ahead, give us a call or fill out the form for your free consultation. Let us help you get the benefits you deserve.