Do I Need to Hire an Attorney Before Submitting My Social Security Disability Claim?
Filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits, whether Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), may be one of the most important things that you do if you have a debilitating condition. In fact, you may be counting on disability benefits to help you meet your basics living expenses, and a denied claim can be a major setback that leaves you scrambling to figure out your next move.
As you fill out your Social Security disability application, you may be wondering whether or not you need to retain the counsel of an Alabama Social Security disability lawyer before submitting your claim. Here’s a look into what you should know about the claims process and working with a lawyer:
A Large Percentage of Social Security Disability Claims Are Denied Each Year
In the year 2016, there were 2,385,219 Social Security disability claims filed with the Social Security Administration (SSA), according to public data published by the SSA. Of those millions of claims, 871,707 claims, or just over 36 percent, were denied based on a “technical denial,” and an additional 547,768 claims, or nearly 23 percent, were denied based on a medical denial. This means that over half of all disability benefit claims that were filed in a single year were denied by the SSA.
This is an important statistic to remember. If you don’t have a very compelling case, or do not suffer from a disability that clearly meets the SSA’s definitions, or if you make a single error in the application process, you run the risk of your claim being denied.
How Working with an Attorney Before Submitting Your Claim Can Help
While there is no legal requirement to work with an attorney, doing so can improve your odds of having your disability claim approved. The SSA is extremely stringent in its requirements; an attorney understands the strict rules and regulations that govern Social Security disability claims, as well as what the SSA is looking for. An attorney can provide assistance to you by:
- Explaining the two different types of Social Security benefits programs and which is germane to your case (filing for the wrong benefit type is one of the common errors applicants make);
- Gathering the various medical documentation that you will need to prove that you are disabled and that your disability prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity; and
- Completing and reviewing your disability benefit application on your behalf, ensuring that no question is left unanswered, as well as that your application is free of any errors.
While there is no guarantee that your claim for Social Security disability benefits will be approved if you work with a lawyer, an experienced lawyer is familiar with Social Security disability eligibility requirements and the SSA review process, and will be able to organize and submit your information in a manner that is succinct, accurate, and compelling, thereby vastly increasing your chances of approval.
What if I Don’t Work with a Lawyer?
Choosing to file your claim for disability benefits without legal representation is your right. If you choose this route, hopefully, your claim will be approved. If it is not approved, however, it’s not too late to call an attorney. In fact, if you need to appeal the SSA’s decision regarding your Social Security disability claim, working with a skilled Social Security disability lawyer is strongly recommended. Your attorney will understand why your claim was denied and what information and evidence the SSA needs in order to approve your claim. Your attorney can also help you to prepare for your hearing, one of the most critical steps in the appeals process.
Paying for a Social Security Disability Lawyer
One of the most common reasons that people choose not to work with a lawyer from the onset of the claims process is a worry about being able to afford legal services. However, you should know that Social Security disability lawyers are legally prevented from recovering a fee if your case is unsuccessful. If your case is successful and you are awarded benefits, then in most cases, your lawyer is only entitled to 25% of your past-due disability benefit, or $6,000 (whichever is less), plus expenses.
Call Our Social Security Disability Lawyers for a Free Consultation Today
If you are disabled and are in need of Social Security disability benefits, why run the risk of claim denial by submitting your claim without legal counsel? At The Dansby Law Firm, P.C., our lawyers have over 25 years of experience helping disability claimants like you. For a free consultation with one of our Alabama Social Security disability lawyers, please call us today at 334-539-8787, visit our law office in person, or send us a message telling us more about your situation. We are ready to start working on your case.