Thursday, August 25, 2016

Social Security Disability Application Denied! Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?

Whether or not you hire an attorney for your appeal is entirely up to you. While you can go it alone, statistics show that people who are represented by attorneys have been more successful and are awarded benefits more often than those who represent themselves. Before you make this very important decision, take the time to consider how an attorney might benefit you.
Medical Background - a lawyer with a medical background will prove to be an invaluable resource for you in your quest for Social Security disability benefits. If you are like most people, you may find that trying to read a medical record is like trying to read a foreign language. If you hire an attorney with medical experience, she will be able to explain your records to you and help you understand their relationship to your disability claim.
Litigation Experience- a lawyer with litigation experience will properly prepare you to testify at your hearing, make oral arguments on your behalf at the hearing and cross-examine any adverse witnesses offering testimony. Also, the right lawyer will protect your right to a fair hearing by objecting to improper evidence and procedures.
Gathering Medical Evidence- a lawyer will take care of ordering and reviewing all your medical records and gathering other important evidence.
Communication with Treating Doctors- a lawyer will contact your doctors to obtain reports on your behalf that are consistent with SSA regulations.
Referral to Additional Doctors or Specialists - a lawyer will have the appropriate knowledge and contacts to refer you to additional physicians if necessary for your treatment.
Communication with the Social Security Administration- a lawyer will handle all communication with the SSA regarding your claim including obtaining documents from your file, requesting that a prior application for benefits be reopened, seeking time limit waivers, requests for vocational expert examinations, requests for consultative examinations, etc.
If Necessary, Represent You in a Federal Court Review of Your Case- an attorney can represent you in a federal court review of the case if necessary and agreed upon. An experienced attorney will know how to structure the appeal to give you the best chance of obtaining benefits.
No Attorney Fees Unless Benefits Awarded on Claim- you may think that you can't afford to hire a lawyer to help you with your claim. The good news is that lawyers who handle disability claims work on a contingency basis. This means that you pay the lawyer nothing unless your claim is won. Additionally, the there is a cap on the fee an attorney can charge and all fees must be approved by the SSA.
If you cannot work because of a medical condition and have been denied Social Security disability benefits, you are probably feeling discouraged and exhausted. Now is not the time to give up! Many disability claims are denied originally and then won on appeal. Once you have been denied benefits, you have a limited time request a hearing before an administrative law judge. If you decide to hire an attorney to represent you, the sooner you do it the better. It is very important to arrange for representation as early as possible to give your attorney time to prepare for your hearing.
Whatever route you decide to take, keep your chin up and good luck with your Appeal!

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