If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that is hindering your ability to work, you may be considering a Social Security Disability application. You may have already taken the steps necessary to get the ball rolling. Regardless of where you are in the process, enlisting the help of an experienced Social Security Attorney is always a good idea.
The majority of disability claims are initially denied often due to the applicant’s inability to provide sufficient medical evidence. Additionally, there are specific deadlines that must be met throughout the application process. If your claim is denied you only have 60 days to file the appropriate paperwork for an appeal. Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is not very forgiving if you miss an important deadline. Additionally, if you are denied, and you decide to request a disability hearing, you may face wait times of up to two years for a hearing date. As you can see, there is so much that goes into successfully winning a claim.
Without medical proof, it is virtually impossible to be awarded benefits. This especially applies when mental health issues prevent you from working. Certainly, there are advantages to working with a disability lawyer early on in the process. If you speak to a lawyer early, they can help you decide what medical evidence you need to meet a condition in the listing which automatically results in a disability award. They may be able to work with your doctor, on your behalf, to obtain additional medical testing or documentation. Meeting a listing is the easiest way to earn financial benefits. However, the listing applies to only extremely debilitating conditions.
What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Disability Lawyer?
Anyone who has been through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) process will tell you that it is complicated and time-consuming. There are many nuances that are difficult to understand. An experienced attorney will serve as your advocate. Bound by professional rules and ethical obligations, your lawyer will handle your case carefully.
Working with the Social Security Administration can be like speaking another language. While it might be challenging for you to understand the process, your disability lawyer knows it very well. They can help communicate on your behalf, acting as your “translator”. Disability lawyers understand how to present your case to give you the best chances of winning your claim. The key component to any SSDI or SSI case is providing adequate medical evidence. In addition to helping you understand what medical information is needed, your attorney can assist you in collecting and presenting the relevant medical documentation.
What if You Have Been Denied?
If you have been denied, it is crucial to consider legal representation immediately. There are time sensitive deadlines for appeals that must be met. The stages are: Initial Application; Reconsideration; Hearing Before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ); Appeals Council Review; and suit in United States District Court. Evidence collection is done throughout the process before the ALJ Hearing. The attorney is most crucial to represent you at this hearing. Evidence submitted after five business days before the hearing is generally not allowed.
If your case needs go to disability hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, your lawyer will prepare you for that hearing and let you know what to expect. They will identify and prepare you and appropriate witnesses on your behalf. The penalty for not providing your written evidence in time is that it is barred. You might have to start the whole process over! While hiring an attorney is always optional, it has been shown to increase your chance for approval. Lawyers know the rules.
Regardless of where you are in the Social Security application process, it’s never too late to consider obtaining legal assistance with your SSDI or SSI claim. Contact a lawyer. Experience matters.
James T. Reilly has been practicing law since 1979. He is an experienced trial lawyer with over fifty jury cases tried to verdict. He concentrates his practice in both civil and criminal litigation. He has an extensive Social Security Disability practice obtaining permanent disability awards for hundreds of clients. Reilly is a graduate of Loyola School of Law in Chicago. He received his undergraduate degree with double majors in Economics and Finance from the University of Illinois. The Law Offices of Reilly & Skerston, LLC handles matters throughout North Central Illinois. Appointments are available in Streator, Ottawa, and LaSalle.