Is there a point in the SSDI claims process where you definitely don’t want to go it alone?
If you are applying for Social Security Disability you may be wondering at what point should you hire a lawyer. The process can be long, confusing and intimidating, when should you get experienced help?
You can hire an attorney at any point in the process.
Most people choose to fill out their initial application themselves, but having an attorney help may get you approved right away in order to avoid the appeal altogether. An attorney can help insure the application is complete and all relevant information is presented- evidence that shows your condition prevents you from working. If you hire an attorney at this point, the Social Security Administration does not recognize your attorney as an “official representative” and the rules relating to how they can bill (discussed later) do not apply.
Some people choose to hire an attorney after applying for benefits while they are waiting to hear a decision.
This is generally not recommended. While it may be helpful and comforting to have an attorney available to explain the application processes to you, there is not much actual work they can do until the claim has been determined. An attorney may claim they can expedite your claim, but the Social Security Administration will not process your claim any faster just because you have hired a lawyer. It does not make sense to spend the money on an attorney until you have reached a stage in the process where they can actually provide useful service.
Most commonly, applicants will hire an attorney if their claim has been denied.
This is where an attorney will be the most helpful. An attorney will be able to identify any issues with your application and work with you to fix them. Through the appeals process, an attorney will make sure you are presenting your claim with the most available reliable evidence. This means gathering complete and coherent medical records that with a common narrative- that your condition prevents you from working. This means putting together a work history that demonstrates the applicant paid into the system and is now entitled to benefits. The volume and complexity of paperwork involved in the appeals process can be overwhelming. An attorney will have experience in handling these issues and having one on your side can alleviate the stress of facing the Social Security Administration alone.
Applicants also frequently hire professional representation if they are called to hearing.
Hearings generally require a physical appearance and can be extremely stressful for those with disabilities. You will be asked sensitive and personal questions about your medical condition. Commonly, applicants will be asked about their ability to sit and stand. The judge will likely ask you questions about your ability to accomplish common household tasks in order to get an idea of your physical abilities- can you carry in groceries, perform yard work, etc… How you answer these questions is important to your claim. For example, an applicant may be able to carry groceries in from their car but that does not mean they can work in a warehouse carrying boxes eight hours a day, five days a week. A lawyer knows how to answer questions in a way that will present your claim in the best possible light.
The team of disability lawyers at Bemis, Roach & Reed knows how crucial disability benefits can be for maintaining financial stability. Our attorneys are assisting clients with their disability cases in cities all across Texas, including Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Galveston, and Corpus Christi. If you are seeking disability benefits because of a sleep apnea diagnosis, contact our attorneys today at no cost to you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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