Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Louisiana
Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Louisiana tend to have a higher rate of approval, a need for fewer appeals, and more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the disability is proven to have begun) that lead to higher back pay benefits.
Representation may be through a disability lawyer or a specialized non-attorney disability representative. Many non-attorney reps are former Social Security Administration Claims Specialists and Disability Examiners with an extended history of working from within the federal system.
A qualified disability representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law, particularly with regard to how claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules. A qualified and competent disability representative or lawyer will also be skilled in the ability to obtain the most relevant case evidence, analyze it correctly, and incorporate it as part of a winning strategy for a claim.
To learn about fees for representation, see: "How do disability lawyers get paid?"
If you are a resident of Louisiana who is considering filing for disability benefits, you will almost certainly wish to consult a qualified attorney specializing in Louisiana state disability law at some point. This is because, while it is no easy task to win disability cases in any state, those filing in Louisiana are even less likely to be awarded disability benefits than applicants living in other states.
Only 31% of all social security disability insurance (SSDI) or supplemental security income (SSI) cases filed in Louisiana win benefits each year, and only about 33% of all appeals (also called requests for reconsideration or review) to the Louisiana department of disability determination services are successful, which means that many, many Louisiana applicants are denied benefits.
Because the odds of winning disability benefits in Louisiana are so unfavorable, you should definitely consult an attorney or non-attorney rep (non-attorney reps are usually individuals who have worked for DDS or the social security administration in the past, and have a great deal of experience in this area) as soon as you feel you need help. A qualified disability attorney can help you gather your medical records, file all of your documents for you on time (this is especially important if you file an appeal with DDS—if you miss their deadline, your appeal is automatically denied).
If you feel confident filing a disability claim with DDS, and would rather forgo legal counsel at the outset of your case, you are not alone. The majority of individuals filing for disability in Louisiana do not retain a lawyer unless their disability application and appeal have failed, and they are facing their second appeal.
If your claim for disability benefits is denied, and your reconsideration appeal fails as well, you should definitely get a disability lawyer before your second appeal, which will take place at a hearing before a federal administrative law judge (ALJ).
Statistics indicate that judges are significantly (up to 50 percent) more likely to award benefits to those who are represented by a disability lawyer than those who choose to represent themselves. There is little doubt that at this level of consideration a lawyer can make the difference between a loss and a win, and would be well worth the cost to retain his or her services.
Also, keep in mind that it can take up to a year to get a case heard before an ALJ due to backlogs in the system (the number of people filing for disability benefits has greatly increased over the past few years). Given the long wait to be heard and the unfavorable environment for disability cases in Louisiana, it is strongly recommended that applicants take no chances and retain legal counsel before this last chance to appeal their case.
Note: The request for reconsideration appeal step is currently suspended in the state of Louisiana as Louisiana is one of 10 prototype states testing a system in which denied claims move immediately to the hearing level upon appeal. Reconsideration may be reinstated at some point and many consider this likely. In the meantime, a claimant who is denied on a disability application should request, and prepare, for a hearing before a federal administrative law judge.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria