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 Michigan
Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Michigan 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?"
At what point in the process should a social security disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI) applicant in Michigan consult an attorney? Does anyone really need the services of a disability lawyer, and if so, when is the best time to get one involved? The answer to these questions really depends upon the circumstances surrounding each claim, as well as the individual involved.
For instance, some claims are so straightforward they will most likely be immediately approved for benefits by a disability examiner. Individuals have been diagnosed with severe loss of vision, paralysis, debilitating seizure disorders, etc., or those with symptoms that clearly fit a condition listed in the social security administration impairment manual (called the blue book), are likely be approved for benefits fairly quickly and in such cases there may be no need for legal counsel.
However, the majority of disability claimants do not fit neatly into criteria listed in the blue book, and must rely on medical records to convince a disability examiner that they are too disabled to earn a living. For some individuals, the task of gathering all the medical records and work history information to present to the examiner may prove too great, especially when they are already coping with symptoms associated with their condition. They may not be in a place, physically or mentally, in which they are able to stay on top of things.
These individuals should consider retaining a disability lawyer as soon as possible. In Michigan, as soon as the social security administration is informed that a claimant has legal representation in a disability matter, they are required to keep the legal representative informed of the status of the case.
This takes a lot of the weight off the shoulders of the claimant, because their legal representative will deal directly with social security disability services and ensure that everything is in order, as well as file an appeal well within the 60-day deadline should the initial claim be denied (itís important not to miss this deadline, because if you do, you have to start all over again with a new claim).
Some claimants find that they are able to provide all the necessary medical and work history information to disability determination services with little difficulty, and will not need a lawyer to help them stay on task.
However, anyone in Michigan who has had both their initial disability claim and reconsideration appeal denied by a state disability examiner should strongly consider legal representation, because the next step in the process involves a hearing before an administrative law judge.
In Michigan, your chances of winning disability benefits from an administrative judge are significantly greater when you have legal representation of some kind.
An experienced disability lawyer or non attorney claimant's representative (non-attorney reps are often former SSA representatives of state disability examiners) can mean the difference between approval or disapproval of your claim, and given that it can take over a year to get your case heard (backlogs exist in the disability system in Michigan and just about every other state) you definitely do not want to leave anything to chance when you finally do appear before a federal judge.
Note: The request for reconsideration appeal step is currently suspended in the state of Michigan as Michigan 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