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
Ask a question, get an answer
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in South Carolina
Claimants with representation in South Carolina tend to be approved in higher percentages, have a need for fewer appeals, and more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the disability is proven to have begun) which can result in a higher payment Social Security Disability and/or SSI disability 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.
A qualified representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law and procedures, especially with regard to how claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules. A qualified and competent 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, if any, should those filing for social security disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits in South Carolina consult with a disability lawyer? The answer to this question varies according to the individual, but in general there are three sets of circumstances in which you should consider getting a lawyer in South Carolina if you wish to claim disability:
1. Is your disability claim fairly straightforward, or is your condition one that is less clearly defined, or one that you think may be denied disability? If your medical condition is one that is not overtly apparent, or one that is listed in the Social Security Administration (SSA) book of impairments (commonly referred to as the “blue book), then you will most likely be relying on medical records to help define both your condition and its symptoms, as well as to prove how this inhibits you from earning a living wage.
Examples of such cases include chronic fatigue syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, etc. In these types of cases there can be a lot of paperwork and going back and forth between the disability examiner and the applicant.
2. If you think you could benefit from having a lawyer handle your case, or if your condition inhibits your ability to gather the necessary information, then by all means consult an experienced disability attorney sooner rather than later.
From the moment it is notified that you have legal representation, the social security administration is obligated to keep your lawyer informed as to the status of your case. A good lawyer will make sure that all of your paperwork is filed on time, that the disability examiner gets the medical records needed to render a decision, and that any disability appeals are automatically submitted within the designated timeframe.
Retaining a lawyer early in the disability process will also allow him or her to begin formulating a strong case and convincing argument for approval at from the outset should your case (like most in South Carolina) be turned down by the state disability examiner, and subsequently be scheduled for an administrative hearing.
3. If you have already applied for SSD or SSI benefits in South Carolina, has your initial claim been denied? If so, you may want to think about getting a disability lawyer to handle your request for reconsideration appeal. Almost 80 percent of all reconsideration appeals are denied—an experienced disability attorney may be able to spot weaknesses in your initial claim, or may be able to suggest other medical exams or evaluations that could be performed to strengthen your case.
4. Have both your initial claim and your first appeal, review or reconsideration, been denied by the state disability determination services agency? If so, it is definitely advisable to retain legal counsel. This is because the next appeal will be considered by a federal administrative law judge at hearing, and statistics have shown that disability judges are significantly more likely to grant disability benefits to claimants when their case is presented by an attorney.
Individuals who are represented by an attorney at their disability hearing win benefits 60 percent of the time—only four out of 10 applicants that choose to represent themselves before the judge are successful. At any rate, due to backlogs in the disability system in South Carolina and across the nation, it could take up to a year to have your case before a judge—after that long wait, it’s smart not to take any chances with the outcome.
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