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 Wisconsin
Claimants with representation in Wisconsin 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 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.
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?"
If you are applying for social security disability (SSD) or SSI benefits in Wisconsin you might be wondering if, or when you should involve a disability lawyer in your case. This, in large part, depends on you, and how comfortable you with representing yourself throughout the disability determination process.
Having an experienced disability attorney can certainly make things easier. For one thing, there are usually numerous medical records which must be gathered and submitted to the Wisconsin state disability determination services agency in order to receive a decision on your claim. Physicians are sometimes more likely to respond in a timely manner to requests for medical records when they are submitted by disability attorneys than when the request comes from their patient.
In addition, should your initial disability case be denied, your lawyer will automatically submit an appeal for reconsideration or review to the state disability agency, ensuring that the critical 60-day deadline for filing is met (if you miss this deadline your case is automatically denied and you have no choice but to start all over again with a new claim).
However, many disability lawyers will not become involved in a disability case unless both the initial case and the reconsideration appeal have already been denied. This is often because they feel that their services are most helpful at the second appeal, which involves a hearing before a federally appointed administrative law judge (ALJ).
Certainly, there can be little doubt that legal representation can mean the difference between winning and losing your case before a disability judge. Studies have shown that, while only 40 percent of disability cases in which claimants represent themselves before the ALJ are successful, more than 60 percent of disability cases in which claimants had legal representation before the judge were approved.
An attorney specializing in SSD and SSI matters is simply more knowledgeable and better prepared to present an argument for disability benefits to a judge, in a way that is both persuasive and legally sound, than a claimant who is unfamiliar with the disability determination process and the criteria that must be met to meet the social security administrationís definition of an ongoing, debilitating medical condition.
So, when should you contact a disability lawyer if you are filing a social security disability case or SSI claim in Washington state?
The best answer is, really, whenever you feel it is necessary. If at any point you are feeling overwhelmed by the process or are unable to advocate strongly for yourself, do not hesitate to get a disability lawyer involved. However, if your claim and appeal has been denied by disability determination services, you should definitely see an experienced disability attorney, because appearing before an administrative judge without legal representation could really hurt your case.
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