Can A Disability Attorney in Florida Guarantee That I Get A Social Security Approval?
On average, a disability application that is filed in Florida under the Social Security Disability or SSI program will have a 27 percent chance of being approved, making it practically a necessity to file one or more appeals.
While an attorney or disability representative can definitely help you win your Social Security Disability claim, there is no guarantee that they can get you a disability approval. Frankly, there is no way that anyone can say with any certainty that you will receive an approval for Social Security Disability, or an approval for SSI disability.
Having said that, however, all Social Security Disability and SSI disability decisions are made on the basis of the medical,vocational, and educational information contained in the disability file. While an attorney cannot guarantee that you will be approved for Social Security, they are able to provide services that may keep your disability claim on track and often win you your approval.
Social Security attorneys and non-attorney representatives make sure that your disability appeals are filed timely, provide reminders if you have consultative examinations scheduled, gather medical information for your disability claim, and present your disability claim to an administrative law judge should your disability claim require a disability hearing.
Attorneys and representatives are most helpful at disability hearings because they are familiar with Social Security Disability guidelines and are able to use the guidelines to portray the merits of your disability claim in a way most favorable you. They can also acquire the services of vocational or medical experts to help your chances of being approved for disability.
Disability cases with representation in Florida can be as much as fifty percent more likely to be approved at the administrative law judge hearing than disability cases with no representation.
This is not surprising since the average disability claimant knows little, if anything, about Social Security administrative law and procedure (including the regulations found in title 20 of the federal code, the grid rules that direct decisions on medical vocational decisions, and the process of sequential evaluation that is used by both disability examiners and judges) and they are not likely to have updated medical information, including RFC, or residual functional capacity, reports, that would help their case.
Even if disability claimants have medical information (updated records) to support their claim, they are often very emotional about their disability case and find it difficult to present their case in an objective manner. Which, of course, is understandable since they have probably endured months of financial and emotional hardship waiting for their hearing date.
Guarantees are simply not part of the Social Security Disability process. There are times when an individual's disabling condition might even meet or equal a listing (in the Social Security listing of impairments, also known as the blue book), yet for some non-disability reason their claim is denied.
For example, an SSI disability claimant might be medical approved but their claim may still be denied because they are over the income or resource limit that applies to the SSI program, which is need-based, unlike the Social Security Disability, or SSD, program, which does not take into account resources.
These situations and others are why an attorney could not possibly guarantee that you will be approved for disability. But, nontheless, representation at a hearing will often increase a claim's probability of winning by as much as 50 percent because A) the case will be properly documented and supported with relevant medical and vocational evidence and B) the case will be properly presented to an administrative law judge and incorporate a well-reasoned "theory of the case" that is supported by regulations and/or case law.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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