Social Security Disability Resource Center
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Should I hire a disability lawyer?
There is no pat answer for this question if you are filing an initial disability claim or reconsideration appeal. A disability lawyer or Social Security representative cannot do any more than you can do if you are filing your disability claim. If you feel more comfortable with a lawyer at this stage, then by all means hire one to help you.
Hiring a disability lawyer or representative may become a little more important at the reconsideration appeal. If you are not able to keep up with filing deadlines, or you have a difficult time completing appeal forms, either paper or online, you may need to hire a lawyer.
You have a 60-day appeal period that begins with the date of the letter in which to file your reconsideration appeal. Social Security give you an additional five days for the time it took for your decisional letter to reach you, which gives you a total of 65 days to get your appeal filed. If you have conditions that prevent you from filing your reconsideration appeal timely, you should consider the services of a disability lawyer or representative at this time. The important thing is to keep your disability claim moving forward through the appeal process.
It still helps to have a lawyer in the beginning
Now, all this said, there is a rationale for getting a disability lawyer early. A lawyer can make sure that you properly respond to requests for information from Social Security, make sure that you do not miss imporant filing deadlines, and make sure that you are reminded to attend needed appointments such as for a consultative medical exam. Missed deadlines, or failing to appeal, can easily cause you to lose months of valuable case processing time. Such situations may even force you to have to start over with a new claim.
As a disability examiner and working in representation, I routinely came across people who had failed to understand the appeal process and wasted many months of time unnecessarily. I also knew of a situation where a very intelligent individual failed to understand, after filing for disability online, that he had, in fact, been denied. Because of this misunderstanding, he missed his appeal deadline and had to start over from scratch. That mistake cost him about three months of processing time.
When you should definitely get a disability lawyer
If your reconsideration appeal is denied, you should consider getting a disability lawyer or representative no matter what your disabling condition is. If you have not been approved for disability in the initial or reconsideration appeal levels, your disability claim is not a clear-cut approval for Social Security disability.
This means that you should have someone who is familiar with all of the Social Security rulings and medical vocational guidelines to present your disability claim in a way that is most favorable to your being approved for disability.
Lastly, you do not have to pay your lawyer or Social Security disability a retainer or fee upfront. If your disability claim is approved, they receive a fee for their services. Currently, your lawyer is allowed 25% of your back payment of disability benefits up to $6000.00. You pay the lesser of 25% or 6000.00. If you do not have a back payment, they are not entitled to a fee. However, this does not mean you are not responsible for payment of any non-fee expenses you agree to pay in your fee agreement with your lawyer, such as reimbursement for the cost of obtaining medical records.
Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center
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Social Security Disability Requirements
Social Security Disability list of impairments
Social Security Disability Application
Can you get disability for arthritis of the knee?
How much income can you earn on Social Security disability?
If you get denied at a disability hearing, can you win later?
How much can an attorney charge for Social Security disability?
Can you get approved for disability based on Ulcerative Colitis?
The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI
Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
The SSI Disability Benefits Program
Medical exams for disability claims
Applying for Disability in various states
Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs
Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews
Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children
Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative
What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits
FAQ on Disability Claim Representation
Disability hearings before Judges
Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers
Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits
Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability
Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children
Disability Benefits through Social Security
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records
Filing your claim for disability benefits
Eligibility for receiving disability benefits
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
Resources on this site
Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
For Individuals living in North Carolina
Applying for Disability in North Carolina
North Carolina Disability Lawyer
Why are you denied the first time you are denied for disability?
Tips for Social Security Disability Psychological and mental testing
Will Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis in my hands qualify for disability?
Can I get short term Social Security Disability?
Can I get both Social Social Security disability and SSI?
SSD lawyer pay when they win the case
Can I apply for Social Security disability while on workers compensation?
If you are on Social Security retirement can you file for disability?
Do you have a better chance of being approved for disability with a physician's statement?
Does Social Security contact your employer when you apply for disability?
When should I seek representation for my disability claim?
Can I collect on my spouseís VA disability and my SSDI?
If I apply for disability will they cut my husbandís disability?