Social Security Disability Representation - Disability Lawyers and Representatives

    How does Social Security Disability Representation work?
    If you get denied on a disability application, you might as well seek representation. The reason for this is that the first appeal following an application for disability is a request for reconsideration. Reconsideration appeals generally have more than an eighty percent rate of denial. This being the case, most claimants who get denied at the first level will find themselves having to file a reconsideration appeal which will also get denied, which will then necessitate the filing of a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge.

    What is the Role of a Social Security Disability Representative?
    The core responsibility of a representative for a Social Security Disability or SSI claim is to maximize the chances of winning the claim. This is why representatives often review the claimant's file prior to the request for a hearing (to get an idea of where the case stands, what evidence was previously considered, and why the case was denied by a disability examiner).

    Getting a Social Security Disability Representative for your case
    Because finding experienced and competent representation can be crucial to winning a Social Security Disability or SSI disability claim, especially for cases that will inevitably be presented to an administrative law judge at a hearing office, it is always in your best interest to find a representative who specializes in social security cases only.

    What does a Social Security Disability Lawyer or Representative do for your claim?
    You are allowed to have a representative assist you on your disability claim at any point. On this page, we'll notate what disability lawyers and non-attorney representatives do at various stages.

    Why does Representation increase the win ratio at a Social Security Disability or SSI Hearing?
    Why does representation result in a higher win ratio at a hearing? The answer is fairly simple. Disability hearings are similar to various types of court proceedings in which A) solid case preparation and B) a proper presentation of the relevant arguments and positions--specifically, pertaining to why the individual should be approved to receive disability benefits--are both necessary in order to win the case.

    How does a Social Security attorney get paid?
    Attorneys and non-attorney representatives with fee withholding are paid by Social Security from the disabled individual's back pay amount.

    How much does a Social Security Disability attorney get paid?
    All Social Security representatives, including disability attorneys and non-attorney disability representatives, are entitled to receive 25 percent of a claimant's back payment for a case that they win.

    What Expenses Will A Social Security Attorney Charge In Addition To The Fee?
    Incidental expenses could include but are not limited to medical records, vocational experts, phone calls, travel, copying, etc. Some attorneys and representatives ask that the expenses be paid whether an individual wins or loses the claim while others collect only if they win the disability claim.

    Why do I need an attorney for Social Security Disability?
    Some would say that you can take care of your own Social Security Disability or SSI claim through all levels of the appeal process, and, of course, technically speaking, they would be correct.

    Social Security Disability Attorney Qualifications and Expenses
    A disability representative, as was stated, can also be a non-attorney. Such individuals are often former SSA employees, such as hearing office personnel, social security field office personnel, and former disability examiners.

    Can a Lawyer Speed Up My Disability Case?
    It is just impossible to say if your lawyer can speed up the process in any way. However, they can make sure you file all your appeals timely and that may save time for your wait for disability benefits in general. If you miss an appeal deadline and file your appeal late, you could have to start your disability claim all over.

    How Do You Fire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?
    You can fire your disability lawyer at any time if you feel your claim is not receiving the attention it deserves, and in some cases this is absolutely the best option. However, there are some things to keep in mind when you choose to fire your disability attorney

    How Long Does Your Attorney Have To File Your Social Security Disability Appeal?
    If your disability claim has been denied, your attorney can file your appeal for you. You have sixty days from the date that is on the denial notice to appeal the denial. Additionally, Social Security does allow five days for mailing of notices.

    Will An Attorney Be More Successful On A Social Security Disability or SSI Appeal?
    If a disability claimant has a condition, or conditions, that would interfere with them being able to complete their appeal forms, they should by all means obtain the services of an attorney or Social Security Disability non-attorney representative to file their reconsideration appeal, or any other appeals that are necessary.

    Do you need a Lawyer at the Administrative Law Judge Disability Hearing?
    Most disability applicants will need a lawyer at the ALJ disability hearing if they wish to significantly increase their potential to win their disability case.

    Should I get a representative for my disability claim?
    You do not have to have a representative at any step in the process. You do not even have to have a representative at the hearing level. However, with regard to hearings, you should consider the fact that an average individual knows nothing about Social Security law.

    Is there a way to check the Credentials of a Disability Lawyer?
    You can inquire as to whether or not a disability lawyer is board-certified; however, this is probably a great waste of time. Being board-certified does not mean that the lawyer has a high success rate in handling claims.

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.