Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Connecticut
No individual is required to have a lawyer or representative when they seek disability benefits, but, nonetheless, claimants who are represented on disability claims in Connecticut tend to have a higher rate of approval, a need for fewer appeals, and more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the disability is proven to have begun) that lead to 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 with an extended history of working from within the federal system.
1. Questions about using a disability lawyer
2. More questions and answers about disability lawyers
A qualified disability representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law, particularly with regard to how disability claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules. A qualified and competent disability 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 filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits in Connecticut, your claim is likely to be denied by the Connecticut state disability determination services agency. Nationwide, about two thirds of all disability applications are denied, and Connecticut residents have slightly better odds (about 37% of disability cases filed in Connecticut are approved ).
First appeals in disability cases, or requests for reconsideration, are not likely to win either. In recent years, only 20.1% of SSD and SSI disability claims filed in Connecticut were approved.
Most SSD/SSI applicants in Connecticut will have to appeal their case not once but twice before winning benefits (if they win them at all). Therefore, if your initial claim for disability has been denied, you might want to consider getting a disability lawyer.
A good disability lawyer will help monitor your case with the Social Security Administration, and will review your case to determine if it could be strengthened in some way, or for possible flaws in the state disability examiner's reasoning upon which your denial was based. Your lawyer can then help you strengthen your case as needed, as well as ensure that any new evidence is filed with your reconsideration appeal within the required 60-day deadline. (It's important not to miss this one. If you do, your appeal is automatically denied and you have to start over).
Of course, having legal representation does not guarantee approval in any case. However, should your first appeal be denied you will most likely file a second appeal involving an appearance before a federal administrative law judge (ALJ).
At these proceedings it is strongly recommended that you are represented by a lawyer or non-attorney representative (non-attorney reps are often former employees of the social security administration [SSA] who know the disability determination process inside out) , because there is quite a bit of statistical data indicating that judges are more likely to grant benefits to those claimants whose cases are presented by a disability lawyer.
Indeed, if a claimant chooses to be represented by a lawyer specializing in Social Security Disability cases, he or she stands a 60 percent chance of winning benefits'the only instance throughout the entire disability determination process in which the odds actually favor the claimant.
For this reason, disability applicants in Connecticut who have been denied benefits within the Connecticut disability determination services agency are strongly advised to retain a disability attorney or non-attorney rep to represent them at their hearing. A disability lawyer or non-attorney claimant representative will have the skills and knowledge to present a strong case and winning argument for granting your request to receive disability income.
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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