Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Georgia

Should you get assistance on your SSDI or SSI claim? Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Georgia 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 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?"

Additional information

Filing for SSD or SSI is a difficult process no matter where you live, and the disability determination process follows pretty much the same pattern in each state: An individual files for disability benefits, waits three to four months for a decision, only to be denied; the individual then files a reconsideration appeal with disability determination services, waits several more months for a decision, and is denied; then finally the claimant can make a request to have their claim heard before an administrative law judge, which is, surprisingly, the best chance for approval of their claim throughout the entire process.

However, it can take up to a year before the case is heard (the great increase in the number of people filing for disability benefits has created backlogs in every state). While it is true that some individuals filing for disability are approved fairly quickly, that is not the norm, and is certainly not the norm in Georgia. The fact is, statistics are pretty consistent in demonstrating that the majority of applicants will have to wait a long time before they see any actual disability income, if they see any at all.

If you live in Georgia and are filing for SSD or SSI, you should keep in mind that in your state you are even less likely to win benefits than applicants in other states. With odds like this, you should strongly consider retaining a disability attorney or non-attorney rep. You may even want to consider this at the outset of your case, rather than waiting until you have been twice denied by disability determination services.

An experienced attorney can help you get your medical records together, as well as your work history, and make sure that you start out with the strongest evidence possible, and take some of the stress out of the process for disability applicants who may already be overstressed from struggling with the physical or mental symptoms caused by their medical condition.

Those who choose not to retain a disability lawyer when they first file for disability will definitely want to revisit their decision if their claim is denied'claimants who are represented by a lawyer at a disability hearing are statistically more likely to win benefits than those who choose to go it alone.

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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