Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Indiana
Why should a person filing for SSD or SSI get a lawyer or representative? Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Indiana 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 medical vocational grid rules and the Social Security listings. The listings are a collection of physical and mental impairments for which the approval criteria is clearly spelled out; not every impairment has a listing, however, and this includes carpal tunnel syndrome and fibromyalgia.
A good 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?"
Should you consider getting a disability lawyer if you live in Indiana and are filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI benefits? Undeniably, a disability attorney can make the process of filing for disability easier and more effective, no matter what state you live in. A good disability lawyer will be of great help in gathering the medical records and other documentation necessary to prove the disabling nature of your medical condition (some doctors will respond more readily to a lawyer's request for medical records than to a request made by a patient).
If your initial application for disability is denied (state disability determination services agencies deny, on average, about seventy percent of all disability applications), your attorney will file an appeal of the disability examiner's decision, or request for reconsideration, on your behalf within the designated 60-day timeframe (if you miss this deadline your case is dead in the water, and you have to start over with a new claim).
However, most claimants do not seriously consider legal representation until their claim has been denied and a reconsideration appeal has failed as well. Many disability attorneys will not take on a case until all avenues of consideration within disability determination services have been exhausted, in part because they feel that their role is most useful at the final appeal, in which a disability claimant will appear at a hearing before an administrative law judge.
If you are filing for SSD or supplemental security income, SSI in Indiana and your claim has been denied, you should strongly consider retaining a disability lawyer or non-attorney representative to represent you at your hearing. Statistics are clear on this point'claimants who are represented at their disability hearing are more likely to win their case than those who represent themselves.
An legal representative will always (unless the claimant has worked within the disability system in the past) have a better grasp of legal concepts associated with disability hearings, including what criteria must be met to prove that a claimant has a condition listed in the Social Security Administration's 'blue book' (a book that lists impairments that SSA considers disabling, as well as the symptoms that must be present in order to prove the claimant is indeed suffering from a listed impairment).
If you are suffering from a disability not listed in the blue book, it is even more important to retain a disability lawyer, who may be able to help you win a medical vocational, or "med ' voc" allowance. Med-voc allowances are awarded to those who are disabled by a condition not defined in the SSA impairment manual, and are the most commonly granted form of disability assistance.
It may take a good disability lawyer or a non-attorney rep (non-attorney claimant's reps are often former social security administration employees who are also very knowledgeable about what it takes to win disability cases) to help put together a successful argument that your medical condition is disabling and unlikely to improve.
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