How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Maryland
Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Maryland 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.
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?"
If you are applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI benefits in Maryland you might be wondering if, or when you should get a disability lawyer to represent you in your case. It’s certainly true that some disability applicants in Maryland win disability benefits fairly quickly and without ever retaining legal counsel.
However, this is not the norm, nor should you expect this to be the outcome in your case. In Maryland, only about a third of applications for disability are approved. Of course, if your claim is denied you can appeal this decision with the Maryland disability determination services agency; however keep in mind that only roughly 20% of reconsideration appeals filed in this state each year are successful.
So, the short answer is that, statistically speaking it will be in your best interest to retain a disability attorney at some point in the disability determination process. When you do so depends on you, and when you feel the need for assistance. No doubt filing for disability will require some work on your part—gathering the necessary medical records that must be submitted to the state of Maryland to prove your disability is daunting to some, and having a disability attorney can make this part of the process smoother.
Physicians are sometimes more prompt and willing to reply to requests for records when they come from an attorney, and of course your attorney can help to decide which records are necessary to prove your case, as well as take care of submitting them to the social security administration representative or disability examiner. Your attorney, should you choose to retain one early in the process, can also make sure that, if your case is denied, an appeal for reconsideration or review to the state disability agency is filed within the required 60-day deadline (if you miss this deadline your claim is automatically denied).
However, many individuals find that they are able to handle their own disability application and reconsideration appeal with little difficulty, and some disability lawyers will not even take a case until the reconsideration appeal has been denied, because they feel they cannot do much to help before this point. If your appeal has been denied, you have the option of filing a second disability appeal, which is a request for a hearing before a federal administrative law judge (ALJ).
It is strongly recommended that anyone scheduled to appear before a judge get a disability attorney to help you build a solid case for disability benefits. There have been multiple studies indicating that having a lawyer can have a significant, positive effect on the outcome of a disability case.
Simply put, judges are more likely to decide favorably in a case when it is presented by an attorney rather than by a disability claimant. While only 40 percent of disability cases in which claimants appear before an administrative law judge without legal representation are successful, more than 60 percent of disability applicants win benefits when they are represented by a lawyer specializing in SSD/SSI proceedings.
When should you contact a disability lawyer if you are filing a Social Security Disability or SSI claim in Maryland? The best answer to this question is that you should get a disability lawyer at any point in the disability determination process in which you feel that your case would be improved if you had a legal professional to advocate for you. For some this is at the outset, others at the level of first appeal, and for all others, before appearing at a hearing before a disability judge.
What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?
Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?
How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?
Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved
What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?
What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Receiving a Disability Award Letter
Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
Applying for disability in your state
Most popular topics on SSDRC.com
Social Security Disability SSI Questions
The listings, list of disabling impairments
Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?
Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials
How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?
How to apply for disability for a child or children
Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application
Filing for disability - when to file
How to apply for disability - where to apply
Qualifications for disability benefits
How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits
Qualifying for Disability - The Process
How to get disability for depression
Getting disability for fibromyalgia
SSI disability for children with ADHD
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions
Social Security Disability SSI definitions
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
New and featured pages on SSDRC.com
Who can help me file for disability?
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
Permanent Social Security Disability
What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?
Who is eligible for SSI disability?
Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?
What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.
The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.
To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.