Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Ohio
Claimants who are represented on disability claims in Ohio 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?"
While it is difficult for anyone, in any state, to win benefits from Social Security Disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits, people filing for disability benefits in Ohio are even less likely to win their case than most people across the country.
In recent years, 71.1% of SSD and SSI disability claims filed in Ohio were denied by the state disability determination services agency upon initial application (when they were first filed). In 9 out of 10 of those cases in which the claimant appealed the decision of the state disability examiner (also called a request for review or reconsideration), DDS upheld the denial. This number is also above the national average denial rate.
This means that the vast majority of disability applicants set about the task of qualifying for SSI benefits or SSD benefits in Ohio will get no relief from their state disability determination services agency, and will be forced to file a second appeal. This is actually not an entirely bad thing.
In Ohio your chances of winning a Social Security Disability approval from a federal administrative law judge (ALJ) are much better than they are within the state disability agency. About 40 percent of all cases heard before an ALJ are approved, which is pretty good when compared to your chances at the first two levels of consideration (see above).
However, disability applicants in Ohio are strongly advised to retain a disability attorney or non-attorney rep to represent them before the disability judge, because studies have repeatedly shown that having legal representation may significantly enhance the opportunity to Receive an Approval for Social Security Disability in Ohio.
A disability lawyer or non-attorney claimant representative (non-attorney reps are often former employees of the social security administration [SSA] who know the disability determination process inside out) will help you present the best and most winning argument for benefits at this last (most favorable) level of appeal.
ALJs tend to be, for whatever reason, more receptive to arguments when they are presented by a lawyer rather than the disability claimant. Individuals who use a lawyer typically have more than a 60 percent chance of being approved for SSD or SSI benefits, the first (and last) time throughout the entire disability determination process when the odds actually favor the claimant.
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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