What does a disability lawyer in Texas do to help you win benefits?

If you have decided to file for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in Texas, you may wish to consider obtaining the services of a lawyer or non-attorney disability representative to help with your Social Security Disability or SSI claim.

Warning: many representatives do not take Social Security Disability claims until they have been denied at the initial level, i.e. when you are ready to begin the Social Security Disability appeals process.

That being said, this has been changing in recent years and there are now many lawyers who will take initial disability claim filings, if they feel it is in their client's best interest to have a representative maintain all their paperwork through the entire Social Security Disability process.

Also, many attorneys and non-attorney disability representatives are of the opinion that if they represent the case from the very beginning, they are in a better position to manage how the medical, and vocational, evidence of the claim is developed. In other words, they would prefer that the case is not unnecessarily weakened as a result of the claimant's unfamiliarity with the disability system.

Common questions about filing for disability in Texas

Therefore, if you contact a representative to help you with your case and they decline, do not take this as a sign of any deficiency in your claim. There are, unfortunately, a number of representatives who choose to do as little as possible on a claim. On the bright side, there are many experienced representatives who pride themselves in their ability to develop case evidence, submit a case theory to a judge that is solidly grounded on Social Security regulations and rulings, and who often attempt to win their claimant's benefits as quickly as possible, sometimes even without the need for a hearing.

What does a lawyer do for you once you have obtained their services? Some lawyers will fill out all of your paperwork for you, while others will send the paperwork for you to fill out and return. Additionally, if your lawyer is helping you with your initial claim, they may fill out your forms online and schedule a disability interview with Social Security for you. This saves you time when you file your disability claim with the Social Security Administration.

Paperwork is just one thing a Social Security lawyer can help you with, however. Generally, once you have entered into an agreement with a lawyer they will file all of your appeals for you as well. Basically, you do not have to worry about filing your appeals because your lawyer should be handling that for you.

All of the services mentioned above are important, however the most important level of the disability process at which to have the services of a lawyer is at the disability hearing. Hearings are not always necessary. But, most claims that are denied at the application level will require a hearing, simply because at the first appeal level (the request for reconsideration), claims are again overwhelmingly denied. Fact: In Texas, 87 percent of reconsideration appeals are denied.

You may be thinking, "I do not have to have a lawyer to have a disability hearing before an administrative law judge" and you would be correct in your thoughts. However, Social Security Disability hearings are like other hearings, in that you need to have knowledge of the Social Security Disability rules and regulations to present your disability claim in the most favorable light.

In fact, statistics indicate that disability claims with a lawyer in Texas have a higher chance of winning disability benefits than those disability claims without representation.

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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