Social Security Disability Attorney- do I need one to win my case?

If you are applying for disability with the Social Security Administration, you may wonder if you need to have an attorney to win your disability benefits. The Social Security Administration does not require an individual to have representation in order to be awarded disability benefits. The choice to have a representative lies with the individual who is filing for Social Security Disability.

Most individuals are able to file their initial and reconsideration appeals on their own, however some individuals may choose to have a disability attorney or non-attorney representative file the reconsideration, which is the first disability appeal.

If you have trouble keeping up with paperwork, are worried about missing deadlines, or do not feel comfortable submitting the appeal paperwork yourself, then it may be necessary for you to have representation from the initial claim through the hearings level appeal.

Typically, many claimants do not have an attorney when they first file their claim. However, many will choose to find a representative immediately after receiving their first denial. And the majority of claimants are certainly represented by the time they get to the disability hearing level.

Regarding representation at the hearing level, it can be said that the hearing is somewhat informal. However, like most hearings, it will be wise to have an attorney (or non-attorney), who is familiar with Social Security law. Your attorney will portray the facts of your disability case in a manner that is favorable to your being awarded Social Security Disability or SSI benefits.

Statistically, disability claimants with representation win significantly more often than those who choose to represent themselves at a social security hearing.

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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