What Will a Disability Lawyer Do to Win a Social Security Case?

A lawyer specializing in representing claimants in disability cases can definitely be an asset to the individual fighting for disability benefits. This is particularly true if disability determination services (DDS), the state agency in charge of making Social Security Disability determinations, denies the claim at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels, and the case later ends up before an administrative law judge at a disability hearing.

While there are some attorneys who will not take a case until it has been denied, a few others will follow a case from start to finish. A lawyer who represents a claim from the outset will know what medical records are needed to support your claim, and may have more pull when it comes to getting these records back from physicians in a timely manner.

Should your initial claim be denied, and it becomes necessary to request a reconsideration appeal, an attorney will also file the appeal paperwork and make calls to either the social security office or disability agency to check the status of your claim.

However, the real benefit of having a disability lawyer when filing a claim for disability benefits comes at the disability hearing level. As previously stated, many disability attorneys will not take a case until it is necessary to request a hearing before an administrative law judge.

A Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI claim has its best chance of being approved at this third level of consideration, and it cannot be stressed enough that it is a real advantage to have a lawyer represent you at this stage. Statistics show that 60 percent of disability claims are approved by an administrative judge when the case is presented by an attorney, as opposed to 40 percent when there is no legal representation.

If your case has been denied by DDS, it may take an experienced disability attorney to spot any weaknesses in your medical history that may have worked against your claim, as well as any flaws in the disability examiner's opinion, and submit new medical evidence or updates to the hearing office if necessary.

While it is not necessary to have an attorney in order to win disability benefits, an attorney specializing in SSD or SSI cases can save the claimant a lot of time by submitting the necessary paperwork, making sure deadlines are met, following up with doctors, and checking the status of a claim with the social security office, disability agency, or hearing office.

In addition, a lawyer specializing in SSD or SSI cases will know how to present your case in the strongest possible light, and significantly improve your chance of being awarded disability benefits by an administrative judge.

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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