Will hiring a disability attorney in Illinois get me a disability award?

One individual stated in a disability forum "I am not sure if hiring a lawyer would help me explain my case better to get approved". And my answer to that is this: A social security attorney will help you most on your Social Security Disability or SSI case at the hearing level. Yes, you can benefit from representation at earlier stages in the process and, in fact, some applicants would simply prefer to have a representative take of everything from the very start (not a bad idea at all for claimants who have any of the following: memory loss, attention and concentration problems, have had a stroke, have bipolar disorder or depression, or have a physical impairment that simply necessitates utilizing a rep from the "get go").

However, the bulk of a disability reps work will involve preparing for a hearing. And it is at the hearing level that your attorney or non-attorney representative will actually attempt to "explain" your case.

Should you wait until the hearing to get an attorney in Illinois? In my own opinion, a claimant should probably consider finding representation after the first denial has been received. And here's the reason. If you get denied on your application for disability (and, nationally, seventy percent of all claimants do), the next step will be to file a request for a reconsideration. Reconsiderations are denied 85 percent of the time (the actual statistic is 84.9 percent), meaning that most claimants who are not approved at the application level will have to go through the reconsideration step and then go to a hearing at some point.

Going to a hearing without an experienced disability attorney (or non-attorney rep, as many of them provide quality representation and some are even former SSA and DDS employees) is hardly ever a good idea. So, if you get denied on your initial claim (a.k.a. application) you might as well as find an attorney.

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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