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In America, close to 9 million disabled workers receive Social Security Disability benefits. These workers receive a stipulated amount of money every month to help make their lives easier. However, this is just a fraction of the people who should be receiving social security disability benefits.
In the U.S. alone, 61 million adults live with various disabilities ranging from mobility, vision, cognition, and many more. So why aren’t more people receiving benefits?
Because the Social Security Disability program is complex. People face tough deadlines, medical terms, legal jargon, and strict criteria they don’t understand.
A Social Security Disability lawyer can go a long way into ensuring you get what you deserve if you meet all the qualifications. The thing is, the claims process can be extremely overwhelming, and even though you may qualify, your claim may be delayed for years if not denied. Here are the different scenarios when calling in a Social Security Disability lawyer is a good idea.
When You Don’t Understand If You’re Eligible
The Social Security Disability system is complex, and most people don’t understand whether they would qualify. The first thing you should know is that there are two different benefit programs offered by the Social Security Administration. The first is the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for low-income earners and those with limited resources.
The second, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), is not based on needs. This is intended for people who worked and contributed to the system.
It can be hard for you to determine whether you qualify for either of them or which one will offer you the best benefits. You may even qualify for both, but you need a professional legal representative to review your case and help you figure it out.
A professional Social Security Disability lawyer will evaluate your work history, income, and current financial situation. They’ll help you understand what benefits you may get and explore other options. You may be entitled to benefits such as workers’ compensation or even private disability insurance.
When Filing the Case
A lot of people choose to file a disability claim on their own, and there’s nothing wrong with this. However, filing a successful claim depends on various factors, and the first obstacle you’ll come across is a mountain of paperwork. There’s a significant number of forms that must be filled and medical documentation you must provide.
Most initial disability claims are denied for two reasons, which are incorrect paperwork and insufficient evidence. To qualify for disability benefits, you must prove that your disabilities impact your ability to work.
Your disability has to be severe enough to last at least 12 months to qualify. This is not as easy as it sounds because if you fail to provide all the necessary medical records or at one point failed to follow the prescribed therapy, the claim will be denied.
A competent Social Security Disability attorney understands all the laws regarding Social Security Disability. They’ll know how to present the right evidence to get the claim. They will fill out your paperwork correctly and present it in the right way to up your chances of getting approval.
Beyond that, you won’t have to stand in long lines because the Social Security Disability system has been backlogged for a while.
When the Process Is Taking Forever
When you apply for an SSD, understand that the process will drag for a long period of time even before an approval or denial. The average waiting time stands at four to six months. If you make a mistake and submit the wrong documents, the process will take much longer.
An attorney will ensure you have all the right documents and follow all due processes to hasten the process. If doctors and other professionals delay sending necessary records, the lawyer will also expedite the process.
If Your Claim Was Denied
If you applied for disability benefits on your own, there are only two outcomes you will get, which are approval or denial. If your claim was denied, but you know you do deserve the benefits, you should go for an appeal.
Disability appeals are more complicated and even more time-consuming than initial applications. Having a professional Social Security Disability lawyer is more crucial at this point.
The attorney will collect extensive evidence from your doctors and other involved medical professionals, such as therapists or psychologists. They will present the evidence and make the case as strong as possible to increase your chances of approval.
While it doesn’t necessarily guarantee approval, it’ll improve your chances. The process will be more seamless and efficient.
Should You Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer Before or After Filing the Claim?
You can hire a lawyer before or after you file the claim. It’s never too late to hire an attorney, regardless of where you are in the process. However, the earlier you do it, the better because you’ll increase your chances of getting your benefits sooner.
Having an attorney as you start the process is beneficial because they could talk to your doctors and get additional medical documentation that could help increase your chances of approval. Approvals during the initial applications are the best. It could save you many frustrations that come with appealing the claim.
How Do You Pay the Attorney?
Once you retain a Social Security Disability lawyer, you won’t have to pay their fees upfront. Disability lawyers work on a contingency basis, which essentially means that they will only get paid when you’re awarded the disability benefits. There are laws governing how much lawyers get paid after a disability approval.
According to the SSA, a lawyer for Social Security Disability should get 25% of the client backpay. However, this figure is capped at $6,000, so even if you get more money, you can’t pay them more than that.
There are exceptions to this. If you fired one lawyer and hired another, or if the lawyer takes the appeal to the Appeals Court or federal court, you could pay more.
Hiring the Best Social Security Disability Lawyer
Essentially, it’s advisable to hire a Social Security Disability lawyer from the word go. They only get paid on a contingency basis, making it easier for anyone to retain one. As long as you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, hiring an attorney is your best bet at getting the benefits you deserve.
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