Hiring a Disability Lawyer When Filing Claims
Picture this for a moment: You know you want to go somewhere, so you get on a train, and as the train is rolling along the tracks, everything seems to be going rather smoothly. In your mind’s eye, you have a clear image of your destination and the route you’ll take, and you feel prepared for any unseen or unexpected hiccups along the way.
As your trip progresses further, the route starts to make less and less sense: languages are unfamiliar, maps become incomprehensible and, soon enough, the train halts at the last stop and you’re forced to get off. Unfortunately, things have gone terribly wrong for you, and now you’re wholly and utterly lost. What started as an innocent trip has quickly turned into an unwanted misadventure.
Sure, this doesn’t happen all the time, but the metaphor of being completely lost and unsure of where you can go or what you can do fits many people’s experience in applying for disability claims and navigating the world of social security law – when they pursue it by themselves, that is. Fortunately, there are ways to make the path clearer, whether you need help with a simple matter or a particularly complex claim. The answer for you may be to seek legal representation as you apply for disability. So, here are seven reasons why you should hire a disability lawyer when applying for disability claims.
1. Social Security Lawyers Are Experts in the Field
Thankfully, there are people out there who know all the ins and outs of the disability law arena. They’re called social security attorneys, or disability lawyers, and if you need to find some answers about your disability claim, they may be able to help.
If you know next to nothing about the subject, then the results you’re hoping for might differ from the results you receive. You would call a surgeon to ensure the highest rate of success.
The same goes for disability and social security law. You want someone who is trained, educated and experienced in the role, someone who knows the finer points of the system and how to navigate it. As with any sort of governmental or legal issue, there are going to be a lot of forms, a lot of very specific vernacular and a lot of delicate, intricate time tables.
- How many days has it been since a claim was denied, and when can you appeal?
- What are the differences between the United States Social Security Administration forms SSA-3441, SSA-827, and HA-501?
- What kind of precedent does your case have?
These are the kinds of questions you might ask yourself should you opt to do without any legal help, but you aren’t expected to be an expert on social security law, and hiring someone may be able to strengthen your claim.
2. You Might Be Doing Something Incorrectly
Some people actually have a little experience with disability claims. Maybe you’re someone who knows a little about them, perhaps through a relative, coworker or friend who was trying to file for disability. You feel that you have a pretty solid sense of the process and how it operates, so you decide to file for disability claims on your own to avoid any fees.
The problem here is there is a possibility of being denied. This isn’t cause to become angry or especially concerned; as reported by the Social Security Administration (SSA), a huge majority of claims are denied — for either medical or technical reasons — or are simply ‘lost’ in the limbo of a ‘pending decision.’ Though applying yourself can save you the money of a lawyer, you will be lacking the vital expert knowledge and information a disability attorney can provide.
Hiring a social disability lawyer can ensure all your forms are in order and filed correctly, any medical issues are addressed in the proper format and the entire application process is done the correct way. Additionally, they know the time frames of how the various processes work. You might think sitting around for six to eight weeks waiting for any response is outrageous, but someone familiar with the system will know that such a wait is normal. Just like job applications, many disability claims — like the figurative resume of the job applicant — are tossed out simply because they do not ‘look’ the right way or communicate the right information properly. The fee of a social disability lawyer is worth the expert help you will receive.
3. A Disability Lawyer Knows How to Communicate
To elaborate on the metaphor of using a job interview process as the same as filing for a disability claim, if you go into an interview, or if you fill out an online application for a job, there are certain ‘buzz words’ prospective employers are looking for. These are words that show you are familiar with a specific industry, you have on-the-job experience and, if hired, you will be able to communicate effectively with other people in the workplace. It’s like a test of sorts, and if you don’t pass the test, your application will be filed in the waste basket.
Again, the same thing goes for disability lawyers. They know how to communicate with medical professionals and those involved with other aspects of disability law, so your claim might be most effectively processed through the different levels of administration. Not only will they know the right words or phrases to use, but they will also know the wrong ones: admissions or misrepresentations that could cause your claim to have a much higher chance of being denied. It’s like having to navigate a treacherous jungle pathway — you’ll want to have a guide who knows where to step.
4. You Can Afford to Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney
The widely accepted view about obtaining legal support in any matter is that hiring a lawyer will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. While this is certainly true of some attorneys or legal firms, social security disability lawyers work on what is known as a contingency fee, and this can mean that hiring someone to represent you during the process of applying or appealing a disability claim is truly in your best interest.
Hiring a disability attorney won’t cost you anything upfront. That said, if a lawyer accepts your case on a contingency fee, it’s because they think you have a genuine chance of winning your claim; if a person does not win their claim, the disability lawyer does not receive their percentage of the won fee. Additionally, part of the process of hiring a social disability lawyer is signing Social Security representation and fee agreement forms with your attorney.
Essentially, signing these documents means your lawyer – should benefits be won – will be paid either up to 25 percent of your backpay or a fee of $6,000 dollars — whichever is less. This is a one-time payment as well, meaning that once you begin to receive your monthly checks, the money will be all yours.
5. They Do the Heavy Lifting for You
So with all this talk of forms, submissions, meetings and paperwork, another positive aspect of hiring a disability lawyer to help with your claim is that they will do a lot of the actual work: they fill out forms, speak with medical professionals, are hands-on and have their proverbial feet on the ground. Their service is accompanied by a professional demeanor, efficiency and punctuality.
While your claim is being handled in an expert manner, you will have more time during the day to do what matters to you, whether it’s spending more time doing your favorite hobbies, getting in some much needed time with your friends and family or working toward improving yourself either physically or mentally.
6. They Know How to Win Claims
Should you choose to apply for your disability claim on your own, you might find that you don’t have a lot of people to talk to about the process. In hiring a social security disability lawyer, not only will you be able to access all of his or her information, skills and experience, but also that of every other social security disability lawyer in the firm. You will have gained access to an entire pool of knowledge and experience that can make the difference for your particular case.
And because social security disability lawyers typically work on contingency fees, they take cases they believe will have successful outcomes. In turn, a law firm that handles social security claims generally has a high rate of success in the field.
7. You Are More Likely to Be Successful With Professional Help
When all is said and done, the simple fact of the matter is a social security disability lawyer knows a great deal more about social security disability law than you do.
Statistically, roughly 70 percent of people who use the services of a social security lawyer win their claim. Sure, there are always cases in which an injury or disability clearly causes the victim to need social security disability benefits, and the case is so clear-cut that the process of filing a claim is easy, painless and successful.
Living with a disability is not always — and perhaps rarely is — easy. There are many ways your life can be affected, whether that is professionally, socially or personally. However, living with a disability should not mean living at a lower standard of living.
Let’s return to our scenario of the train and the unfortunate traveler we discussed: there you are in a completely foreign place, every sign and map you see are unintelligible, you have no idea how to go about getting home and your success in serious doubt. If your ultimate destination is applying for social security disability, then it is important to know there are people who have been trained to help show you the way — whether that means interpreting seemingly alien maps and vernacular, or illuminating the right paths to filing a successful disability claim.