What is a Social Security lawyer?
Social Security lawyers are attorneys who specialize in Social Security Disability cases.
Intimately familiar with the SSI application and appeal processes, they can assist applicants in:
- Filing for disability benefits.
- Appealing denial of benefits decisions.
- Taking SSD cases to court if initial appeals fail.
Unlike other attorneys, SSI lawyers understand the common sticking points and errors in SSD cases. They are often also familiar with:
- Local physicians and other health care experts experienced in SSD cases.
- Common disabilities involved in SSD cases and the traditional and non-traditional treatments for those conditions.
- The specific laws and unique issues surrounding SSD cases and precedents around those issues.
- The unique needs and accommodations SSD applicants may have.
All of these factors make these attorneys uniquely suited to helping SSD applicants file and win their disability cases and begin receiving benefits as quickly as possible.
Learn About the Social Security Disability Claims Process
When you first submit your Social Security Disability claim application, it goes to your local Social Security Administration Field Office. The Field Office will begin by verifying all the non-medical information on your application, such as your age, identity, Social Security Number, employment and marital status. If that information clears, they will forward your application to the state-level Disability Determination Services (DDSs) Office.
DDSs will review the medical portion of your application and compare it to established legal standards to determine if you are eligible for disability benefits. If DDSs finds the information on your application insufficient or inconclusive, they may require you to submit to a consultative examination (CE) to gather additional information.
If either the Field Office or DDSs finds information on your application to be inaccurate or not in alignment with Disability standards, your application may be rejected.
What do SSI lawyers do?
Many initial SSD claim filers ask, “where can I find Social Security lawyers near me, and do I really need one?” These are understandable questions, since applicants are often capable of filing their own initial claims. In most cases, claims can be filed easily over the phone, online or by mail. Applicants worried about their budgets because their disabilities make them unable to work or on a tight budget may think that they cannot afford an attorney.
However, while claims can be simple to file, they can be complicated to file correctly and effectively. One of the first things an SSI lawyer can do to assist you is to review your initial application before you file it. With their experience navigating the system, your lawyer can spot problems and weaknesses in your application before it ever goes to the Social Security Administration.
He or she can assist you in gathering additional or alternative documentation of your case aligned with SSA standards and precedents, for example, or help you select the best wording to present your case. This can enable your application to clear SSA examination speedily and on the first try, saving you time and ensuring that you receive your award without delay.
How an SSI Lawyer Can Help You Appeal Your Case
Even if you decided “I do not need the help of a disability attorney near me to file my claim,” you will almost certainly find yourself in need of assistance if your claim is denied. Claims can be denied for several reasons, including:
- Errors in the filing.
- Applicant ineligibility due to non-medical factors, such as immigration status.
- Applicant ineligibility due to medical factors.
Typically, applicant ineligibility due to medical factors is the result of either the DDSs’ inability to verify applicants’ disabilities based on the information available or applicant’s failure to document that their disability meets the established federal criteria for disability awards.
SSI lawyers have the training and experience to help claimants understand:
- Why their applications were denied.
- What, if anything, can be done to correct the problem.
- How to do take the necessary corrective steps.
- Who to contact for assistance, new documents or other resources, if needed.
Additionally, Social Security lawyers near you can help you navigate the sometimes complicated and intimidating appeals process. Once your application has been denied, you have a limited amount of time to appeal. SSI lawyers familiar with the process can significantly speed up your ability to draft and provide the right appeal documents, ensuring that you do not miss any deadlines.
They can also speak on your behalf when you are required to appear before a DDS representative or a judge from the SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.
How Disability Attorneys Can Speak on Your Behalf
For many SSI applicants, the most valuable service Social Security lawyers can offer is speaking on their behalf. Public speaking is challenging for a large proportion of the American population, and can be doubly so when you imagine speaking to legal authorities about a subject on which your health and your future depend. Managing transportation or remote technology to participate in mandatory hearings can add an additional layer of stress to the process.
When you secure the services of a disability attorney near you, however, that attorney can speak on your behalf. He or she can:
- Attend meetings with you in or in your place.
- Assist you in completing documents or complete them for you.
- Speak to DDSs and other legal authorities on your case and in your place, as needed.
- Work with your health care team to identify weaknesses in your case, missing documents and other problem areas and submit new or revised documents for you.
- Handle transportation, technology and other challenging components of the appeals process for you, reducing stress and lowering the possibility of errors or missed deadlines.
- Shorten the timeline involved, allowing you to begin receiving your benefits sooner.
How to Find a Social Security Lawyer
No SSI lawyer can guarantee that your case will be approved, either on application or appeal. However, a good attorney specializing in SSD cases can significantly improve your likelihood of receiving benefits and doing so in a timely manner.
Finding a good Social Security Lawyer does not need to be difficult. Simply contact your state Bar Association, local Disability services or advocacy agency, or a Legal Aid clinic nearby and ask them to recommend an experienced SSI attorney in your area.