You’ve worked hard your entire life and now it’s time to reap those benefits by receiving the Social Security disability benefits you’re owed. However, not everyone will find it so easy to receive their disability benefits when they apply. There’s a chance your appeal could be denied, forcing the need to hire a Social Security disability lawyer.
As one of the area’s leading Social Security disability attorney, Merryl Jones – Second Chance Lawyer understands how difficult it can be to be denied your benefits. That’s why we’ve collected some insight for you below to help determine when you need a lawyer.
Are You Legally Required to Hire a Lawyer for Your Hearing?
Having an experienced disability lawyer present at your hearing isn’t a legal requirement. However, doing so can greatly improve your chances of winning your appeal. In fact, some studies illustrate that a disability claimant with an attorney present are twice as likely in some cases to win their appeal as one without.
What is the Social Security Disability Appeal Process?
The appeal process begins after your initial application, has been denied. After this step, you can appeal by filing a request for reconsideration of the denial of your claim. After this step, you can then request a hearing in front of a judge. During your hearing with the administrative law judge, they’ll consider all of the evidence you can provide, like your medical history, as well as testimony from witnesses and yourself as to your disability. The most important component of your hearing will be the medical evidence you can provide to illustrate the extent of your disability.
Having an experienced Social Security disability lawyer at your hearing can benefit you in a number of ways, including:
- Preparing You for Questioning
Going before a judge to make your Social Security disability claim can be somewhat nerve-racking, meaning you might make mistakes when giving your testimony. However, a reliable attorney will be able to tell you what you can expect out of the hearing and help put you at ease beforehand. Your lawyer can help you practice by asking you questions a judge will likely ask and help you prepare your testimony, ensuring you don’t say anything that could hurt your case.
- Collecting Your Medical Records
Having comprehensive medical records is one of the most important things when it comes to your hearing. There shouldn’t be any inconsistencies or gaps in your treatment history. However, gathering all this information is often easier said than done, which is where your disability attorney comes in handy. They can easily gather and compile all of the necessary medical records and then give them to the court on your behalf.
Enlisting the help of an attorney to obtain your medical records often has its advantages. They’ll usually be able to obtain them for you more quickly than if you’d requested them yourself. After looking at them, they can tell you when they’re in need of updating. Additionally, once they’ve reviewed your records, they’ll be able to determine if extra documentation is needed to support your claim.
- Soliciting Doctors’ Opinions
Having opinions from your current doctors is one of the best ways to prove to a judge that your disability claim is legitimate. A good disability lawyer will take the time to contact each of your personal physicians to obtain their opinion about your ability to work. Attorneys are more likely to obtain a timely response.
- In-Depth Insight
In many cases, your disability attorney may have worked with the particular judge that will be conducting your hearing. This might give you a bit of an in, as your attorney will likely be familiar with the judge’s personal preferences and pet-peeves, enabling them to strengthen up areas of your case they know the judge may find fault with.
Additionally, for those eligible for an on-the-record decision your disability attorney can help you skip your hearing entirely if everything is in order and go straight for approval.
- Questioning the Vocational Expert at Your Hearing
The Social Security Administration hires a consultant, referred to as a vocational expert, to testify on their behalf to the ability of the claimant to work based on their impairments. During your hearing, the judge will ask this expert about your ability to work based on the most current documented work restrictions. Often, these questions will be phrased in hypothetical scenarios loosely related to your current situation. If the vocational expert finds that even though a claimant is disabled or has suffered an accident, but they’re still able to work, your claim will likely be denied.
However, after the judge hears the vocational expert’s testimony, your attorney will have the chance to cross-examine them. This is where having an experienced disability attorney on your side truly makes a difference. They’ll know what questions to ask and how to exploit any advantage or fault in the vocational expert’s testimony. Your attorney will be able to offer their own set of hypotheticals to counter the vocational expert’s testimony. Since your attorney will be more familiar than the other parties about your medical history, it’s easier for them to find places where the judge or vocational expert may have overlooked the facts.
Will Your Outcome Be Different if You Hire a Disability Attorney?
As mentioned previously, it isn’t a legal requirement to hire a Social Security disability attorney, but the facts above should illustrate that hiring one can drastically improve your chances. Additionally, having an attorney at your disposal will help you save time, preventing the need from collecting paperwork and medical records, and more.
Contact us to hire a lawyer for your Social Security disability appeal!
To learn more about how Second Chance Lawyer can help improve your Social Security disability claim, contact Second Chance Lawyer online today or call 1 (800) 749-3612. For more information about our social security assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit us here!