What Does a Disability Lawyer Do?

It can be confusing and even scary to think about applying for Social Security disability. Here you are unable to work, in a lot of pain and wondering where the money is coming from. You see those commercials and wonder what the role of a Social Security disability attorney is, and do you need one? The commercials make it sound like you do but you don’t know.
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It can be scary if you are injured or have a disease the requires you to stop working and apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). You might be in a lot of pain from your disability. You might be alone with no one to help you get through the process, documents, and paperwork needed to apply.
Just what is it that this Social Security disability attorney can do for you? What is the role of these Social Security disability lawyers? Let’s take a look.

What is their role?

Some folks believe that a Social Security disability lawyer is absolutely essential if you are disabled and applying for SSDI. As confusing and scary as the disability application process is to you, it is that familiar to a social security lawyer. It is her area of expertise in the law. He has studied and practiced disability law and he is committed to making sure your rights as a disabled person are honored.
So, what can she do for you? First of all, they are there to make sure your rights are not trampled on. They are your representative with the Social Security Administration. Once you name one of the many available Social Security Disability Attorneys as your representative, the Social Security Administration will no longer contact you without contacting your representative first.
They will act as the go-between for you and the Social Security Administration. All correspondence that the Social Security Administration sends to you they must also send to your lawyer.
The role of representing you to the Social Security Administration is very helpful, but the real job of Social Security attorneys is to give you the best possible odds of having your application granted. This is their real responsibility – the core of their work – making sure everything possible is done to make your application successful.
Their role can start before you even begin to complete your application, or you can wait until you are at the hearing with the Administrative Judge after your initial application is turned down. About 70% of all initial applications are turned down.
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Supporting during the appeals process

Most importantly, if you are in that 70% that are turned down after the first application, you will want to appeal. The appeal can have many stages, but it is at this point that you would want to be working with lawyers for Social Security Disability.
They will know how the forms should be filled out and the right language to use for an appeal. You will need them to represent you before the federal judge at the Administrative Hearing. This is where your case is really won or lost. There are possible appeals if you lose at this stage, but it gets much harder then.
You don’t want to lose the Administrative Hearing. A lawyer could be the difference between approval and denial at this stage.
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This is particularly true if you also applied for SSI or Supplemental Security Income. In that case, you have to prove both disability and financial needs. SSI Disability Lawyers would be able to walk you through that entire process. They can help you to understand the complicated formula the Social Security Administration uses to define income and sort through what if any financial resources you might have.
Then you have to qualify with a disability. They can help you with all that documentation as well. If you are applying for both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the role of the lawyers for Social Security Disability would be critical.
Regardless of which program or both that you are applying for, many people decide to go it on their own at the initial application stage and if necessary hire a lawyer for the appeals and hearing. This is fine for many people and there is no requirement for you to have lawyers for Social Security on your payroll at all.
You do not have to use a lawyer. It’s just smart to do so. Even at the application stage.
It is at the application stage that you can become overwhelmed with all the work you have to do to apply. You have to gather all the medical records and official documents and decide on the date you actually became disabled. This date can determine how much back pay you receive when approved.
One of the biggest reasons people are turned down at this stage is their application is incomplete or their records are incomplete. That won’t happen to you if you work with one of the many experienced Social Security disability law firms.
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Gathering medical evidence

With a Social Security disability lawyer working for you, you won’t even have to gather all the records and medical information. He will do it for you. He will fill out the application by either meeting with you in person or over the phone. Either way, it is his role to make sure everything is in place and nothing has been forgotten or left incomplete.
The medical records and information that you present to Social Security is the bread and butter of your case. An experienced disability lawyer will make sure you have everything you need. All you have to do is sign a medical release form and your lawyer will take it from there.
They will talk to your health care providers to get the most accurate information and sort through your records and history to provide the Social Security Administration with the best possible information to get an approval. It is so much easier to let the disability lawyers take care of this for you instead of having to plow through it all yourself.
If your application is denied, then your lawyer really goes to work filing your appeal and preparing for the Administrative Hearing in front of a federal judge. There are strict timelines for the appeals and your lawyer will stay on top of that and make sure they are met.
Between 60-70% of all Social Security Disability claims are won at the hearing level. If you don’t use a lawyer at any other time, use one for the hearing. You need to be prepared for this hearing and your disability lawyer will make sure that you are. This hearing requires you to present witnesses and testify for yourself. Your lawyer will help you prepare and succeed through this process.

Remember two important things through this process:

  • You are not required to use an attorney when you file for either Social Security Disability and/or Supplemental Security Income.
  • The fee any disability lawyer can charge you is set by law and cannot for any reason exceed that amount. So, you know exactly what you will be charged.
  • You will not be charged at all unless you win your claim.

Remember, you’re disabled. You’re probably in pain or fatigued. No, you don’t have to use a disability attorney but your odds of winning your case improve dramatically if you do.
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About The Author

Susan Dover

Susan is one of the leading Social Security experts in the country. She is driven by a passion for helping people access the benefits that they have earned.

10 thoughts on “What Does a Disability Lawyer Do?

  1. I was granted Social Security Disability with my first application and assessment in 2015.
    During the last two years I suffered a spinal cord injury due to an infection. I was hospitalized at St. Peter Providence Hospial from May 25 2017 until August 11 2017.
    I was transferred to the VA Hospital in Seattle on August 11, 2017 and retained until November 23, 2017, when I was released. The VA has increased my disability status to a catastrophic disability level.
    I need to apply for a change in my disability severity level with Social Security.

    1. Hope your doing better with the benefits from this program. I hope to see my form any day now in the mail so my lawyer can get to back pay and a decision. The following month after I touchdown looks great.

    2. Gosh so sorry to hear of the devastating injury. Hope you are better. Glad to hear you qualified on 1 st attempt. Well deserving. I was told I was a shoo-in to win my SSDI case with numerous issues including a back injury and having both knees replaced but not happy how they turned out. Left one is very weak still 1.5 yrs later. By the way i was denied on my 1st attempt, then again on my appeal, have hearing in couple months.I can walk very far or stand very long but a few mins and can’t work. So much for a shoo-in to win my case huh? Sea people mowing grass shoveling snow re-roofing their house and they’re on disability. And I have all I can do to walk from the house out to the car holding my breath due to pain. So wrong how they decide who qualifies n who don’t. Good for you my friend. Get well stay positive.

  2. I live in center Texas. I saw Sicily Morgan and was diagnosed in October 2017 with social anxiety and depression. I was twenty three when my onset date of October 17 is set. My credits for the program mental was 6 but I filed over 2500. It’s been fourty business days since November 13. I called on that day for a lawyer for my disability claim is pass dds it’s in lufkin at the fourth step. Lol no appeal.the receipt is what I’m Waiting for. This step gets me benefits the next month. It’s been two months since the exam. The mail and phone is how I done the entire process. After this step the following month looks like my award notice and back pay. Super excited. Hate checking the mail.

  3. That is nice a disability attorney will give me the best possible odds for getting my application granted. Maybe it would be a good idea to get one. If someone had a disability attorney, I would think they would want the best odds that they could get.

  4. Well I was denied on my 1st application and then on my appeal. I even hired an attorney from an online site at the beginning. Now my hearing is 2 months away and I have Not even got one call from an attorney yet. I’m beginning to wonder. I’ve done all the leg work, phone calls, getting medical records faxes, Dr appts notes faxed and dates. When I ask when is attorney going to ask me questions or is he? They claim oh he will n he will meet with you early b4 hearing on what to say. I’m like are you kidding me. At this point it doesn’t matter to me if I win really. I’m getting LTD pay now and will til I reach 65 and it pays much more than SSDI will. Besides this LTD Co. will take all my back pay every dollar of it. I get $0. I’m told if I win I could get close to $35-40,000 in back pay off going on 2 yrs now. Plus any back pay my 17 yr son will get I will have to pay back because they claim I’m receiving my max now and any income would be an overpayment and I’d be expected to pay back. Is this legal. My son deserves this if I win. But I get penalized for it and must pay back. Not fair. I paid put of my check for 26-27 yrs for this LTD ins. if I ever needed it. Now I’m receiving it I get penalized for winning back pay. They take it all because I’m receiving roughly 1100 more than I would if I was on SSDI they claim. They force you to sign the agreement or would cut my LTD pay to $500 a month instead of the normal (7x) at least more than this. I couldn’t live on the $500. I refused to sign and got a letter that my next check would be less than $1000 from now on. So I had to sign the document. So at this point I don’t care to win to give them all that back pay 30-40,000 then habe to pay the 15,000 my son could receive as well. He you heard of such a thing. I feel I’m a double loser actually. The lawyer and Co.will get paid 6000 and I feel I’ve done everything but fax the papers to SSA. All my papers I filled out they didn’t retype it was all written by me and my statements on my medical issues, what I can do or can’t. They did nothing. So they get paid n the LTD ins co. wins n takes all back pay PLUS I’d habe to pay back my son’s back pay award. I lose twice is how I see it. So why win. Just continue to collect LTD til 65. I’m only 51 now. I just have to complete all appeals and if I lose the hearing then the LTD pays me from here on out. No more applying for SSDI. What should I do. I don’t want to win if I’m not going to benefit. Plus have to pay back all my son’s award. What’s the benefit of winning the hearing. I’m guaranteed this LTD pay til 65 if I lose my hearing. So I win by losing. That’s unheard of. See my point. I’m less than 2 months away from my hearing date n so not looking forward to having to drive 110 miles each way to attend it but I have to attend. I can’t miss it. But you ever hear of someone who doesn’t want to win their case due to reasons like mine. This attorney hasn’t called once or done anything that I’m aware of. Case mgrs handled all my paperwork and faxed not an attorney. I need advice. Why won cause I will lose in the end. That’s how I see it. 30-40,000 in back pay. I deserve that I’m the one suffering everyday. Filed bankruptcy for the 1st time over this as well. Life changing experience and I lose if I win. I could use that 30-40,000 if I win back pay. I paid on every week out of my check for this I thought. They don’t see it that way. What can I do. Any suggestions. Got 2 months to b4 hearing and I have to follow thru with it. I just don’t feel I want to win. You wouldn’t either right or am I not seeing the big picture. Losing out on 40,000 back pay is so hurtful to me. I deserve that backpack if I win. My son deserves it. His dad list everything. Oh and I was terminated from my employer after 33 yrs here almost 2 wks ago on top of it. Only job I ever had since I turned 18. I’d be a 3x loser is how I see it. Now I have no health care insurance for my family. I been looking and been told I’d qualify for subsidy and not have to make monthly payment for medical just for my vision n dental. So that sounds too good to be true. But we shall soon find out. Be nice if all I had to pay was $60 month as quoted. Cheaper than medicare n coverage is 80/20 w/$750 deductible, $15 prescription for generics, $30 office calls. Sounds great. Why take medicare they don’t cover this cheap. Any advice would be accepted n appreciated. Help please.

  5. Thank you so much for breaking everything down to us. It’s very confusing and it’s easily understandable now.

  6. I appreciate that you talked about disability attorneys and how they are able to make sure you get your rights and can be your go-between to the Social Security Administration. My cousin’s daughter is disabled and she just recently turned 23, so she asked us to look into tips about disability attorneys for her. We will keep these tips in mind and get a professional to help my cousin and her daughter out.

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