We see it too often in our Social Security Disability Law Practice. A potential client will contact us for the first time after their case has been lost before an Administrative Law Judge. When we ask why they did not use a lawyer to try their case the answers we almost always get is “my doctor said I was disabled and even wrote a letter,” or “I thought it was obvious from my records I was disabled”. Other times, we hear “I thought I couldn’t afford a lawyer.” You may want to check out social security online administration for more.
What these people did not understand, sadly, is that there is nothing obvious about Social Security Disability law. The regulations governing SSD, SSDI and SSI are very complex, even for lawyers who devote their entire practice to this area of the law. Here are some things to keep in mind that will help prove your disability to the Social Security Administration:
- Hire a lawyer with extensive experience in Social Security Disability law. This seems obvious…because it is. Attorney fees in social security disability cases are only paid if you win. The lawyer receives a percentage of the back benefits up to $5,300.00. The average attorney fees are much less. With the fees being so small compared to what is at stake, why would anyone try to go it alone? For information as to what you should look for in a Social Security disability lawyer.
- See your doctor regularly, even if you don’t have medical insurance. I know, seeing a doctor can be very expensive, but regular treatment is critical to proving your case.
- Document your disability impairments, symptoms and limitations with your doctor and be specific. When a doctor writes in his record “Mr. Smith is disabled” it is not very useful. On the other hand, when the doctor writes “Mr. Smith cannot sit or stand for more than 20 minutes at a time because of severe pain” or “Mr. Smith has shortness of breath and chest pain on even minor exertion”, we have much more to talk about with a social security judge.
These simple steps will greatly improve your chances of being awarded the social security disability benefits to which you entitled.If you’ve applied for social security disability benefits and haven’t been able to get your disability recognized, it’s not too late to bring a Social Security disability attorney on board now. Your next step will be to file a Request for Reconsideration, which must be filed within 60 days. Since the same committee that made the first decision makes the second, the odds are high that your application will be denied again.
In that case, your social security disability law attorney will be able to help you plan a case that will be presented to the Administrative Law Judge. Rather than relying on the previous decisions, the Administrative Law Judge will examine the evidence, listen to the expert opinions of your doctors and psychologists and then make a decision. This is the sole part of the process that you are actually able to speak and be seen by the judge.
Sometimes, the judge retains an additional medical expert to review your history and records and offer an opinion, as well as a vocational expert. The vocational expert will assess your employment background, education and skills, and physical limitations, and then make an assessment on your ability to hold a full-time job.The complexity of a social security disability benefits case can not be under-estimated, which is why it’s very important to work with an attorney who specializes in the field.