Nearly a million people a year are denied benefits for no other reason than someone made a mistake in the application process. The opportunities for error are many and the consequences severe.
You do not have to hire an attorney to help you file a long term disability claim with an insurance company or a disability claim with the Social Security Administration, nor do you have to hire one to appeal a denied claim. You should know, however, that clients with legal representation are far more likely to achieve a favorable outcome than those who choose to go it alone. Furthermore, attorneys who specialize in disability law are more successful than attorneys who only occasionally take on such cases.
Let’s address the issue of legal fees first, because fear of having to pay something up front is the number one reason people try to manage their disability claims alone. I never take a fee up front for SSD or SSI cases. I get paid when you get paid, and I always try to offer offer a fee schedule that meets my clients’ needs.
More than two thirds of all initial Social Security disability applications are denied, according to the most recent data from the Social Security Administration. Shockingly, more than half of all denials are rejected for reasons that have nothing to do with the applicant’s disability or medical condition. They are rejected because of “technical” flaws in the application. Think about that for a moment. Nearly a million people a year who may actually deserve benefits are initially denied for no other reason than someone made a mistake in the application process.
This is why the Social Security Advisory Board recommends that applicants involve an experienced third party representative, stating that “representatives should have a thorough knowledge of SSA policy, take a comprehensive approach to documenting the claimant’s disabling conditions, and establish good communication with both the claimant and agency employees.”
Even good lawyers who don’t regularly practice disability law can make mistakes. The process is that complicated. Let me demonstrate:
To file for an appeal after reconsideration of a denied claim, the applicant must request a hearing within 60 days of receiving the reconsideration decision. A hearing request requires the completion of several forms: an SSA-3441, Disability Report-Appeal; SSA-827, Authorization to Disclose Information; HA-4631, Claimant’s Recent Medical Treatment and an HA-4632, Claimant’s Medications. But, the SSA says the applicant “must” complete forms SSA-3441 and SSA-827, and “should” complete forms HA-4631 and HA-4632. Well, do you or don’t you? If the applicant has worked since applying for disability benefits, they must also complete an HA-4633, Claimant’s Work Background. Is there new evidence to support your claim? Well, the evidence rules in social security cases are unique, so you better know if and how the new evidence can be admitted. And you can’t take too long figuring it out because the new evidence must be submitted within 10 days of filing the request for hearing. Failure to comply with this requirement often results in the judge declining to consider the evidence.
See what I mean? The opportunities for error are many and the consequences severe.
Most tasks are easier if you have done them before, and I have been doing this a very long time. I deal with all forms of disability applications and appeals daily. I know the process. I know the people involved and what they expect.
If you are disabled and need help, call me at 877-626-3501 or visit the Help Me Bill! page of this site and complete the simplified disability evaluation form, and someone from my office will contact you shortly to discuss your options.