Part II: Hire A Lawyer To File My Social Security Disability Claim?


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Part II: Should I Hire a Lawyer to File My Social Security Disability Claim?

Published on January 31st, 2021 by Eric Slepian

Help With Your Initial SSI or SSDI Application

When you work with a knowledgeable Social Security disability lawyer in Phoenix, AZ from the very beginning, you are more likely to have your claim approved at the outset. Disability attorneys understand what a claims examiner looks for, and they (or one of their paralegals or assistants) will help you fill out your application in a way that makes it clear that your condition(s) meet the listings’ criteria, or that you are unable to work due to your limitations.

Additionally, because disability attorneys are paid on a contingency basis (only if your claim is approved), they are especially motivated to speak with your doctors – or at the very least obtain detailed, written statements from them – as well as track down important test results and medical records. Often, medical professionals are more likely to respond to an attorney’s request for documentation or a supporting statement than to the patient’s direct request.

Generally, when it comes to severe physical disabilities that easily meet the criteria of a listing, you may not need to hire an attorney for the initial application (as long as you feel you can fill it out completely and competently without assistance). However, if you don’t have complete medical records and/or test results that prove your disability, hiring a lawyer – or at least consulting with one – may be a good idea.

When it comes to filing an application for a mental disability, it can be extremely difficult to meet a listing for this type of claim, both at the initial application stage and the hearing stage. Therefore, it makes sense to again, at least consult with an attorney when it comes to mental or cognitive conditions.

Working with an Attorney can Save Time and Money

You might choose to hire an attorney to assist with the initial application simply to avoid waiting a year or two (sometimes longer) for a hearing date. Remember, when a lawyer helps only with the initial application, and you get approved without having to go through the hearing stage, the fee you will pay will be rather low. That’s because fees are based on backpay, and the amount of backpay you receive will be significantly less than if your case drags on for a year or two while you are waiting for a hearing date.

Assistance at the Hearing Stage

It becomes more important to hire an attorney if you’ve been denied at the initial application stage. Most people are unfamiliar with the Social Security system in general, let alone knowing how to prepare a disability case for the hearing stage. A Social Security attorney in Phoenix, AZ has the necessary expertise and understanding of the Social Security rules and regulations to help you win at your hearing.

Your attorney may have you practice answering various questions the judge might ask you so you are prepared to testify honestly and in a way that’s helpful to your case. This will also help you feel less anxious about testifying at the hearing.

There will be a vocational expert (VE) present at your hearing, whose responsibility it is to testify about your ability to perform certain types of work, and your attorney will have a chance to cross-examine them. An experienced Social Security disability attorney will know how to ask the VE about mental or physical requirements of jobs that the VE tells the judge you are qualified to do (if any), and whether these jobs are available in adequate numbers – to hopefully demonstrate that there aren’t actually jobs available you are able to do.

Without the assistance of an attorney, it will be difficult for you to argue your case successfully, and you might not fully understand why it might be impossible for you to work at these suggested jobs. Additionally, your lawyer will likely be familiar with how a certain judge runs his or her hearings, and will be able to present evidence accordingly.

Am I More Likely to Have a Successful Outcome if I Hire a Disability Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ?

Statistics consistently show that claimants who choose to work with a disability lawyer are approved about twice as often as those who decide to proceed without the benefit of legal counsel. However, if your disability case is extremely clear cut and you have accumulated a significant amount of medical evidence to h3ly back up your claims, you might be successful on your own.

Conversely, if you are unsure of how to prepare your application, lack conclusive medical records or test results, are seeking disability based on a mental condition, or simply don’t want to take a chance on having to wait upwards of two years for a hearing date, you should consider reaching out to a dedicated disability lawyer in Phoenix, AZ. At Slepian Smith Ellexson, PLLC we are here to help – call to book your free case evaluation today.

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