Social Security Disability

If you’re thinking about hiring a disability attorney to help with your Social Security case, you should first understand the costs and benefits of having a lawyer on your side. The costs are fairly straightforward: disability attorneys charge a fee regulated by federal law, which is usually the lesser of 25% of your disability backpay or $6,000. (Costs can increase if your case goes to the Appeals Council or federal court, but generally you won’t pay more than $6,000.) Little or no money is required up-front, and you’re only charged a fee if you win your case. The benefits of hiring a disability lawyer are many, and worth going over in some detail. It’s also important to consider at what stage of the process an attorney should get involved.
The Social Security Act authorizes the provision of benefits to specific demographic groups including the elderly, disabled and blind. Programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as well as related programs like Medicare and Medicaid, help make these benefits available. Taxes provide financing for these programs and the amount that each person pays will vary. There are a variety of Social Security laws in place governing how these programs are run, how a person can qualify for benefits, and what amount of income those benefits can provide. Explore the links in this section to learn more about the body of Social Security law.

The most important reason to hire an attorney to help with your disability case is that your chances of being approved are significantly increased. While it’s certainly true that some people who apply on their own are approved for benefits, statistics show that, everything else being equal, Social Security is more likely to approve an applicant who’s represented by legal counsel than one who isn’t. From the initial application to the hearing level and beyond, disability attorneys understand how to present a case in the light most favorable to their clients. On the initial application, your lawyer can offer advice on your “alleged onset date” of disability, argue that your condition meets one of the listed impairments in Social Security’s “blue book,” and help you focus on the facts that will be most persuasive to Social Security. At the reconsideration and hearing levels (the first and second level of appeal in most states), your lawyer can collect and submit relevant medical evidence, obtain an opinion from your doctor, draft a detailed brief to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and prepare you for the judge’s questions at the hearing. Your attorney will also elicit helpful testimony from you at the hearing and may cross-examine the Vocational Expert or Medical Expert to demonstrate that you’re unable to work.