Filing For Disability In Maryland
When you file for Social Security, you are asked to complete forms about your daily activities and your work history. The answers you provide in these forms are very important, and are often used to help decide your case. Often people fill these forms out and do not give the full story, for example under chores they will simply write vacuum when what is really happening is that you vacuum for 10 minutes until your back hurts too much to continue, and then you must rest for 30 minutes before you can vacuum again. If Social Security does not get the full story, they will likely use your answers against you. Having an attorney who goes over these forms with you to make sure Social Security gets the full story can be vital to your case.
Preparing You For Questioning
You may be nervous before your hearing, which can make you more likely to make a mistake. Your attorney will be very familiar with the procedure of hearings than you will be, and can tell you what to expect. This can help allay any fears you have before your hearing.
Your lawyer will no doubt want to practice asking you questions the judge might ask and helping you with your answers . Being well prepared to answer the judge’s questions can calm your nerves and make it less likely that you’ll say something that might inadvertently hurt your case.
When Should You Call An Ssdi Lawyer
Generally, you should contact an SSDI attorney the moment you start thinking about filing for disability. Most disability attorneys offer a free consultation.
Some people choose to go through the initial application without legal help. While you can still do so successfully, having a lawyer from the onset of the process can help you get approved faster. Thats because your attorney can accurately evaluate the strength of your case and help you make it stronger.
If you still choose to go through the initial application alone and unfortunately get a denial, then you can still hire an SSDI lawyer. Your lawyer will help you move the case through the system faster. This is especially crucial when you have a terminal illness, or your financial situation is dire.
You could ask your attorney to send a request for an OTR decision to the judge. If the request is accepted, your claim might be approved without a hearing.
Are there situations when you shouldnt contact an SSDI lawyer? Well, if youve already submitted your initial application and are waiting for a response, its best to receive the answer first before hiring an attorney.
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Knowledge Of The Ssd Process
A disability in the family can hinder you from keeping up with your financial obligations. Loss of income from your disability could make it difficult to pay medical bills, mortgage, utility bills, car loan or daily living expenses. Social Security disability benefits can help resolve these financial problems. With legal representation, your chances of getting approved for these benefits are much higher.
Social Security attorneys are knowledgeable about the SSD process and can provide valuable input into making your claim. They can inform you about your disability eligibility as well as programs you qualify for and help you apply for the maximum benefits for which youre eligible. If youre in a special case such as applying for disability benefits for a child, this can be particularly important. Your attorney can also monitor the progress of your claim.
How To Choose A Disability Attorney
If you believe you are eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration it is never easy to win your claim and many first applications are denied so that appeals have to be lodged. To avoid a denial it is recommended you should consider hiring a disability attorney to help you through the applications process. However, there are a number of things you should consider when choosing the right attorney for you. These include making sure that your attorney:
- is licensed
- has the ability to listen
- is patient
- makes good judgments
- has good knowledge and experience of disability benefits legal cases
- has a sense of humor which helps to lower tension and break down barriers when negotiations are underway.
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What Is A Long
Broadly, a long-term disability is an injury or illness that prevents a person from working, or severely limits their ability to work, for an extended period. However, every insurance company has its own unique and specific long-term disability definition. For example, some insurers only consider injuries or illnesses that prevent you from working in any occupation to be long-term disabilities. Others are more lenient and provide benefits if you are unable to work in your regular or own occupation.
Do I Need A Lawyer If Im Applying For Disability Benefits For The First Time
Yes, its a good idea to use a lawyer for your initial application. The Social Security Administration denies a large percentage of first-time applications. And, the major reason is incomplete medical records and insufficient documentation.
Further, if your claim is denied, you may have to wait a year for an appeals hearing. When a lawyer helps complete your application, your odds of being approved the first time are greatly increased.
A disability lawyer will make sure your application contains the information the SSA requires in order to approve your benefits. In addition, if your claim is denied, you will already have an advocate who is ready to fight for the benefits you deserve.
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What Does A Disability Attorney Do Understanding Their Role In Your Case
You may be wondering how a Social Security Disability lawyer can improve your chances so much, and whether you can trust one with such a critical case. Your ability to survive financially likely depends on the outcome.
Lets start with trustworthiness and ethical behavior.
Disability attorneys must comply with the SSAs Rules of Conduct and Standards of Responsibility.
When you hire a top-rated lawyer who is familiar with the SSAs procedures and the disability claims process, you can expect them to respect your confidentiality and do everything in their power to increase the likelihood that your claim is approved.
Now here are some specific reasons for hiring an attorney for your SSDI or SSI claim.
- You wont have to travel to the local Social Security office and wait in line. Each year, millions of people apply for SSDI or SSI benefits. Many go to the Social Security field office to apply for benefits, submit information about their case, and talk to disability claim examiners. This is a hassle. Instead of spending your time in line or waiting on the phone for the next available Social Security employee to take your call, let your disability attorney take care of communicating with the SSA.
- Your attorney will obtain and review your Social Security file to make sure everything is correct. Ive lost track of the number of times the SSA has submitted information from the wrong claimant into my clients file.
Why Hire A Disability Attorney
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 , your lawyer can collect and submit relevant medical evidence, obtain an opinion from your doctor, draft a detailed brief to the Administrative Law Judge , 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.
At the next stages of appeal, the Appeals Council and federal court, your lawyer can craft sophisticated legal arguments to show that Social Security wrongly denied your case.
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How Can I Contact You
When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at or . Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.
How Much Will You Pay
Typically, there are no fees for an initial consultation, so its best to research your options on this.
As well, you wont pay any fees until you actually win your case for a claim. And then, when you do win, youll normally pay 25% of the back pay you receive.
So if you have a new claim, then the fee you pay as a percentage of a pretty small back pay amount should also be relatively meager.
But whatever the case, getting the proper benefit claim for your needs should improve your quality of life for years to come. Therefore, opting for a professional to develop the best claim within your rights makes logical sense for the future.
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By Working With The Dds Examiner Or The Social Security Office
It can be intimidating contacting the Social Security office or testifying before a judge at a hearing. An attorney can take care of many of these details for you. Your attorney knows what to say to strengthen your case and can be a powerful voice for you. Sometimes seemingly minor pieces of evidence or innocuous statements mean the difference between a successful disability benefits claim and a denial.
Experts Know The Arguments Most Likely To Win A Case
There are numerous “arguments” that can be used to win a disability claim. An attorney can identify the argument that will work best because he or she knows and understands Social Security’s rules and regulations on which they are based.
Once the attorney has decided on the best argument, he or she can determine how to meet the requirements of the rules and regulations using the facts of the case. This also means that an attorney can anticipate weaknesses in a case and decide how best to manage them. These arguments can be difficult to understand without being specifically trained in disability law.
Here are a few examples of arguments, or theories, for why an applicant is disabled:
- the combination of the applicant’s impairments prevents the claimant from working
- the grid rules direct a finding of disabled
- the applicant’s medical condition meets or equals a listing
- the applicant has both exertional and non-exertional impairments that prevent the claimant from working, or
- the vocational expert improperly used the applicant’s past work when determining whether there were jobs the applicant could still do.
For more on what to expect of your lawyer, see our section on Disability Lawyers & Advocates.
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Can A Disability Lawyer Help Me Determine Which Benefits To Apply For
The Social Security disability program can be confusing to first-time applicants. Therefore, its a good idea to enlist the aid of a disability lawyer before you apply for benefits.
There are two basic types of disability benefits: Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income .
Social Security disability is also known as Social Security Disability Insurance and Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance .
These benefits are for workers who have a long-term disabling injury or illness and meet the other criteria established by the SSA.
The second category is Supplemental Security Income , which is need-based. These benefits are provided to disabled children and adults with limited income who meet specific eligibility requirements.
When Is The Right Time In The Application Process To Hire An Attorney
In many cases, people do not feel they need to hire an attorney to help them with the application process until they reach the third level requesting a hearing before an ALJ.
You may or may not need the help of a disability attorney during your initial application process, or even during the next phase, the reconsideration appeal. These stages mostly require completing necessary paperwork and going to medical appointments if the SSA believes it is necessary for them to decide your application.
This does not mean, however, that asking an attorney to help you through this unusual process is a bad idea. Experienced attorneys can help you win your case at the application level remember 30 percent of cases are still approved at the initial level or during the next reconsideration phase.
In these cases, the attorneys can help you gather the evidence that you need to establish the severity of your condition, which plays a key role in the SSA determining your eligibility. This is especially the case when the SSA initial reviewer is looking at whether your condition prevents you from meeting the SGA level.
Most times, however, it is during the request for hearing from an ALJ that claimants turn for help from an experienced Social Security disability lawyer. At this level of the application process, an experienced attorney can make an enormous difference in many ways:
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Questions To Ask An Attorney
When you meet with a Social Security disability attorney, there are several questions you need to ask:
- How much experience do you have handling Social Security cases involving my disabling condition?
- How long have you been in business?
- Will you prepare and file all paperwork in my case?
- Do you contact my doctors and health care providers for records?
- Do you attend all appointments and hearings with me at the Social Security Administration?
- When do I receive updates about my case?
- Can I call with questions or concerns?
- Do you have clients that can provide recommendations?
Experience is one of the most important qualities to look for when hiring a disability lawyer. However, you also want to ensure that you feel comfortable with the attorney, and the attorney has excellent communication skills.
Hiring A Representative To Appeal Your Claim
If your claim is denied or you are otherwise unhappy with the outcome, you may file a reconsideration appeal . While some claimants may seek representation at this level, reconsideration appeals usually result in a denial. Therefore, it can make more sense to wait until you get a hearing in front of an administrative law judge , which is the second appeals level.
Statistics show that claimants are twice as likely to be approved at a disability benefits hearing if they have an attorney or non-attorney representative. A representative can do the following on your behalf before and during the hearing:
- Gather the necessary medical records
- Obtain physicians’ opinions of your condition
- Thoroughly assess your medical records
- Prepare you for questions asked by the Administrative Law Judge
- Ask the vocational expert critical questions during cross-examination
Also, an attorney or non-attorney representative likely is familiar with the various judges you are likely to face at your hearing. As such, your representative can adjust his or her approach to the hearing accordingly.
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Do I Need A Lawyer To Handle My Ltd Claim
Deciding whether or not to hire an attorney to handle your LTD case is a personal choice. With adequate preparation and information, you can effectively file your own long-term disability claim. But if you choose to do it yourself, you need to be aware of the potential risks involved. Missing a deadline, providing improper medical reports or submitting an incomplete application are a few common mistakes that can jeopardize your claim.
When you negotiate directly with an insurance company, its also important to realize these companies do not have your best interests in mind.
The people who review disability claims are often hired by the insurance company, and theyre always working for the benefit of their shareholders. The more disability claims they approve, the less profit for their bottom line which is their primary concern.
Unfortunately, having a legitimate disability doesnt guarantee an approval. The outcome of your case is largely dependent on how well your application is put together.
If you want to maximize the chances of successfully resolving your claim, an experienced long-term disability lawyer can provide a wealth of expert knowledge and advice to help you achieve a favourable outcome.
A Man Who Represents Himself
There is an old adage that states that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. In some Social Security Disability cases, this may prove true. If you decide to represent yourself during your disability appeal and you lose your case because of it, you will likely have to re-apply for benefits all over again.
This resets the clock and delays your ability to receive Social Security Disability benefits. It can take more than a year to be scheduled for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Unless you want to wait another year during a second application process, you should probably have a disability attorney representing you the first time around.
While no attorney can guarantee that you will receive the disability benefits you are applying for, a qualified Social Security attorney can greatly increase your chances of being approved for Social Security Disability benefits.
If you do not have an attorney representing your case, you may waste years of time, effort and money trying to represent yourself. In the end, you may have to turn to the services of a qualified attorney when you are forced to file a second claim for Social Security Disability benefits.
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