There is no requirement that you must have an attorney to file for Social Security disability benefits, and many people choose to file an application on their own. However, when it comes time to apply for benefits, you may wonder whether it is better to have a disability lawyer on your side from the very start.
The truth is that having the right attorney handling your disability application can be highly beneficial in many ways. In order to learn how an attorney can help in your specific situation, contact a California law firm with extensive experience filing disability claims. Read on for general information about why it may be better to have an attorney on board before you even apply.
The first benefit of an attorney is not a legal or technical one – it is simply that having a lawyer can significantly reduce the stress and frustration you would certainly experience filing the application on your own. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a notoriously difficult organization to deal with, and you can experience many delays, roadblocks, and other obstacles during the disability application process. This can all be a lot to handle when you are already dealing with a serious disability.
Your attorney will handle every aspect of your application for you as possible, including communications with the SSA. We work to reduce delays and complications with your application, so you can begin receiving benefits as soon as you can. This allows you to focus on your health while we focus on your disability application.
Completing the Application
You may think that a disability application simply involves answering a few questions. However, the application involves completely many documents with highly detailed questions regarding your work history and daily life. People tend to provide answers that are overly-simplified and that do not properly represent the extent of their struggles and restrictions.
For example, if the application asks you to list your regular chores, you might list vacuuming and folding laundry. In reality, when you start either of these tasks, your back starts to hurt so badly after only five minutes that you have to rest for a significant period of time. While you eventually finish the task, one round of vacuuming or laundry folding could take you hours to complete. The SSA did not get this information, so they assume you are capable of completing such tasks without issue, and can actually use the answer against your application.
An attorney will know how to tell the full story necessary to portray the effects of your condition. Many applicants believe that less is more, but this is usually not the case when it comes to disability applications. You do not want to seem like you are exaggerating, either, so a lawyer can help you walk the fine line that will put you in the best position possible with the SSA.
Another important role of an attorney is to determine what types of evidence you need to submit with your application. While the SSA will obtain your medical records from providers, they do not always collect all the necessary and relevant records needed to make the right decision. They can even deny your claim if they failed to collect the necessary medical records.
When you have a lawyer before you apply, the lawyer can identify all the records that the SSA should have and obtain them, sending them directly to the SSA. An attorney who regularly handles SSA claims will know which records are needed and will contact the right medical providers and send the evidence to Social Security to ensure they have all the information they need to evaluate your claim.
Knowing Your Case
Many lawyers jump in on disability cases after someone has already received a denial because they want assistance with the appeal. While it is always possible for a lawyer to learn about your case at that time, it is often beneficial for an attorney to be familiar with your application from the beginning.
When a lawyer prepares your application and knows which evidence was presented to the SSA at the start, they can be ready to fight a denial right away. This can often save time and get the appeal process going right away.
Overall, having a lawyer on your side when you apply for disability can benefit you in many ways. It can reduce the chance of delays and denials, as well as allow you to focus on your life while you trust your application is in good hands.