Why should I hire an attorney?
1. A social security disability (SSD) attorney knows what evidence is important to submit. The single most important factor to winning a claim is having the right medical evidence. Applicants frequently don’t know exactly what to give the Social Security Administration (SSA) and may end up submitting too much irrelevant information and too little of what matters. Represented applicants are more likely to win because, in part, disability attorneys know how to develop the evidence needed for an approval for that client’s particular medical conditions. When Kathryn gets a case, she reviews the applicant’s file carefully to determine whether any additional tests or medical records are necessary. She will then work with the applicant to get the necessary records and submit them on time to the SSA. She will also make sure that irrelevant information is not submitted, which is important if the claim goes to the hearing level, because administrative law judges (ALJs) often become aggravated if they have to sift through pages of irrelevant records.
2. Most SSD applications are initially denied. From 2001 to 2010, nearly 53 percent of disability claims were denied, according to the Social Security Administration. The percentage of applicants awarded benefits at the initial claims level averaged 28 percent. About 3 percent of applicants were awarded benefits at the reconsideration level, which comes after an initial denial. About 13 percent of applicants obtained SSD benefits after an appeals hearing. A qualified Social Security disability lawyer can help you improve your claim’s chance of being approved by making sure that your application is complete, accurate and in the proper format.
3. Many SSD applications are denied for technical reasons. In 2010, 31 percent of SSD applications (more than 878,000) were rejected for reasons that had nothing to do with the applicant’s disability or medical condition. They were rejected based on “technical denials” before medical facts of the case were even considered. Having a lawyer like Kathryn can help you avoid a claim denial based on a bureaucratic technicality.
4. SSD attorneys are effective. In a report released in September 2012, the Social Security Advisory Board said the help of a third-party representative has “the potential to greatly expedite the disability determination process, while ensuring that the claimant receives the most informed determination possible at the initial claims stage.” The study notes that any third party can assist an SSD applicant, but says that “ideally, 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.”
5. Kathryn Dicus works on a contingency-fee basis. SSD lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis. Legal fees depend on the awards we obtain for our clients. You won’t pay any fees to us up front and won’t ever pay us a fee until we help you obtain SSD benefits.