There are significant advantages to utilizing a disability attorney or professional disability representative for your disability claim
Disability attorneys and representatives are your partners in the disability claims process. Fundamentally, their job is to increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome. There is a lot of work that needs to get done to present a credible disability claim to the Social Security Administration – and your disability attorney or representative does most of the heavy lifting.
What, specifically, does a disability attorney or representative do?
You can hire a disability attorney or representative at any point in the disability claims process. What they do for you is based on the point in the process that you hire them to work for you. This is because the nature of the work changes as your disability claim progresses through the Social Security Administration process. Here is what your disability attorney or representative does for you at each level of your disability claim:
Initial Application Level
Ideally, you will retain the services of a disability attorney or representative from the beginning of your disability claim. This allows them to be involved in important decisions regarding the basic elements of your claim, such as your Alleged Onset Date (AOD), selection of relevant medical evidence, communication of how your impairments affect your day-to-day activities, communication of why specifically you cannot perform your past work, what to include in the list of your Past Relevant Work (PRW), etc. Additionally, they can help resolve any matters related to your non-medical eligibility for benefits. For example, if you are currently working, they can advise you regarding important concepts such as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), unsuccessful work attempts, citizenship issues, etc. While these non-medical eligibility rules are relevant throughout the process, addressing them at the Initial Application level ensures your claim has the best chance for approval. Once your claim is sent to Disability Determination Service (DDS) for a medical review, your attorney or representative is instrumental in obtaining the correct medical evidence that supports your claim. They also advise you regarding how to complete Activities of Daily Living Questionnaires (ADLs) and assist with Consultative Examination (CE) scheduling and attendance. Your attorney or representative is the primary interface between your claim and the DDS Examiner who is the adjudicator (decision-maker) on your claim. As such, they answer any questions that may arise and will solicit your input as needed. They also ensure the decision is rendered and received! It is incredible how many claims are “lost” at DDS. With competent representation, this type of problem is identified and resolved. If you need help filing an Initial Application for disability benefits, contact us now.
If you are denied at the Initial Application level, your disability attorney or representative will timely file the appeal within the 60-day appeal window. At competent firms such as Quikaid, these appeals are filed on the date they are received which expedites the appeal process and, ultimately, your approval. If you are approved at the Initial Application level, your disability attorney or representative will ensure you understand what benefits you will receive, when, and why. And they will ensure you get paid – because they don’t get paid unless you do!
The Reconsideration level is similar to the Initial Application level in many regards. Basically, at the Reconsideration level, you are asking Social Security to reconsider the merits of your claim. Once the claim is received at the Disability Determination Service (DDS), it is assigned to a different Examiner than the one who reviewed the claim during the Initial Application level – but they work in the same office, and they do the same thing. It is just a different set of eyeballs looking at basically the same facts. During the Reconsideration level, your disability attorney or representative will ensure any new medical evidence is obtained and submitted. The DDS Examiner may also request additional ADL questionnaires be completed and he or she may schedule a Consultative Examination (CE) with a Social Security doctor. Your disability attorney or representative is the point person for all of this. They get notified regarding any development in the case, and they make sure the entire claim remains “on track.” They assist with the completion of the ADLs, ensure the claim has maximum credibility and encourage you to receive medical treatment to support your claim. Your attorney or representative is the primary interface between your claim and the DDS Examiner who is the adjudicator at the Reconsideration level. They again ensure the decision is received in a timely manner. If you are denied at the Reconsideration level, your disability attorney or representative will timely file the appeal within the 60-day appeal window. At competent firms such as Quikaid, these appeals are filed on the date they are received which expedites the appeal process and, ultimately, your approval. If you are approved at the Reconsideration level, your disability attorney or representative will ensure you understand what benefits you will receive, when, and why.
Every level in a disability claim is critical, but the disability Hearing level is arguably the most critical. The wait time for a Hearing is so long, so your patience is exhausted – and the stakes are high. Often, we get claims approved that have $50,000 or more in retroactive payments, and critical monthly benefits, not to mention Medicare insurance benefits. You also have the best chance to get your disability claim approved at the Hearing level, so you need to take full advantage of the opportunity to win. There are no “do overs” in a disability Hearing. So your disability attorney or representative takes this level particularly seriously, and there is a lot of work to do to be prepared to win.
Here are the key activities related to your disability Hearing:
(2) prepare you for the Hearing – including what to wear, what to discuss, what to avoid, what to emphasize, etc.;
(3) vigorously present your case the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), including articulating the theory of disability – why you should be approved;
(4) ensure any post-Hearing matters are cleared up or otherwise addressed;
(5) ensure the decision is received in a timely manner;
(6) ensure you understand the decision;
(7) ensure you understand your benefits, including how they are calculated and when you can expect to receive them;
(8) ensure any obstacles to receipt of your payments are addressed;
(9) ensure you understand the merits of an appeal if the decision is Partially Favorable (PF) or Unfavorable (UF).
In summary, your disability attorney or representative earns their keep during the Hearing level. This is where strong representation can truly make the difference between being approved and being denied. If you are at the Hearing level of your claim, and do not have representation, in our opinion, this is a mistake! Contact us now, we will provide a free case evaluation, and we will demonstrate to you specifically how we can help win your disability Hearing. You will not regret enlisting our support.