Which Do You Need To Do First: File For Disability Or Get A Lawyer?

by Jul 19, 2018Disability Benefits

Home » Blog » Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) » Which Do You Need To Do First: File For Disability Or Get A Lawyer?

Although it is not required to hire a lawyer before filing a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), many individuals would benefit from doing so.

If you get lawyer before filing for disability, you can take the stress of the process, which can be substantial, off your shoulders and hand them off to a professional who fights these claims for a living. A disability lawyer offers several advantages, including:

  • A lawyer helps you avoid many of the snags and pitfalls of the application process that trip up other applicants and cause them to receive a denial.
  • If you receive a denial for any reason, a lawyer can help you navigate the appeals process and can be invaluable when you get to the hearing stage.

A Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help You File Your Claim Quickly and With Minimal Stress

Some Common Misconceptions About Attorney Fees

Many applicants think it is better to file a claim for SSDI or SSI on their own and only hire a lawyer if they get denied. This belief comes from the mistaken idea that a lawyer will cost a lot of money or will take a huge chunk of their benefits once they get approved.

The truth is that most Social Security disability lawyers do not charge out of pocket. Instead, they work on a contingency basis, which means they do not earn a fee until they win benefits for the client.

The laws bar disability lawyers from taking any part of your monthly benefit checks. The only thing they can take is a portion of your back pay, the lump sum you receive upon approval to compensate you for waiting. There is a cap on the amount your lawyer can take from in most states; it usually amounts to 25 percent.

In Order to Receive Benefits, You Have to Start the Application Process — An Attorney Can Help

One reason many individuals do not start collecting SSDI or SSI as early as they could is that they delay starting the application process. A person may do this because the application process can be daunting and can induce high levels of anxiety.

If you are a go-getter not intimidated by paperwork and dealing with mazes of government red tape, you might feel comfortable taking on the application process by yourself. But if you find yourself putting it off because the whole thing overwhelms you, it might be time to hand off the responsibility to a professional—especially given that you have no risk in doing so, because you do not have to pay them out of pocket.

An Attorney Can Help You Avoid the Potential Pitfalls of the Process

The Social Security application process can be unpredictable, and that is one of the scariest and most frustrating things about it. You might have a strong claim, but a tiny error, omission, or oversight in your application turns it from a “yes” to a “no.” If you lack experienced with the process, you might not be aware of what these potential pitfalls are.

With a Social Security disability attorney, you get an advocate who has filed dozens, hundreds, or potentially thousands of SSDI and SSI applications on behalf of clients—more than enough to learn what causes claims to get approved and what causes them to get denied.

An attorney can look at your claim and tell you up front the challenges you might face based on your specific situation. Then, they can help you gather evidence and present your claim such that it overcomes those challenges.

Never Attend a Hearing Without a Lawyer

If you apply on your own and receive a denial, you have the option of appealing the SSA’s decision. Eventually, you can request a hearing in front of a judge where you can argue the merits of your case. Be aware that the judge will often have a medical expert and vocational expert on hand to lob questions at you. How you answer these questions can determine the outcome of the hearing—whether you get approved or denied.

Just as you would not defend yourself in front of a regular judge without a lawyer, you should appear before a Social Security judge without one. A lawyer knows what questions to expect as well as what answers will paint your case in the best light. Keep in mind again that even if a disability lawyer represents you at a hearing, you do not pay them until after you win.

Call 865-566-0800 Today to Schedule a Free Social Security Disability Attorney Consultation

The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, can help you win the Social Security disability benefits you deserve. If you are wondering whether to file for disability or get a lawyer, consider calling us today first at 865-566-0800.