Monday, March 9, 2020

Disability Benefits Attorney: Strong Representation for a Successful Claim

If you have become disabled and expect to be disabled for at least a year, you probably want to file a Social Security Disability claim. Be prepared, though, the application and approval process is long, complicated, and sometimes very frustrating. With strong representation on your side, however, you’re less likely to just give up and more likely to get approved. When you hire a disability benefits attorney, the probability that you will have a successful claim is greatly improved.

Improving Probability for Success

A knowledgeable and experienced disability benefits attorney understands what needs to be done and when, as you go through the process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). There are many requirements, in terms of your eligibility as well as in terms of the type and amount of documentation that must be submitted, that can be confusing.

The initial approval rate for SSDI claims is relatively low. Only 23% of applicants are approved after submitting their claim and 12% are approved after they appeal or have their case reconsidered. The Social Security Administration (SSA) first weeds out applicants who are technically disqualified, then sends the rest to state disability determination services for medical evaluation. If the applicant is denied at that point, there are options for reconsideration and appeal.

Approximately half of SSDI applicants who have their claim denied initially then pursue an appeal. Eligibility criteria is strict, but a qualified disability benefits attorney will know the requirements and the process for submitting a successful claim for you.

Keeping Up with Changes

SSDI requirements can change from year to year. For example, SSA released a proposal in November 2019 that would require some SSDI recipients to more regularly prove that their medical conditions haven’t improved. Many recipients would have to take part in a more frequent continuing disability review (CDR), similar to a medical audit for those already proven to be medically disabled.

Changes in the Social Security Administration itself have also affected the application process. Since 2010, administrative funding has declined, which has impacted SSA’s customer service and resulted in longer wait times in offices and on the phone. There have also been staff cutbacks, leading to increased delays in processing applications.

An experienced disability benefits attorney keeps current on regulations and requirements, even as changes are made. The attorney can ensure that your application is completed properly to increase the possibilities that it will be successful.

Documentation and Questions

Your disability benefits attorney can help make sure that you are submitting all of the necessary documentation in your initial application and can help you answer the questions that may come back from the SSA after they review your application. When applying, you will need:

  • Information about yourself – name, date of birth, Social Security number, and other pertinent data about you and your minor children
  • Information about your medical condition – detailed information about your medical provider and examinations, and about your illness or injury
  • Information about your work – the name of your most recent employer, including your salary there, and a list of the jobs you’ve held for the past 15 years and any military service
  • Documentation – birth certificate, medical evidence, W-2 forms, and a list of other required forms.

Expediting Under Dire Circumstances

The wait for a decision can be long and disheartening. If you are disabled and have dire circumstances, such as a terminal medical condition or severe financial difficulties, your disability benefits attorney may be able to move your case through the system more quickly. At the very least, the attorney will be able to help with your initial application to ensure that all the required information is included – and will be there for you when the SSA has questions or if you need to file an appeal.

Searching for Strong Representation

When you decide to hire a disability benefits attorney, there are certain questions you will need to ask and qualities you will need to search for in strong representation for your successful SSDI claim. The disability benefits attorney should:

  • Have an in-depth knowledge of SSA, SSDI, and current requirements and regulations
  • Have strong litigation experience, to be successful in arguing and proving disability during a hearing when necessary
  • Be able to help you gather medical evidence to support your case for disability
  • Communicate successfully with SSA on your behalf.

Experienced Disability Benefits Attorneys are Here to Help You with Your Successful Claim

The professional team at Driscoll Salazar Disability Group has helped many clients with their SSDI claims. We know what SSA looks for when they review your application and we’ll work closely with you to provide them with the information they need for a successful claim.

To learn more about how a disability benefits attorney can help you, contact the Driscoll Salazar Disability Group by calling 949-359-1370.