Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Role of the Social Security Benefits Advocate

The application process for SSI or SSDI benefits is almost always long, typically daunting, and can generally be overwhelming. Moreover, the Social Security Administration rejects many initial applications.

This can deter many potential applicants from applying for benefits or appealing a denial of benefits. However, having a knowledgeable attorney assist with the application and/or appeal enhances one’s chances of being approved for benefits.

It is commonly believed that attorneys charge a significant amount of money up front for their services, and even more on an hourly basis. This is not the case with a social security disability lawyer. Disability attorneys are only paid if their client’s application is approved, with the attorney taking the lesser of twenty-five percent of a client’s disability backpay or $6,000. Very little and sometimes no money is required up front by the client.

In addition to preparing your application, a disability lawyer will represent their client at hearings and appeals. In that scenario, not only can the lawyer deliver a well-organized and fact-based argument, but the lawyer will know the law and regulations controlling Social Security benefits and can use that knowledge to the client’s advantage.

Finally, sometimes it is believed that an applicant should only contact a social security benefits lawyer once their claim has been denied. That is not the case. While a denied applicant can—and should—hire a lawyer to help him or her with their appeal, prospective applicants should speak with a lawyer before submitting their initial application as well.

Stephanie Merritt Driscoll is an attorney in Southern California whose practice focuses on social security advocacy.

Contact Attorney Driscoll at 949-359-1370 or online for a free consultation.

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