What Are the Benefits of Obtaining the Advice and Assistance of a Social Security Lawyer?
Unless you are a Social Security lawyer with years of experience handling disability claims, it is difficult if not impossible to understand the myriad rules and regulations that might apply to your claim. Before attempting to apply for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), one needs to understand first which program might be appropriate for you: i.e., have worked sufficiently to qualify for the SSDI program, and will your income and assets allow you to qualify for the SSI program?
Once one understands whether they might qualify for one or both of the Social Security disability programs, one then needs to understand whether they might qualify under Social Security’s rules as a “disabled” individual. This requires an understanding of the five-step sequential evaluation process and how the Social Security Administration (SSA) might apply it to your particular case. Only an experienced Social Security disability practitioner can help you with the answers to these questions. A Social Security lawyer will be able to inform you whether you are likely going to meet the duration requirement (that is to say, whether one might be able to prove they either have remained disabled or will remain disabled for what will be a year or longer from a disabling condition), and whether attempts to return to work might interfere with this duration requirement. A knowledgeable disability lawyer can advise you as to whether you are receiving the right types of treatment with the correct specialists so as to establish that one has remained disabled from a severe medical impairment despite prescribed treatment as required under the rules.
Assuming an application is deemed appropriate from both a timing and evidentiary standpoint, then your Social Security disability lawyer will be able to assist you with filling out the application materials to ensure they accurately reflect and support your circumstances. Failing to fill out the paperwork timely, correctly and in an appropriately supportive fashion can result in an unnecessary denial of one’s claim that will bring about what can be a lengthy appeals process. Your lawyer will work to ensure that helpful medical reports are obtained from your doctors that spell out the severity of your medical condition(s) and the extent to which they impact your ability to undertake activities necessary to function not only your past lines of work, but also any other types of work for which you might be deemed suited by way of your age, education and experience.
Should it become necessary to proceed to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), your Social Security lawyer will work with you to ensure that all missing medical records are made available to the presiding ALJ prior to the hearing of your claim. Likewise, if represented by the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith, we always provide a legal brief (called on On the Record Request) to the ALJ well in advance of the hearing to apprise them as to why the claim should be resolved favorably prior to the need to appear at hearing.
Should, however, it become necessary to proceed to hearing, our office will ensure that the entire process is made clear to you ahead of time to ensure you feel prepared for what can be a very stressful day: from knowing who will be in the room with you, how the hearing will be conducted by the ALJ and the issues that are presented by your case (and the questions likely to be asked at the time of hearing). They will likewise advise you of the best way to articulate the problems you’ve been experiencing to ensure that a proper picture of your days, and how they have been impacted by your disabling conditions, are painted for the judge. Your legal counsel will appear with you at hearing to present opening and closing statements, to argue legal issues on your behalf before the ALJ and will ensure you are asked about the issues that are important to establishing your claim for disability.
Finally, in the event you are denied at hearing and require an additional appeal of your claim to the Appeals Council, having an experienced Social Security disability lawyer working with you all along will ensure that the right foundation has been laid throughout the application and appeals process (both in terms of evidence presented through medical records and medical reports from your various treatment providers), including through the testimony that is undertaken at hearing, to ensure that a strong basis for review at the Appeals Council remains. Your legal counsel will already be in place to assist you with the processing of the Request for Review of the ALJ decision, which will entail yet another legal brief from your lawyer.
With representation always being contingent on prevailing, it is always wise to have an attorney from the very beginning to ensure that everything that can be done, is done on your behalf to ensure the earliest possible favorable outcome.
For specific answers as to how our office might be able to assist you with your particular claim, contact the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith at (800) 773-8622.