Do I need a lawyer to get disability benefits from Social Security?
This question was recently asked on a public information site, and the answer is in two parts:
A. Not always.
B. It depends.
Many individuals filing for disability will do just fine by foregoing getting a disability lawyer until a social security disability hearing has been requested or until a case has been denied.
Just the same, though, many individuals, will benefit from getting representation earlier on in the process and here's why: An astounding number of disability claimants fail to realize that the disability appeal process is usually their best chance of getting approved for benefits and instead file new disability applications instead. Claimants who give up the opportunity to appeal and file new claims usually just get denied again.
Additionally, many claimants who actually intend to appeal somehow end up missing their appeal deadlines. It's sometimes difficult to imagine why this happens when the social security administration actually gives claimants a total of 65 days (60 days plus five more for mailing) in which to submit an appeal, but the answer in many cases probably has to do with the stress of being denied in the first place, and the effect of dealing with certain impairments on a day-to-day basis.
Claimants who miss disability appeal deadlines as well as claimants who fail to make use of the social security disability appeal process, would probably have been better off if they had had representation from the start.
Do you need a lawyer to get disability benefits? No. And, in fact, about three out of ten claimants who file for social security disability or SSI get approved for benefits and it's most likely that nearly all of these claimants are unrepresented.
Will some claimants benefit from early representation? Without a doubt, many will.
Do you need a lawyer to get disability if you have requested a disability hearing? Statistically, it is more than evident that claimants who go to hearings that are held by administrative law judges have a more favorable chance of winning when they are represented. In fact, statistics indicate than unrepresented claimants tend to win about 40 percent of the time while represented claimants tend to win about 60 percent of the time.
So, the answer to the question we started with (Do I need a lawyer to get disability benefits from Social Security?) is quite suitably "not always" and "it depends". However, for claimants who have a disability hearing in the near future, the answer to the question is "you really need to consider finding representation".
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