Having a disability lawyer proves quite helpful when filing for disability benefits. In fact, most cases are denied without outside help. Going up against the Social Security Administration (SSA) without any backup is like going up against a well-equipped insurance company—they are more experienced, have more resources, and they hold the power, not you. However, you cannot rely fully on your disability lawyer in order to receive your benefits.
The Importance of a Disability Lawyer
Having an experienced lawyer to help with Social Security benefits can be one of your most valuable assets. Not only are these attorneys experienced and skilled communicators, but also they have the ability to speak directly to your physician, the judge, and the Social Security Administration themselves. Plus, they are experts with the law, so they will clearly be able to see whether your case meets the Social Security disability requirements. In addition, they can address critical elements in your work and medical history when reviewing your case.
Having an attorney that is familiar with Social Security disability claims can also increase your chances of winning your case if you decide to appeal. Approximately 85 percent of reconsiderations are denied, but if you have a lawyer, he or she can raise your chances of winning by at least 60 percent. Although hiring an attorney does not guarantee your win, it does reassure that you have the correct documentation filed and the right evidence presented.
Contact Your Doctor
Although having an experienced disability lawyer can strongly help your case, it does not always mean you will win. Your doctor’s opinion is crucial and can sway the decision of the Social Security Administration. After all, your doctor is required to label you as disabled. Also, the SSA needs a professional evaluation from your doctor that judges how well you perform essential tasks. This form is called the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form, and is one of the most important parts of your case.
Overall, you should have both your doctor and lawyer on your side when filing for disability benefits. The opinion of your doctor is critical to your case’s success since he or she knows firsthand how your disabilities work and how they may limit you, and your attorney is critical because he or she is the one to help win your case. Not only can he or she navigate his or her way through a successful hearing, but also he or she knows how to emphasize the aspects of your case that are necessary to win in court.
Your SSI disability application was denied. Now what? Many people applying for benefits simply give up, but a disability lawyer can help you re-apply and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. If you need assistance applying for benefits or appealing your claim, the talented attorneys at the Law Offices of James Mitchell Brown can help.
Retaining James Mitchell Brown early on when applying for disability benefits is advantageous for several reasons. First, the best time to ask for assistance from a disability lawyer is prior to filing your application. Retaining a lawyer early in the process enables him or her to develop the medical evidence of your case more favorably. These attorneys work with doctors to ensure your medical condition is fully and accurately recorded, particularly with respect to any physical or medical limitations that restrict your ability to work. Second, attorneys file and process claims quicker and more efficiently than you can by yourself. Because disability lawyers are more experienced with the process and are known by the Social Security Administration (SSA), there is additional credibility than if you were to file a claim on your own.
Unfortunately, many applicants are denied their benefits upon their initial applications. However, your chances increase if you appeal. There are four appeals stages available: reconsideration, an administrative law judge hearing, an appeals council review, and a hearing at a federal court. So, even if your application is denied initially, it is important that you continue to fight for your benefits. Also, having a lawyer by your side will increase your chances of gaining the benefits you deserve.
Gaining SSI benefits is a long process and can take months, even years, before your application is accepted, which is why it is important to apply for assistance right away. However, if you feel you are ill-equipped to successfully put together an application by yourself, you should contact a disability lawyer for help. Professionals at the Law Offices of James Mitchell Brown are dedicated to gaining SSI benefits for you. Every individual has different needs regarding the application process, and these attorneys do everything they can to fulfill your specific needs.
Contact one of these talented disability attorneys today and set up a free consultation to receive your benefits.
A Social Security lawyer can be a valuable resource to have on your side. Whether applying for benefits for the first time or appealing a previous denial, having a Social Security Disability lawyer on your side will increase your chances of receiving disability benefits.
As a third-party, a Social Security lawyer is not required to complete the necessary paperwork for you to receive benefits. However, because they do know how to complete it, your claim will be resolved much more quickly with their help.
How can you tell if new representation by a Social Security lawyer is in order?
If you already have a lawyer for your disability claim, but you’re not getting the results you need, new representation could be in order. How can you tell that new representation is worth considering?
Common warning signs
If you’re seeing the following common warning signs, it’s time to examine your relationship with your Social Security lawyer carefully:
- – Calls to your lawyer are not returned within 48 hours. However, if you are not respectful of their time, or you are calling them on major holidays or several times a week, you cannot expect to receive a return call within 48 hours.
- – Your lawyer repeatedly asks for documents you have already provided or asks you to fill out forms you have already filled out. Yes, mistakes do happen, and items do get misplaced. A good lawyer is organized and able to find all of your case paperwork in one place.
- – Your lawyer repeatedly asks the court for time extensions without explanation and without your best interests being served.
- – Your lawyer is missing deadlines and you are receiving notices stating that your case is going to be dismissed for lack of activity.
- – Documents are not ready when promised. Again, yes, emergencies and crises come up now and then, but if this happens repeatedly, you may have a problem on your hands.
If you recognize some or all of the issues above, and you believe the relationship with your Social Security lawyer isn’t salvageable, you should consider switching attorneys entirely.
Don’t fire your Social Security lawyer too hastily though! It’s imperative that you have another lawyer in place first.
Deciding to change attorneys can be a difficult decision. When your expectations are reasonable and you are comfortable with the right Social Security lawyer for your case, you should achieve the desired outcome quickly.
To learn more about Social Security disability benefits, click here for a free PDF or contact James Mitchell Brown at (877) 621-2022 with your questions today.
Depending on the person that you take the time to talk to, there are many different responses you could be given concerning the difference between a disability advocate and a lawyer. According to the Social Security Administration, anyone who is either speaking on behalf of an individual applying for benefits or helps them throughout the process, is considered a representative.
To keep things simple, an advocate is someone who has dedicated the time to fight for you and is supportive of your cause. An advocate is able to answer any questions you may have concerning the process of applying for and receiving benefits and will have the specifics of your individual case. They will also be able to work with your doctors and any medical facilities where you have received treatment for your illness or injury in order to receive the proper medical records and information that will benefit your case. While it isn’t a necessity, it is possible to use a lawyer as a Social Security advocate.
One of the most commonly asked questions concerning hiring a disability advocate
is if it is less expensive to hire someone who is not a lawyer. The answer to this important question is no. Social Security has specific regulations that have been set regarding the fees an advocate is allowed to charge the individual they are hired to represent. They are also required by Social Security to work on contingency, meaning that if your case is not approved to receive benefits, they are not permitted to charge you for their services. They are not allowed to charge an applicant more than 25 percent of the amount that they will be receiving in back pay, up to a maximum total of $6,500.
There are some advantages when it comes to hiring an attorney as an advocate. For starters, if the appeal of your case happens to go further than the Appeals Council step, you will no longer be allowed to be represented by an advocate that is not a lawyer. This can sometimes be a hassle and create frustration having to bring someone new on board who is not familiar with the specifics of your individual case up to this point.
Another plus is that an attorney, even if they are only hired for the services of an advocate, are bound according to the “attorney-client privilege.” This prevents an attorney from being able to share your personal information that could have a negative effect on your standing in the community in which you live in.
Filing for Social Security Disability benefits in Ohio can be a nightmare. With denial rates for SSI and SSDI claims at a whopping 65 percent, the odds of your claim being accepted aren’t good. Despite these poor statistics, many applicants still decide to go it alone, without the services of a disability lawyer. If you’re wondering whether a lawyer is right for you and your case, here are six instances where one is almost always needed:
1) Multiple conditions – Many people suffer from a combination of medical problems, not just one. Trying to explain each issue in turn and how they work together to impair your ability to work is an extremely difficult task. A disability lawyer experienced with medical conditions can help you prepare your case much more effectively.
2) Pain and Fatigue Issues – For people who suffer from chronic pain and/or fatigue, proving that you are disabled can be difficult. Pain can be subjective, and is often hard to describe to others. Fatigue is another condition that is difficult for others to understand. A lawyer who is experienced with these conditions can present the debilitating aspects of these conditions to the SSA in a clear manner.
3) Mental Illness – People who suffer from mental illnesses are often incapable of presenting the evidence the SSA requires or filling out the necessary paperwork. To ensure these applicants get the best chance of success, they should seek out the services of a disability attorney.
4) Previous Denial – Applicants who have already been denied should seek the advice of a disability attorney. At each step in the appeals process, the experience of a competent attorney can increase the chances of success greatly. Plus, it’s always nice to have someone on your side.
5) Gathering Evidence – Collecting medical evidence and filling out the necessary paperwork for your disability claim can be overwhelming. If you need help in this area, you should hire an attorney. Experienced attorneys know exactly what information is required, as well as any required paperwork for each step of the application and appeals process. Presenting the correct information gives you a better chance of winning your case.
6) Establishing Onset Date – Many people are sick or ignore conditions for a long time before they admit that they affect their ability to work. Because of this, establishing a disability onset date can be hard to identify and prove. A good disability lawyer can help you get the correct date for your disability, which results in more back pay when you win your case.
Trying to get Social Security Disability can be a long and complicated process. If your case falls under any of the six examples above, you should definitely obtain the services of a legal professional. If you live in the Cleveland area and need some help with your disability claim, contact James Mitchell Brown and find out how he can help you and your case today!
Being diagnosed with a disability can be a frightening and frustrating experience, especially if you have never had an issue before. There are things you should know if you’re applying for disability payments because the process can take a long time. You may not be sure if you would need a lawyer to help you guide you through the process. The information in this guide should take out some of the questions you may have regarding the application process. Here are the things you need to know when you apply for disability in the Cleveland, OH region.
Where to Apply
Once you have been diagnosed, you can start the application process. You can apply online if you’re 18 or older. If you aren’t currently receiving benefits, you will be considered eligible. Your condition should not allow you to work for at least 12 months, and you cannot be denied disability within the last 60. If your claim was denied, you can go through an appeals process to ensure everything in your previous application was correct. You can print off a checklist and then complete the Disability Benefit Application.
Information You Will Need
When you start the application process, you will need to enter information. You will need your place and date of birth, along with your Social Security number. You should also have information regarding your spouse or previous spouse, and know the dates of marriage and divorce (if applicable). You should also include information regarding your children if they’re minors, and your financial institution’s routing number, if you choose automatic payments. Having this information on hand will make the application process easier.
You should also include information about your medical condition, and information from someone who knows about the condition. Any information pertaining to your condition, including doctors’ offices, medicines, and tests should also be included. Any information you have about your work and how much you are/were making should be included. You should reference any jobs you’ve had within the last 15 years, and any insurance you have. There are documents you can download that will assist you in the application process, and help you fill out the paperwork properly.
If you’re unsure about anything, you can contact a medical professional or injury lawyer to assist you in your case. If you have any other questions, you can contact the SSA office to help you with any inquiries or concerns regarding your case.
Applying for disability benefits can be a time consuming and frustrating process. Several people who apply have no idea of what all is entailed to be approved for benefits by the Social Security Administration. When the livelihood of you and your family relies on receiving benefits for a future income, it is not something you want to learn as you go on your way.
A simple mistake can lead to moths being added to your wait time. In order to settle your case as quickly as possible, you will want to hire an attorney who is familiar with the process and deals with the routine on a daily basis. That being said, not all disability law attorneys are the same. Here are some tips and information you will want to keep in mind when choosing an attorney for your case.
It is not professional or standard, practice for the attorney to guarantee or promise the outcome of a hearing or case. A disability law attorney who is good at what he or she does will give you an honest opinion and assessment, after they have reviewed all of the facts of your case. If an attorney is completely honest with you, he or she will admit that they probably cannot get you approved any quicker than another attorney.
Ask the attorney’s office to provide their success rate. Find what the firm’s approval rate is at the hearing level and the percentage of cases which are rewarded full benefits. If the attorney is good at what he or she does, they have no issue with providing their statistics. If the attorney does not know a general number of these questions, more often than not it is because they don’t have numbers worth remembering.
Regardless of how busy an attorney’s office may be, you should be given a contact person who is available to return calls in order to answer questions concerning your case. You should also be contacted on a regular basis by this contact person to provide you with a status on your case, even if that is simply that the status has not changed.
You might also want to ask questions such as how long has the attorney been in practice and how long they have been in practice in your specific geographic region. If the attorney has received any special training as far as disability law is concerned and how many cases they handle a year can also be valuable information.
When applying for disability benefits, hiring an attorney increases your chances of a favorable ruling – that is, a ruling that determines your qualification. Working closely with your attorney can maximize these chances. Here are 10 things you will want to ask your attorney:
1. What will you do for me that I can’t do for myself?
This is a good question for your attorney, especially if you know your way around the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s processes a little better than the average person. If you have a good attorney, he or she will tell you that your case’s efficiency will increase – that is, you will have more information processed in a claim in shorter time – by having your attorney around to work with both your doctors and the SSA to present your case for you.
2. What do you need to know about my illness/injury?
This is an important question because your attorney will need to know just who he’s working with in order to best prove your case. In order to present the best possible case, your attorney will need to know the details of your injury or illness that is giving you trouble.
Your attorney will probably ask you extensive questions about your medical history, but make sure you don’t forget anything. Asking this question will ensure that your attorney gets what he or she needs to know.
3. Will you need anything else from my doctor?
Much of your attorney’s interaction with your doctor will deal with retrieving your medical records, but sometimes the SSA may request other items provided by your doctor that have to do with more than just symptoms. Your attorney may want to look at your prescribed treatments or doctor’s notes about missing work. This extra information may help determine your inability to work, which is a key factor in determining disability, so if you think any of this information will be helpful, definitely ask your attorney if it is necessary.
4. Should I apply for SSDI or SSI?
There are two types of benefits you can apply for: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is for people who have worked long enough to pay into Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is for disabled people with financial need. Depending on your financial situation, you could qualify for either. Your attorney can make the case for either, but he or she will make it clear which benefits are more suitable for you.
5. What benefits will I receive if we win?
Of course, this will depend on what type of benefits you applied for, but this will also depend on why you are receiving the benefits in the first place. Your attorney should be able to tell you how much you will receive each month should you qualify.
6. How long will this process take?
This may be an easier question to answer in some cases, and a nearly impossible one in others. The SSA includes in their list of qualifying disorders some illnesses that will not take as long to determine disability as others – for example, their compassionate allowances program will speed up the process if you have a disease like ALS or pancreatic cancer. However, it’s not so cut-and-dry with other disorders. Your attorney may be able to give you a more set-in-stone time frame if he or she thinks you will have to appeal your case.
7. What happens if we don’t win?
Even with an attorney, the SSA will likely still deny you on your initial application. Your attorney should be able to explain to you how the appeals process works (in Cleveland, there are four levels of the disability appeals process.) He or she should be able to tell you how your case will be appealed and why your case has a chance in the appeals process.
8. If we do win, will attorney fees be taken out of my monthly benefits?
The easiest question yet: no! The only non-guaranteed answer is what the dollar amount your attorney’s fee is. James Mitchell Brown charges attorney fees of $6000 plus any other reimbursement costs, but your expected benefit amounts are often higher. Your attorney will be able to show you the difference.
9. Will I receive back pay benefits?
Back pay benefits are what you would receive when the judge rules that the date you became disabled is before the date you applied. Your attorney will work to make sure you receive back pay benefits.
10. What if my disability benefits are terminated?
Once you have been receiving disability long enough, the SSA may review your case and, in certain situations, deny you further benefits. This is another situation in which your attorney would discuss the appeals process.
Notice that most of these questions are open-ended and will actually lead to your attorney asking you more questions. This type of interaction will help your attorney represent you in front of the SSA in the best possible way.
Applying for Social Security benefits in Cleveland, Ohio can often be a frustrating and time consuming matter. There are going to be doctor’s appointments to make, medical information to collect, and records you will want to keep about your condition throughout the process. So once you have decided that you are going to apply for Social Security because of a medical condition or injury, just where will you need to begin?
The most convenient method of applying for disability is through an online application. Before you fill out the information and submit the application to the Social Security Administration for review, you may want to spend some time talking with each of the doctors you have and are currently seeing regarding your condition. Make sure that they are aware of your intentions and you have had a discussion about all of the conditions you have been experiencing. Talk to them about treatment, medication, and whether or not they are willing to support your decision of applying for Social Security
The next step in the process will be to start collecting medical documents and other information you are going to need in order to support your case. Along with medical records, test results, and imaging such as x-rays or CAT scans, you will also want to gather information concerning your employment history. You will want to provide a job description and employer contact information for each place of employment you have had for the previous 15 years. You will also want to provide detailed information about your educational history. While this may seem irrelevant to your medical condition, it will play a part in determining the types of work you are qualified to perform and if you are eligible to receive benefits.
After this information has been submitted and while you are waiting for a decision in your case, it is a good idea to keep a journal of the difficult days you experience medically while you wait. You will want to include details about exactly what types of difficulties you encounter and the effect they create on your ability to perform regular everyday tasks. This will not only show your seriousness about the matter, it may also provide information for the doctors and review board that you wouldn’t have been able to recall in you were only relying on your memory alone.
When you have been on disability for long enough, you may undergo a continuing disability review (CDR). In some cases, you may be denied further disability benefits after this meeting. Check out the information below to help you prepare for the appeals process ahead.
What is a CDR?
Once approved for Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will complete a CDR every few years to determine if your condition has improved. Typically, your CDR will occur every three years. If you are over the age of 55 or if your condition is not likely to improve, the review will occur every seven years. The SSA may initiate a CDR if you begin making too much money from working unless you are enrolled in a return-to-work disability program.
What Causes Benefits to be Denied
Your disability may be denied due to medical improvement as it relates to your work and you have substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA means earning at least $1,130 per month from working.
The test used to show medical improvement is called the medical improvement review standard (MIRS). Your condition must show improvement as related to your disability. Your improvement must also be related to your work. To deny your benefits, the SSA must not only show that you have medical improvement as related to your work but that you also reached the SGA level. The SSA will review your original impairments and any new restrictions since your first approval for disability.
If your benefits stop, you can appeal the decision and request that your case be heard by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). To continue receiving benefits while your case is pending, you must file an appeal within 10 days of your notice of cessation.
If your request for reconsideration is denied, you can request a hearing. The hearing judge will review your case and determine if you should continue receiving benefits. You may elect to continue your benefits throughout the hearing process but may need to pay these back if denied. If your request is denied after the hearing, you can request an appeal to the Appeals Council.
Your disability benefits will end in the month the cessation notice is mailed. If you don’t request a continuation of benefits, the benefits will continue for the following two months, which is considered a grace period.