When Should You Consider Hiring An SSDI Lawyer?

Key takeaways:

  • Consider hiring an SSDI lawyer early, ideally before starting the application process or immediately after a denial, to improve your chances of approval.
  • SSDI lawyers specialize in this field and work on contingency, meaning they only get paid if you win, which motivates them to build strong cases for their clients.
  • A qualified SSDI attorney can navigate complex medical conditions and legal procedures, handle communication with the SSA, and advocate effectively during appeals.

When Should You Consider Hiring an SSDI Lawyer?

On this page, we’ll discuss the right time to engage with an SSDI Lawyer, their role in the SSDI process, how to file an SSDI Lawsuit, and much more.

Intro To SSDI Lawyer

Navigating the process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be daunting, and having a knowledgeable SSDI lawyer by your side can make all the difference.

Consider hiring an SSDI Lawyer as soon as you apply.

They understand federal law and know how to effectively present your medical condition and work history to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

When Should You Consider Hiring An SSDI Lawyer

This professional representation is crucial because even small mistakes in your application can lead to delays or denials.

If the SSA has already denied your initial application, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance.

Experienced disability lawyers are skilled at handling appeals and will review every part of your claim, from medical records to past-due benefits you might be entitled to receive.

They operate on a contingency fee agreement, meaning they get paid only if you win your case, which motivates them to fight hard for your cause.

Accessing their expertise significantly improves your chances of successfully navigating the appeals process without extra out-of-pocket expenses.

Table of Contents

Determining Your Eligibility

When initiating the process for Social Security Disability Insurance, an individual’s eligibility is primarily determined by their work history and medical condition.

Assessing Work History and Credits

An applicant’s work history is essential for establishing eligibility for SSDI benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) measures work history through work credits, each representing a certain amount of wages or self-employment income earned in a year.

Typically, an individual needs 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years, ending with the year they become disabled.

However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.

Evaluating Medical Conditions

To qualify for SSDI, a claimant’s medical condition must meet the SSA’s definition of a disability.

This is a condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death and that prevents the claimant from performing substantial gainful activity.

An individual’s condition is evaluated against a list of impairments provided by the SSA, and medical evidence is typically required to demonstrate the severity and expected duration of the condition.

The Application Process

Successfully navigating the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application process requires meticulous preparation and timely submission.

Attention to detail and adherence to guidelines are paramount throughout.

Preparing Your SSDI Claim

Collecting comprehensive medical records is crucial before a claimant submits their initial application.

These documents should conclusively demonstrate the disability and its impact on the individual’s ability to work.

It’s advised to list all medical providers, dates of service, and treatments received.

Potential applicants often gather statements from healthcare professionals to support their claims, ensuring the evidence is as robust as possible.

Submitting to the Social Security Administration

Once the application is prepared, it must be submitted to the local Social Security office or through the SSA’s online platform.

The application process involves filling out forms that detail the claimant’s work history, disability, and how it affects their daily life.

Upon submission, the SSA may request the claimant provide additional information if the existing records are insufficient.

Responding to these requests promptly is essential to avoid delays in the application review process.

SSDI Lawyer: Denied Claims

When an individual receives a denial of their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim, they must understand the appeals process and the steps to take immediately after the denial to improve the chances of a successful appeal.

Understanding the Appeals Process

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) appeals process for a Social Security disability claim consists of several stages, starting with the Reconsideration phase.

This is the first level of appeal after the initial denial.

If the Reconsideration leads to another denial, the claimant can request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

Further appeals may involve the Appeals Council and potentially federal court review if necessary.

It’s important to adhere strictly to deadlines throughout this process to maintain the right to appeal.

What to Do if Your Application Is Denied

Upon denial, gather all relevant documents and meticulously review the initial application for completeness and accuracy.

Assessing whether critical medical evidence was overlooked or not submitted is imperative.

Claimants should then move to file the Reconsideration promptly, as one typically has a 60-day window following the denial notification.

If the claim is denied after Reconsideration, securing representation for the hearing can be a prudent step.

An attorney with expertise in SSDI cases can offer guidance through complex proceedings and enhance the likelihood of a claim being approved.

Working With an SSDI Lawyer

Securing the services of an SSDI lawyer can significantly improve your chances of successfully obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Their professional legal expertise is essential, especially when navigating complex cases and appeals.

When to Hire an Attorney

It is generally advisable to enlist the services of a disability lawyer at the beginning of the claims process, particularly if you have had an initial application denied or are dealing with a complex case.

They understand the intricacies of the Social Security Administration’s systems and can advise on the best course of action to take for your situation.

Benefits of Professional Legal Assistance

Hiring a lawyer offers several key benefits, including a higher chance of successfully receiving benefits.

Some of the advantages they bring include:

  • Expertise: Lawyers deeply understand the SSDI program and can help you prove your case effectively.
  • Evidence Handling: They will acquire and organize the necessary medical records and other critical evidence.
  • Representation: An attorney will represent you in all interactions with the SSA, reducing stress and potential errors.
  • Contingency Fees: Most Social Security disability lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case.

Choosing the Right Disability Lawyer

Selecting a competent disability attorney is crucial, as their skill and experience can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case.

Here are a few steps to identify a suitable professional:

  • Check Qualifications: Confirm they have passed the bar exams and completed the required continuing legal education.
  • Look at Experience: Choose attorneys who specialize in Social Security disability claims and have a successful track record.
  • Schedule a Free Consultation: Quality law firms usually offer a free consultation to discuss your case and determine how they can assist you. Use this opportunity to ask about their experience and success rate.

When working with an SSDI lawyer, you leverage their professional knowledge to give yourself the best possible chance of obtaining the social security benefits you need.

They are adept at navigating the complex SSDI claim process and can advocate effectively on your behalf.

Financial Considerations

When hiring an SSDI lawyer, understanding the potential costs and the long-term financial implications of SSDI benefits is crucial.

This section will explore the fee structures typically associated with legal services in this area and how SSDI can affect an individual’s financial future.

Fee Structures for Legal Services

SSDI attorneys often work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they receive payment only if they win client benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has set a limit on contingency fees: the lesser of 25% of back benefits or $6,000.

Therefore, if an individual is awarded back benefits, the attorney’s pay comes from this amount, not the client’s ongoing benefits.

For example, if back benefits amount to $20,000, the attorney’s fee would be $5,000, adhering to the 25% cap.

However, if back benefits are $40,000, they still would receive only $6,000 due to the SSA’s fee cap.

The Financial Impact of SSDI on Your Future

Obtaining SSDI benefits can be vital for an individual’s financial future, especially if their condition prevents them from maintaining substantial gainful activity.

SSDI benefits are intended to replace some of the supplemental security income lost due to a disability.

Notably, the assistance provided by a skilled attorney might increase the likelihood of a successful claim, which can offer financial security.

The financial outcome of winning SSDI benefits includes monthly payments moving forward and potentially substantial back benefits for the period between the application and the date the claim is approved.

These back payments are delivered in a lump sum and can be a significant financial boon, helping to cover past-due bills and providing some financial stability.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I consult an SSDI lawyer before applying for disability benefits?

    It’s advisable to consult with an SSDI lawyer before applying for benefits to ensure your application is thorough and avoids common pitfalls that could lead to denial.

  • What factors increase the chances of winning a disability case with an attorney?

    An attorney specializing in disability law and with experience handling social security disability cases can significantly increase the chances of a favorable outcome due to their knowledge of the legal system and ability to navigate complex regulations.

  • How does a Chicago Social Security Disability attorney assist in SSDI hearings with Administrative Law Judges in Chicago, IL?

    A Chicago Social Security Disability attorney is instrumental in SSDI hearings, offering expertise in local practices and ALJ preferences.

    They adeptly prepare and present medical evidence, coach clients for testimony, and effectively cross-examine experts.

    Familiarity with Chicago’s ALJs and their specific procedural nuances enhances the likelihood of a favorable outcome in your SSDI claim.

  • How long typically does it take for an attorney to secure Social Security disability benefits for a client?

    The time it takes to secure SSDI benefits can vary widely, but having a Social Security disability attorney often streamlines the process, potentially reducing the time to reach a decision compared to self-representation.

  • How does having a disability lawyer impact the likelihood of success in SSDI claims?

    Applicants represented by a Social Security disability lawyer generally have a better chance of getting SSDI benefits, as lawyers can help avoid common application errors and are skilled in providing the right evidence and arguments in hearings.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Attorney Jessie Paluch has over 25 years of legal experience in personal injury lawsuits, mass tort litigations, and also spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte. As the founder of TruLaw, Jessie collaborates with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis — further expanding her legal expertise and enabling her to share reliable, up-to-date legal information with our readers!

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and attorneys at TorHoerman Law and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Tor Hoerman, you can do so here.

TorHoerman Law does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Experienced Attorney & Legal SaaS CEO

With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three.  She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.

In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.

In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!

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