You are not required to have a lawyer represent you during the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits. However, hiring a lawyer is strongly recommended.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has complex rules and procedures that must be followed. Often, applicants who do not have representation are denied benefits based on a technicality. Having a lawyer’s assistance can make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
How a Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help
Every case is different, but some of the ways a lawyer can help with your disability benefit application include:
- Conduct an initial review of your claim
- Ensure your application is complete
- Accurately and completely document your work history
- Gather additional medical evidence
- Present information in a way that best supports your claim for benefits
- Explain relevant laws that apply to your case
- Make sure you meet all of the required deadlines
- Represent you during the appeals process, if needed
Most importantly, having a Social Security Disability lawyer handle your claim takes some of the worries and stress off your shoulders. When you’re not trying to handle your disability application on your own, you will have more attention to focus on making sure you get the best possible medical treatment for your condition.
An Advocate Is Not a Lawyer
The SSA also allows disability advocates to represent applicants. An advocate is someone with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience who has passed an exam and taken continuing education classes on disability application rules. A lawyer with experience in disability law has completed much more rigorous training—providing you with the best possible assistance during this stressful time.
The SSA sets the same fee guidelines for lawyers and advocates—either 25% of your back pay or a maximum of $6,000. Since both professionals cost the same, there is no reason not to seek out a lawyer’s assistance.
At O’Connor Law, we’re committed to helping New York residents with disabilities access the benefits they need and deserve. Call our office or complete the contact form today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with our Social Security disability lawyer.