Whether you have recently been diagnosed with a disability or have had one your whole life, it can be challenging to acquire simple accommodations, much less get the social security benefits you’re entitled to. Fortunately, disability attorneys are here to help you get your benefits and any other legal assistance you may require.
Here is how a disability attorney can help you or your loved ones get the disability benefits they need.
Are You Required to Have a Disability Attorney?
No, a disability attorney is not required. However, an attorney can help you fill out your benefits application so it has a greater chance of being accepted.
More than half of social security benefit applications get denied, so an attorney will help ensure that you have the best chance of being able to acquire what you need.
How a Disability Attorney Can Help
Deciphering your alleged onset date (AOD)
Your alleged onset date is the date when your disability caused you to be unable to work. This is not the date you were diagnosed with a disability, or when you first experienced symptoms.
The AOD can influence how much retroactive benefits you may be entitled to, and a disability attorney can help you determine the exact date that will work for your application.
Arguing that your medical condition meets the official list of conditions set by the Social Security Administration (SSA)
Though you might be diagnosed with a medical condition, you may not be eligible for benefits unless you experience specific criteria under the relevant category of official conditions. These criteria can be frustrating, especially if you’re diagnosed with a rare condition or your symptoms are debilitating but not on the list created by the SSA.
A disability attorney can help argue that you meet these conditions and are entitled to the benefits.
Presenting your testimony to the judge and cross-examining experts to better support your case
An attorney can present your testimony and get all the paperwork settled. If you have to go to court, they will cross-examine experts, and if they are a local lawyer, they may have existing relationships with the judge and other personnel they can leverage to aid your case.
An experienced social security disability lawyer will know how to work the courtroom to get you the best outcome they can.
Asking your judge for an “on-the-record” (OTR) decision
Many people cannot afford to wait months and months for a court hearing to decide they should receive benefits. Fortunately, you may have an opportunity to receive disability benefits even before your court hearing by asking the judge for an “on-the-record” (OTR) decision. An attorney can help you get all your medical paperwork in order for the judge.
If there is sufficient information on the records to prove your eligibility for benefits, then the judge can make the decision to grant you benefits now, before you go through a hearing.
How Long Does it Take to Get Benefits With a Disability Attorney?
It can take three to four months to get your benefits if your application is accepted, and another three to four months if your application is rejected and you submit a request for reconsideration. If your application is again rejected, you can request a hearing, which will be scheduled to take place ten months after your request.
Having a disability attorney at your side will give you a higher chance of getting your initial application accepted since they know all the tips and tricks to filling it out successfully. Even if your initial application is rejected, they can help you navigate the process of reapplying for and ultimately getting your benefits faster and more efficiently than if you were doing it yourself.
A disability attorney is not required for getting benefits, but they can help quite a bit. No matter if you’re filling out a social security benefits application or need other legal assistance regarding your disability, an experienced disability lawyer can help.