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How to Find the Best Social Security Disability Lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA
Suffering a disabling injury or receiving a diagnosis for an illness that prevents you from working can send you into a downward spiral for years on end. Not only have you lost all your wages, but you also do not have the money needed to keep up with rapidly rising medical bills. On top of all the financial stress in having to deal with the emotional distress that often accompanies a disabling medical condition. Where do you turn for financial support during the roughest stretch of your life?
The answer is the Social Security Administration (SSA), which manages a program called Social Security disability benefits.
Under the Social Security disability benefits program, a team of medical examiners from the SSA reviews applications requesting financial support. Unfortunately, the SSA denies a majority of the claims submitted by applicants. Before you send in your disability claim, you should learn how to find the best Social Security disability lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA.
An experienced Social Security disability attorney can provide you with the legal support to get your claim approved by the SSA. Since 1988, Morgan & Morgan has helped clients get the financial assistance they deserve for suffering from a disability. Our team of Social Security lawyers understands the immense financial pressure that you face because you can’t earn enough money to keep up with medical expenses.
One of the keys to knowing how to find the best Social Security lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA is to schedule a free case evaluation. A Social Security attorney from Morgan & Morgan will sit down with you for about an hour to review your claim and answer any questions you might have about the filing process.
What Does a Social Security Attorney Do?
Applying for financial assistance because of a disability can be an overwhelming experience, especially considering you suffer from a serious medical condition. Although hiring legal counsel is not required to file a Social Security disability claim, you should work with a highly-rated attorney to boost your chances of getting your claim approved.
A Pennsylvania-licensed Social Security disability lawyer can help you in several ways.
Conduct a Preliminary Review of Your Case
We already discussed the importance of scheduling a free case evaluation to find the best Social Security disability attorney. During the free case evaluation, the attorney sitting across from you will spend several minutes reviewing your case. The review gives the lawyer a good idea about how to proceed with your claim. You should bring medical documentation to the free case evaluation, as well as any records that demonstrate you have missed work for an extended period.
Help You With the Claim
The SSA expects perfection when you submit a disability claim. You must complete every section and submit accurate information for the SSA to move your claim forward in the filing process. Just one mistake can send your claim into the dismissal pile.
This means you cannot receive financial assistance to help you live with a disability.
A Social Security attorney will go over your disability claim with the same focus that a detective has for examining evidence.
Gather and Organize Medical Records
The status of your disability claim depends on the medical evidence you present to the SSA. An experienced Social Security disability lawyer understands what types of medical records you need to submit for the SSA to approve your claim. The results of diagnostic tests, a detailed description of treatment programs, and a summary of any physical therapy sessions should be attached to your disability claim.
Your lawyer should also ask your physician to write a statement that explains your prognosis for making a full recovery.
Monitor the Progress of Your Disability Claim
The SSA processes an incredible number of disability claims each year. Even the most efficient processing of claims can leave a few claims behind. Your lawyer will monitor the progress of your disability claim to ensure the SSA reviews it in a timely manner. When the SSA discovers that you have hired a lawyer, the federal agency will know that you are serious about receiving just compensation for your disabling medical condition.
With most disability claims denied by the SSA, you should prepare for your claim to reach the appeal stage of the filing process. Reconsideration is the first stage of the appeals process, which is the resubmission of your claim to the SSA. For the second time around with the SSA, your attorney will strengthen your claim to present a more persuasive case for you to receive disability benefits.
After the appeal for reconsideration, the next stage in the process is for an accomplished Social Security disability lawyer to argue your case in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
How Does the SSA Determine Whether I Am Disabled?
The SSA factors in several criteria before determining whether you qualify for disability benefits. Published by the SSA, the Blue Book contains a long list of medical conditions that qualify applicants for financial assistance. However, it is not having your disability listed in the Blue Book that makes you eligible for compensation. You also have to pass the severity of symptoms test to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Under each qualifying medical condition in the Blue Book, the SSA also lists the symptoms that make it impossible for a claimant to hold down a job. For example, let’s say an applicant suffers from a form of cancer. Extensive chemotherapy treatments have produced debilitating side effects such as acute nausea and chronic fatigue. According to the Blue Book, both symptoms are considered to be severe for cancer patients.
The SSA wants to know the answers to the following questions before deciding the status of your disability claim:
- Are you currently working?
- Do you suffer from a severe mental and or physical impairment?
- Do you qualify under the listing of impairments?
- Can you perform the same work that you have done in the past?
- Can you perform any other type of work?
Before you submit your disability claim one of our Social Security disability attorneys will ensure the answer to each of the five questions meets the standards established by the SSA.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Social Security Disability Claim?
You must file a disability claim with the SSA before the expiration of the statute of limitations. For most claims, the SSA has established a statute of limitations of five years. Although five years is a long time, you should act with a sense of urgency by filing your claim as quickly as possible after learning about your disability. In addition to a statute of limitations for filing a disability claim, you also might have to meet a deadline for filing an appeal.
An experienced Social Security lawyer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ensures you file an accurate disability claim long before the deadline.
How Do I Find the Best Social Security Lawyer in Pittsburgh?
Learning how to find the best Social Security disability lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA starts by asking friends and family members for referrals. If you know any attorneys, they might know an experienced Social Security disability attorney who can help you get a claim approved.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) has developed an extensive database that lists lawyers by their areas of practice. In addition to reviewing a list of Social Security attorneys in Pittsburgh, PA, you also get to see whether any of the litigators on your shortlist have received reprimands from the state or the federal judicial system. The last thing you want is to work with legal counsel who does not follow the protocols established by the court.
Before you sign off on hiring a Social Security lawyer, you should conduct thorough research that addresses several factors.
The attorney you hire to represent you for filing a disability claim should possess the proper professional credentials. Although Social Security disability is a federal matter, you still need to work with a litigator who has received a license to practice law in Pennsylvania.
In addition to the state license question, you should ask the lawyers on your shortlist the following professional credentials questions:
- How long have you practiced law in Pennsylvania?
- How many years have you practiced Social Security disability law?
- How many cases do you handle per year?
- Have you completed additional training regarding Social Security disability law?
Experience is important in determining a lawyer’s professional credentials. However, you want to hire a Social Security attorney who has years of experience helping clients get approved for disability benefits.
Ask these questions to determine a lawyer’s claim approval rate:
- What is your overall claim approval rate?
- What percentage of your approval rate is for the initial claim?
- What percentage of your approval rate is for the appeal for reconsideration?
- What percentage of your approval rate is for the awarding of full benefits?
A reputable law firm such as Morgan & Morgan should have no issue sharing their approval rate statistics with you.
Social Security disability attorneys spend most of their time in hearings, which means a member of the staff might answer phone calls. Although a staff member for a lawyer or a law firm can answer some questions, you need to get answers for the tough questions from your Social Security attorney. A lawyer who returns a phone call on the same day a client made the call is considered a responsive legal counsel. You should receive replies to emails within 24 hours after you send them.
Working with a responsive Social Security lawyer is particularly important if your claim gets denied by the SSA and you have to go through the appeals process.
Knowledge of Your Disabling Medical Condition
Your Social Security lawyer does not have to be a medical specialist to earn your respect for knowledge. However, you should work with an attorney who understands your disability for several reasons.
First, your lawyer will know what types of medical evidence you need to submit. Second, knowing the symptoms of a disabling medical condition is important if your case goes in front of an ALJ. Your attorney must convince the ALJ that your symptoms warrant the approval of your disability claim. Finally, knowledgeable legal representation helps you submit an accurate disability claim.
Contact Morgan & Morgan
With decades of experience litigating Social Security disability cases, the attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have amassed an impressive record of getting our clients the compensation they deserve. We have a thorough understanding of the claim process, as well as the types of evidence you need to submit to the SSA.
Take action today by scheduling a free case evaluation with Morgan & Morgan.