Do I Need a Lawyer to Sign Up for Disability?
Do I Need a Lawyer to Sign Up for Disability?
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Do I Need a Lawyer to Sign Up for Disability?
If you’re suffering from a disability and are unable to work, you might be struggling to pay your bills and put food on the table. Being in this situation can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways you can receive assistance. If you need to apply for disability benefits, you might be wondering, “Do I need a lawyer to sign up for disability?” While it isn’t required that you hire a lawyer, your chances of success are likely to increase when you use a disability lawyer to assist you. The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have been handling disability claims for decades all over the country and will do whatever it takes to ensure you receive the help you need. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
What Is Disability?
Disability benefits help supplement income for individuals who have a disability and are therefore unable to work. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is the primary program for disability payments. In some cases, people get it confused with Supplemental Security Income (SSI), so it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance is a social insurance program that helps supplement income for those who are disabled and unable to work. This is funded through social security taxes that individuals pay on their income throughout their life. SSDI also considers any dependents you might have when determining your benefits. Whether you qualify for SSDI depends on your work credits and how much you have paid in social security taxes. In most states, if you receive SSDI benefits, you will automatically qualify for Medicare after 2 years of receiving disability payments.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income also provides supplemental income and benefits to individuals who have a disability, but it also assists older adults and children who have very little income and resources. This type of supplemental income isn’t based on previous work or tax history; rather, SSI is solely dependent upon age, disability, and limited income and resources. In most states, you will automatically qualify for Medicaid if you are an SSI recipient.
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Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Many people think that they can apply for disability benefits on their own and be successful. While this is sometimes the case, the process is a bit more complicated than people realize. Approximately 65 percent of disability applications are rejected the first time. You have the right to appeal the decision, but this adds time to the process. When you hire an experienced lawyer, they can help you submit an application that is more likely to get approved, and if it isn’t, they will be ready and waiting to file your appeal for you right away. The following is a list of other reasons it’s essential to hire a lawyer to sign up for disability:
No Waiting in Line & No Paperwork
When you hire a disability lawyer, they will do almost all the work for you. You won’t have to go stand in line at the social security office or get stuck on the phone for hours waiting to speak to a representative. When you have a lawyer, they will handle this for you. In many cases, when you hire a lawyer, you could apply for and receive disability benefits without even needing to leave your house.
Additionally, hiring a disability lawyer will save you from having to deal with all the paperwork that is required to apply for benefits. When you send in your application, it typically needs to consist of around 40 pages of forms with information about your work history, medical history, and more. When you hire the right lawyer, they will help you put all of this together, leaving you with very little paperwork to complete on your own.
Your Lawyer Speaks the Language
When applying for disability benefits, there are bound to be words and terms that you simply don’t understand unless you’re a trained professional. If you don’t have legal experience or experience dealing with the Social Security Administration, all the terms and acronyms can leave you feeling incredibly confused. When you hire a disability lawyer, you don’t have to worry about any of this.
Better Chance of Being Approved
When you hire a disability lawyer, you’re almost always going to increase your chances of getting your application approved. An experienced disability lawyer has handled hundreds or thousands of these cases, and they know exactly what needs to be put in the application, what needs to be left out, and how to organize everything so you will have the best chance at success.
File Appeal Right Away
If you hired a disability lawyer and your application is denied the first time, your lawyer will be able to get the appeals process started right away. They will know exactly what was in your application and will quickly be able to get an idea of why it was denied. If you apply on your own and are denied and then hire a lawyer for the appeal, it will take a lot more time for the lawyer to get up to speed on your application and how they can best help you. Working with a professional from step one is always going to be quicker and more beneficial.
Additionally, an appeal often includes a hearing, which you likely aren’t experienced in. There are certain courtroom rules and procedures that need to be followed, and without a lawyer, it can be difficult to present your case in the most effective way possible.
How Can I Find a Disability Lawyer?
If you’ve decided that the answer to “Do I Need a lawyer to sign up for disability?” is yes, you might be wondering how you can find a trustworthy one. The following steps explain how to start the process of finding the best lawyer for you.
Know What You Want
This might sound obvious, but before you hire a lawyer, it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for. If you haven’t started the disability application process, you know that you want someone who can help you from start to finish. If you’ve already applied and have been denied and are now looking for an attorney, you know that you need someone who is very experienced in the appeals process. Also, consider what kind of people you work well with and get along with. You need to deal with someone that you will be able to have a good relationship with and that you can trust because you will be sharing a lot of personal information throughout the application process.
Ask for Referrals
It can be scary and intimidating to try to find a lawyer on your own. If you pick the wrong one, it could change the entire course of your case. If possible, ask friends, family, and colleagues for a recommendation. If any of them have used a disability lawyer and had a good experience, that’s a great place to start. If not, maybe they have used a different type of lawyer that they trust who could provide a disability lawyer recommendation. This step won’t always successfully lead you to the right attorney, but it’s worth asking for personal recommendations before searching on your own.
If you are unable to come up with a personal referral, one of the best ways to find a lawyer is to search online for disability lawyers near you. An effective way to do this is to go through some websites of disability lawyers and read about them. When you choose a few that you think would be a good fit, the next step is to check their reviews. While their personal websites likely have reviews from former clients, these are always going to be positive, as a professional isn’t going to highlight a bad review on their website. To get a more accurate picture of what the lawyer is like and how clients feel about their services, google their name and search for other reviews. Two primary places where you will see reviews for lawyers include Google and Avvo. If there are a lot of negative reviews, you might want to keep looking.
After you find a few good options based on reviews, you should set up free consultations with them to determine who would be the best fit.
Look for Experience
This might seem obvious, but it’s worth stating that you should always find an attorney that is experienced in handling disability applications and appeals. It’s not enough that a lawyer has been practicing law for decades. If they haven’t been handling these particular types of cases, their experience doesn’t really matter. Make sure you hire someone who has relevant experience.
How Much Does a Disability Lawyer Cost?
It’s understandable to be concerned about the cost of a lawyer when applying for disability benefits. Fortunately, it’s possible to hire an experienced professional without having to pay anything upfront. Disability attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning your lawyer won’t get paid unless your claim is successful. No matter how long it takes and how much work the lawyer has to put in, their payment is dependent on your application being accepted.
Once your claim is successful, your lawyer will get paid from the back pay you receive. The Social Security Administration must approve any fee arrangement that you have with a lawyer. Payment is usually capped at $6,000 or 25% of your backpay — or past due benefits — that have built up while you’ve been waiting for your application to be approved. While this might sound like a lot to many people, it’s important to remember that hiring a lawyer gives you a much better chance at success and obtaining the benefits you need. There’s also no upfront risk to you. Your lawyer takes on all the initial financial risk; if they aren’t able to get your application approved so you receive benefits, they don’t get paid. You can be certain that they’re going to work as hard as possible to get your application approved, as their income depends on it as well.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Today
The disability process can be complex, stressful, and time-consuming. Trying to apply on your own is an option, but it’s not advisable. An experienced attorney can help you from start to finish and give you the best chance at success. The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have been handling disability cases for decades and will do everything it takes to ensure you receive the benefits that you’re entitled to. With offices throughout the country, we can help you no matter where you’re located. Contact Morgan & Morgan today to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.