If you are in hospice or the hospital with a social worker then you may not need an attorney.
However, most people who apply for disability end up having a hearing in front of a judge before they are awarded benefits.
Generally speaking, you want an attorney representing you at your hearing.
If you show up at hearing without a representative the judge will likely reschedule your hearing to offer you an opportunity to get one.
(Yes, there are non-attorney representatives who have been approved to also represent you by the Social Security Administration).
Having a representative help you from the beginning is much better than hiring them just before your hearing.
An attorney (or non-attorney) representative is paid out of your past due benefits only if you are awarded disability.
The head of Social Security has determined that representatives may charge twenty-five percent (25%) of your past due benefits up to a maximum of $6,000.
That maximum does not apply if you have to appeal a judge's decision to federal court.
Your attorney gets paid the same whether they helped you from the beginning of your claim or were hired the night before your hearing before the judge.
Get the most value from your representative. Bring them on to your case even before you apply.
Your attorney will help you evaluate your claim and let you know what is required to qualify and whether applying for benefits is the right thing for you.
Your attorney will help you avoid making incorrect statements in your application and help you describe how you are limited by your medical conditions.
Your attorney will take responsibility for your appeal deadlines and keep your claim from dying.
Your attorney will get your medical records and submit them to Social Security.
Your attorney will help you get supportive statements from your doctors, employers, friends and family.
Finally, your attorney will be at your hearing to make sure that you provide the testimony that gets you your benefits.
At Haapalaw, LLC, we are accessible to our clients and get to know each of our clients personally.
To appoint an attorney to represent you before the Social Security Administration you have to sign two documents:
The Appointment of Representative Form 1696, and
The Fee Agreement
Hiring an attorney representative at the beginning of your application for disability is the best way to improve your chances of being awarded your benefits sooner.