Many people in the United States are living with disabilities and require disability benefits from the Social Security Administration to maintain an income. Many question the need for an attorney and wonder what an attorney could provide.
It is not necessary to hire an attorney for your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits, but you can and can benefit from it. Experienced Social Security Disability attorneys know what medical records, documents, and other information are necessary to prove your disability. They can also help guide you through the appeals process if denied initially. They will take care of your request for reconsideration and prepare you for your hearing in front of an Administrating Law Judge or ALJ.
What is the Social Security Disability Process?
The first step is submitting an initial application to the SSA. Medical records and other documents are necessary to present, and from those, the SSA will determine if the applicant is eligible to receive benefits based on disability and other requirements. Applicants can appeal if denied by submitting a request for reconsideration.
A different SSA staff member will review your case and determine if you are eligible or not. If denied again, you can appeal and have a hearing in front of an ALJ. This is where attorneys are highly recommended because they can help prepare you. Throughout the entire process, however, it would be beneficial to hire an attorney.
How Does the Attorney Prepare Me for My Hearing in Front of an ALJ?
Attorneys can prepare you for your hearing by giving you a list of possible questions the judge will ask. They will help make you have better answers to each question, and they can teach you what to expect during the appeals process. Attorneys can collect critical medical records, gather your doctor's opinion, and ask experts to testify on your behalf to prove your disability and eligibility. Without an attorney, applicants will have a difficult time gathering all the necessary documentation and expert testimonies.
Who Represents the Government?
No one represents the government in a Social Security hearing because you do not have an opponent. There are only people who are involved with working in the government’s interest. It is advantageous to hire an attorney during the appeals process or even during the application process to make sure you are well represented and receive the benefits you deserve.