Do I Need a Disability Lawyer? Detailed Analysis

Individuals who enlist the services of a lawyer or supporter to assist with their Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application enhance their likelihood of securing benefits.

Hiring a disability lawyer
Hiring a disability lawyer: Photo courtesy (Findlaw)

The presence of a skilled professional offers distinct benefits.

Gaining insight into the roles of these experts can aid in determining whether seeking legal representation aligns with your needs.

Disability Experts Understand the Medical Evidence Needed to Win

The key factor for claim success is proper medical evidence. Applicants often struggle with providing the right information to the Social Security Administration (SSA), leading to excessive irrelevant data and insufficient crucial details.

Disability attorneys and advocates excel at gathering tailored evidence for approval based on your medical conditions.

They will assess your file to determine if you need more tests or records and help submit them to the SSA on time.

Your representative ensures they exclude irrelevant data, which is vital when claims reach the hearing stage, as judges dislike sifting through irrelevant records.

Disability Lawyers and Advocates Know How to Communicate With Medical Providers

A doctor’s supportive opinion is crucial for a successful disability claim, but doctors might hesitate to assist applicants due to various reasons.

For instance, doctors might be unfamiliar with the process, too busy for forms, hold personal opinions, or doubt the disability.

Doctors often respond better to “professionals” like disability attorneys, who can handle their concerns effectively.

These experts are skilled at addressing reluctant doctors’ issues, potentially increasing their willingness to support your claim.

Attorneys Are Experts in the Disability Hearing Process

With a lawyer, your appeal’s success in a disability claim improves.

Disability attorneys are well-versed in Social Security appeal hearings.

Your attorney’s expertise in navigating the process, avoiding errors, and managing challenges boosts your chances of winning the appeal.

Disability lawyers
Source (FindLaw)

Disability Attorneys Often Know the Administrative Law Judges

Disability attorneys are often familiar with the administrative law judges (ALJs) in their district. This can be helpful to your case because your attorney likely understands two key factors:

  • how the ALJ likes a hearing to be conducted, and
  • whether the ALJ has any biases towards certain medical conditions.

Knowing these things will allow your attorney to prepare for your hearing in the way best suited for the particular ALJ assigned to hear your case.

Disability Lawyers Know How to Handle “Bad Facts”

Applicants’ medical records can sometimes include detrimental details, termed “bad facts.”

These can involve a doctor’s opinion discrediting your disability, long gaps in medical visits, or inconsistent treatment adherence.

Your disability attorney possesses the skill to address these issues before the administrative law judge (ALJ), thereby reducing their impact on your case.

Lawyers Can Cross-Examine the Vocational Expert

Vocational experts (VEs) are SSA-hired specialists who testify at hearings about applicants’ work capabilities given their health.

The ALJ poses “hypothetical” questions using your symptoms to gauge job options per the VE’s view.

VE testimony is pivotal; if they claim you can work, your claim likely faces denial.

Disability lawyers adeptly counter harmful testimony and guide VEs towards supportive statements.

Their skill in navigating job classifications and skills boosts your claim.

Your Lawyer Can Make Sure You’re Asked the Right Questions

At the disability hearing, the ALJ questions you about:

  • Truthfulness regarding symptoms
  • Impact of impairments
  • Inconsistent medical records
  • Treatment outcomes
  • Work history

Your attorney also questions you, aiming to address weak points and clarify your testimony.

They can aid in explaining how your condition affects daily life and work.

Disability Lawyers Know the Arguments That Win Disability Appeals

Numerous “arguments” (theories) can win a disability claim.

Attorneys comprehend Social Security rules and regulations, enabling them to select effective arguments tailored to your case.

Your attorney identifies the strongest argument and employs your case facts to meet SSA rules.

They also address potential case weaknesses.

These complex arguments can be tough to grasp without disability law expertise.

Examples of theories include:

  • Combined impairments hindering work
  • Meeting SSA’s medical-vocational grid rules
  • Matching SSA’s impairment listings
  • Dual exertional and non-exertional impairments
  • Flawed VE use of past work.

A skilled disability attorney chooses the apt theory and leverages evidence for your claim’s success.