Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be hard to get, so it’s definitely beneficial to get legal representation early on to increase your chances of an award. When you are applying for this type of benefit, a lawyer can review your application and ensure that the medical evidence is clear and thorough. If your application is denied during this stage, your Social Security Disability attorney will prepare for the hearing that occurs in front of a federal administrative law judge.
Most SSDI attorneys work on a contingency basis, so no monies are paid up front and they will only be paid if your claim is successful. If you win, Social Security takes out 25 percent for the attorney fee, so you never have to bother with saving for these monies. What you need to focus on is getting the care and medical treatment you deserve.
A SSDI attorney can be a strong ally on your side as they are skilled in evidence and trial practice for Social Security cases. The wait time to have the hearing can be a year or more to have the judge and Office of Disability Adjudication and Review hear your case. An initial denial plus this long wait time can be very stressful, so a SSDI lawyer can help you build the strongest case in the meanwhile.
A skilled SSDI attorney will help you prepare for the questioning you must answer in front of the judge. Depending on how the judge starts the hearing, either the judge or your lawyer will ask the questions. Your job history will be delved into, including job duties, physical demands needed for the work, and sedentary parts of the job. You’ll also be asked about why you can’t work and what treatment you are receiving and what doctors you are seeing. It’s critical to note symptoms and physical and mental limitations, as the judge already has your medical conditions on file.
The judge will want to know your daily activities and he or she will exam your testimony to verify it is consistent with your medical conditions. Vocational and medical experts are typically present at the hearing, and the judge as well as your lawyer can question them to highlight the extent of your medical conditions and limitations. An experienced SSDI attorney will have cross-examined many vocational and medical experts to know how to position your case to win the SSDI benefits. The judge will give hypothetical scenarios based on the evidence in your application to determine if your conditions satisfy Social Security’s definition of disability. A good lawyer will show that your limitations are truly severe and prohibit you from working. A judge will ask the medical expert about functional limitations and it’s vital that your attorney is there to cross examine them. Oftentimes a judge will want to use what they gathered from the vocational expert to question the medical expert and find evidence as to why you should not get the SSDI benefits. A tenacious SSDI attorney will make sure the hearing gets back on track and will defend your rights.
As the hearing comes to a close, resist the temptation to get aggravated or dramatic. This is not the time to get angry with the Social Security Administration about your case or questioning techniques; and it’s definitely not the time to create a scene worthy of a nighttime TV drama. The judge has the power to grant your SSDI award. If you resort to theatrics, you have wasted precious time and money, and will have to appeal again. Your SSDI attorney can help give you some advice on making it through the hearing successfully and getting that much closer to the much-needed benefits.
In Tampa Bay, Zephyrhills Social Security Disability attorney Robert Alston has more than a decade of experience successfully representing clients before the Social Security Administration. Alston is skilled in assisting disabled adults and children, veterans, and the aged and blind with their disability concerns.