At What Part of the Social Security Disability Appeal Process Should I Hire a Lawyer?

Your Social Security disability application got denied. Denial is common and happens to many who apply for benefits. If you are at this stage of the process where you need to file an appeal with the Social Security Administration (SSA), there are some things to consider before proceeding. The most important factor? Hiring a Social Security disability appeal lawyer to help you with your case.

Below, we break down what an appeal in your application process may look like, the benefits of hiring a disability attorney, and at which point in the process to contact them.

What Should I Expect with the Disability Benefits Application Process?

If your first disability benefits application was denied, the next step is to submit an appeal called a Request for Reconsideration. Obtaining disability benefits can be a challenging process and oftentimes requires multiple appeals. If you do have to file a second appeal, you will have to attend a hearing where your benefits are to be determined by a federal administrative law judge (ALJ).

Having legal representation is not required, but is highly recommended for the best outcome possible – studies have shown that about 60% of those who are represented by a Social Security disability appeal lawyer win their cases.

Why Hire a Social Security Disability Appeal Lawyer?

Simply put, the most critical reason to hire a disability attorney for your case is that your chances of approval are increased substantially.

Advantages of hiring a disability lawyer include:

  • Understanding how to present a case in the most favorable way
  • Offering you advice on navigating and organizing your disability records
  • Arguing your medical condition against Social Security’s “Blue Book” qualifications
  • Helping you determine which facts will be seen as most important by the SSA
  • Collecting and submitting relevant medical evidence
  • Obtaining a medical opinion from your physician(s)
  • Drafting a detailed brief of your case to present in front of the ALJ
  • Helping you prepare for the ALJ’s questioning at your hearing
  • Crafting legal arguments against the wrongful denial of your case

Finally, lawyer fees are well worth their guidance through an appeal. Very little or no payment is required up-front, and you will only be charged an attorney’s fee if you win your case – this is typically around 25% but no more than $6,000.

When Should I Contact a Disability Lawyer?

The earlier, the better. Disability lawyers should be hired no later than your first denial to help you win your case, so it is essential to be mindful of your deadline. The SSA allows an appeal up to 60 days from the date of your denial, so you will need to take action as soon as you know that your application has been denied.

Contact the Attorneys at Woodruff & Mathis

Though you are certainly not required to hire a Social Security disability appeal lawyer to help you navigate a denial of benefits, it can help you obtain the best outcome. You will greatly improve your chances of winning your appeal if you work with legal representation.

Woodruff & Mathis has gained a reputation throughout Maine for offering compassionate, successful client-centered Social Security disability legal representation. To request an appointment and review your case, please fill out the form here to get started.