I’m thinking about applying for Social Security disability, do I need a lawyer or should I do it myself? Will a lawyer take all of my benefits? How much does a lawyer actually do in a disability case?
We hear these questions all the time. The short answer is, it depends. Some people prefer to have a lawyer with them from the beginning of their case because they are afraid they might mess something up on their own. This is a legitimate fear. We handle many cases from the filing of the initial application because the online application is lengthy and can be difficult to use to someone unfamiliar with it. This is the safest action and one we always recommend. If you are approved, we generally won’t even generate a fee and just ask that you remember that we helped you and spread the word to others.
But if you are comfortable with filing your own application, then often times you can wait until your initial application is denied before hiring a lawyer. After your claim is denied, you really need a lawyer to navigate the appeals process and hearing before an administrative law judge. A competent lawyer can review and order additional records, can ask treating doctors for written opinions on your abilities, prepare a pre-hearing brief for the judge, and attend the hearing with you. So at this stage, a lawyer is essential to helping you win your disability claim. You’ve already been denied once, you need a lawyer to help ensure that doesn’t happen again.