When You Need Social Security Disability Lawyers
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
When you are unable to work due to illness or injury, it can be reassuring to know that there are social security benefits available to support you. Unfortunately, when you apply for social security disability benefits, the process is not always simple and being granted any benefits does not happen automatically.
There are two federal programs available if you have been unable to work for at least a year. One is SSD (social security disability), and the other is SSI (supplemental security income).
Both the initial application and any review process can take a lot of time and effort and in the case of reviews, a good eye for detail and knowledge of the relevant legislation can be crucial. In Michigan, only 29.7% of initial SSD claims are awarded at first application (lower than the national average of 32.3%).
Social Security Disability versus Supplemental Security Income
Social Security Disability is the benefit given to workers who have amassed sufficient work credits but who are now unable to work. Supplemental Security Income is the benefit designed for low income individuals who have never worked or who do ot have enough work credits. They are two very different programs, and are managed by the Social Security Administration.
Why Do I Need an Attorney to Help With My Social Security Case?
Put simply, your chances of having your claim approved increase significantly when you have an attorney representing you. Statistics show that Social Security will more likely approve a claim when the claimant has a lawyer supporting them.
An experienced social security disability attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. understands how these claims work and know how to present the evidence needed to get a claim approved. In the initial application process, they can show to the hearing that you are entitled and that the condition you are suffering from meets their criteria and that your circumstances checks all required boxes.
The appeals process consists of two levels. The first level is called reconsideration and the second is called hearing. Your attorney or advocate can present more evidence here, including all relevant medical records and reports. They can also prepare a brief outlining your case which can be presented to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who presides over these appeals. Your lawyer or law firm will also work with you to prepare you for testifying at any hearing and they will also cross-examine any expert witnesses called.
If your case is still unsuccessful at these levels, then it moves to the next stage: the Appeals Council and federal court. If it has moved to these last stages, then any arguments in court will be more detailed and complex and can only be dealt with by experienced lawyers and advocates.
How Much Will it Cost Me?
Unlike other areas of the law where costs can vary from state to state and law firm to law firm, the fees for disability lawyers are set under federal law. That fee is usually the lesser one of 25% of any backpay you receive or $6,000. However, those costs may increase if the case goes to the final appeal stages. If your lawyer does not win your case, you do not need to pay any legal fees to our firm.
How Do They Decide Backpay?
Any due back payment will cover the period from when you first applied for benefits and the date it was approved. Sadly, because of the numbers applying for these benefits, the processing period can be lengthy.
How Long Can This Take?
The time it takes can vary from case to case but generally it will take around one year. The average time in Michigan from date of requesting a hearing to it actually taking place is 324 days.
What Are My Chances of Success?
Again, this varies from stage to stage. At the reconsideration level, your chances of success in Michigan are about 24%. But at hearing level, that percentage jumps to 56.8%. But even within Michigan, there is some variation in percentages between the different offices.
I’m Not Sure I Qualify to Challenge My Benefits Decision
If you are unsure how strong a case you have, then requesting a free evaluation from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. should be your first step. As an independent lawyer or advocate, we will give an honest appraisal of your chances of success. By submitting a free evaluation request, you are not committing to signing any agreement with that law firm.
How Do I Choose My Attorney?
We find that many new clients come to Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. through an attorney referral service or personal recommendation. Others have searched for an “advocate in your area” and contacted us a result of that search. But, as with our lawyers, you want to hire an attorney who has experience in this area of the law. It would be disappointing if you selected a law firm at random and the later you find out the attorney has no knowledge or experience of the benefits appeal process.
We fully understand that this process can be an intensely frustrating one, especially when you consider the time it may take to be resolved. But having a good attorney in your corner can increase your chances of success as we move through the claim and appeals process.
One thing that can give you a major advantage is that here at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. we have an experienced nurse attorney as one of our senior partners. This means that you have a lawyer on your team who can cut through medical jargon and present an extremely strong case on your behalf as well as being to properly cross examine any expert medical witnesses.
This area of law is something that our firm specializes in, which means you have a team with vast experience and knowledge of the intricacies of the law and the process. If you would like to find out more, contact us at 866-MICH-LAW to schedule a free consultation. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win your case.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.