How do most Disability Lawyers decide which cases to take?
The initial screening for whether or not a disability lawyer will take a disability claimant’s SSI or SSDI case varies by disability attorney. Some disability lawyers have an initial screening process which allows them to weed out cases from claimants who do not meet the basic criteria for SSI or SSDI: they do not have enough work credits for SSDI, their case is not expected to last for 12 continuous months, their disability or condition is not severe, or their income and resource level is too high for SSI.
Other disability lawyers will talk to the disability claimant and may review the exhibit files prior to determining if they will take the SSI or SSDI case. This method is more time-consuming and may require the disability lawyer to do unnecessary work for claimants who do not meet the basic requirements outlined above. This method also does not work in the claimant’s favor especially if they are at the hearing level and the disability lawyer decides not to take their case until a few weeks or a few months prior to their disability hearing, leaving the claimant scrambling for a new disability lawyer.
Does a disability lawyer care if the claimant has filed multiple claims?
Although some inexperienced disability lawyers may hesitate to take a claimant’s SSI or SSDI case if they have filed multiple times and been denied, it could mean that the claimant is really disabled if they are willing to fight for benefits so tenaciously.
Additionally, if the claimant has a prior claim there may be the option to reopen the claim. If the claimant wins their SSI or SSDI case this could provide a large back pay benefit for the claimant and a large fee for the disability lawyer.
Why do some disability attorneys refuse to take a SSI case?
There are some disability lawyers who do not take Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases. There are several reasons for this but the main reason is that there is no waiting period for SSI benefits, there is no retroactive payments, and the SSI payment is based on the federal benefit rate. Given these facts the payout for the disability lawyer can be substantially less than the payout for a SSDI claim.
Other factors in the disability lawyers decision making
Another factor the SSI or SSDI lawyer will consider prior to taking a SSI or SSDI case is the claimant’s age. GRID rules were created in 1979. These rules identified how age would be considered in the disability process. Without going into the specifics of the GRID rules, suffice it to say that for the vast majority decisions made at the hearing level most of these are made based on the GRID tables. Given this fact, it is very difficult for a claimant under the age of 45 to win unless they can prove that they cannot perform sedentary work.
What does this mean? Younger claimants will have a very difficult time winning SSI or SSDI through a medical vocational allowance and will have a greater chance if they can prove that their condition “meets or exceeds” a listing on the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments.
- SSDI and SSI: How many times can I apply for benefits? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- SSI and SSDI – What is the age requirement? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- SSI and SSDI – what’s the hold up? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)