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Did I hire the right disability lawyer?

If you hired a disability lawyer and you do not see your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) case progressing you may be asking yourself, “Did I hire the right disability advocate or disability lawyer?” This is legitimate question, but sometimes workers may second guess their decision simply because they do not understand what a disability lawyer can do for their claim and the complexity of the SSDI or SSDI disability process.

What is my SSA disability lawyer really doing for me?

If you are one of the thousands of SSDI or SSI disability applicants waiting for an Social Security administrative hearing you might be wondering if your disability lawyer is doing anything for your case.

One misconception is that a SSA disability lawyer can somehow move your case to the “front of the line.” There are thousands of disability applicants waiting throughout the United States to have their SSDI and SSI cases reviewed by a handful of administrative law judges. The disability lawyer does not have the legal right to bypass these applicants either at the application level, the reconsideration level or the administrative hearing level (exceptions exist if they decide to file an on the record review).

How does an On the Record Review Expedite my SSI or SSDI disability decision?

If you have a disability case and you are waiting for a hearing there is a process called an on the record review to request an evaluation for your SSDI or SSI case without a face-to-face hearing. The benefit of this process is you may be able to eliminate the potential one to two year wait for a hearing, and if review is denied, you will still have the opportunity to meet with the administrative law judge at a hearing and review your SSI or SSDI case.

It is best to talk to a disability lawyer if you are considering an on the record review. Disability lawyers can make sure you have sufficient medical evidence to prove your case and submit the information along with your written request for the on the on the record review to the ODAR (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review). You also can submit this request on your own by contacting the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.

Common activities of the disability lawyer

Back to the question, “Did I hire the right disability advocate?” To determine if you hired the right lawyer you need to understand what they should be doing for you. As mentioned above, if their primary responsibility is not to catapult your case to the front of the disability determination line then what is their purpose? Their primary responsibilities include:

  1. Answering your questions about the disability process.

  2. Reviewing your medical records and requesting additional records if necessary

  3. Preparing all appeal notices

  4. Preparing your case for the hearing

  5. Scheduling the hearing

  6. Prepping you for the disability hearing

If you have a disability lawyer who is not responsive, does not call you back, misses important deadlines, is dismissive of your concerns or who seems overwhelmed by their case load it may be time to evaluate whether you have the right disability advocate or lawyer.

Remember, even with great disability lawyers there will be long stretches of time where there is literally NOTHING for them to do. They are simply waiting for the Social Security Administration to take action on your case.
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