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Disability Attorney when is it time to hire one?

If you have applied for disability benefits and been denied or you are considering filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for the first time you might wonder when is the best time to contact a disability attorney. Recently on our disability forum we had a user ask, “If I am going to file for SSDI how do I know when it the right time to hire a disability attorney?”

Who doesn’t need a disability attorney?

Before deciding whether or not to hire a disability attorney the first thing to do is make sure you understand how the SSA determines whether you are disabled and make sure you meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI benefits.

To meet the basic nonmedical requirements you will have to have worked and paid sufficient taxes to be considered insured for SSDI, your condition will need to last at least 12 continuous months and you cannot be working and performing what the SSA considers substantial gainful activity. If you do not meet the nonmedical requirements, not only will you not need a disability attorney, you will not need to apply at all because you will be automatically denied.

Now, there are certain conditions which are automatically considered disabling by the SSA. So if you meet the nonmedical requirements and you have one of these conditions then you will not need a lawyer because your claim should be approved immediately.

How do you know if you have one of these conditions? The SSA keeps a listing called the SSA Listing of Impairments (also known as the Blue Book). If you have a condition and symptoms listed in the book or you can prove your condition is as severe as a listed condition you should not need legal help.

Who does need a disability attorney?

Let’s talk about who might need a disability attorney. If you have been denied but the reason is because you do not have enough work credits or you are working too much then unless something changes there is no reason to appeal the denial or refile your claim because you will simply be denied a second time.

If you have been denied but the SSA believes you can work another job or your condition will not last 12 months but you have evidence that contradicts the Social Security Administration’s position or if you think you could get evidence from a doctor to support your case then when you get ready to make your appeal (which must be done 60 days from the date of the denial letter) then you might want to talk to a lawyer.

Hiring a lawyer before a disability hearing

Another time to consider hiring a disability attorney is before the administrative hearing. Because most claimants have waited months to get a hearing and this will be your best chance to get benefits it is highly recommended that you get an expert to argue your case before the judge.

A disability attorney can review your medical information and make sure you have everything you need to prove that you cannot retrain for new work.
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