Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer

Do you need a lawyer for a social security disability claim?

Because most social security disability claims initially get rejected, it’s typically recommended that you hire an attorney to start the filing process for you from the beginning as they can help make the entire process a bit smoother. Keep in mind that you may qualify for a steady monthly check, health coverage, and even back payments as a lump-sum cash benefit so you shouldn’t wait too long while getting ready to apply as this process can take many months of a seemingly uphill battle.

social security disability claim denied

Credit: zimmytws

How do you apply for social security disability?

There are a few different ways. First, you can file an initial claim online, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, or you can visit your local SSA office, of which Texas has 70 locations, including five in Houston, four in Dallas, and three in San Antonio.

However, keep in mind that as many as 75 percent of all first-time claims for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are rejected by the SSA, often due to red tape or technicalities. That means you’ll also face a lengthy appeals process.

To potentially avoid this, an attorney can help you file your initial claim. In fact, many of our own attorneys are members of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR).

What should you do if your social security disability claim was rejected?

If you’ve already filed a claim but it was rejected, a qualified disability attorney can help. They can file your appeal on your behalf and then represent you in a hearing before an administrative law judge. Many appeals, perhaps even a majority, are successful, so don’t give up if you’ve had a rejected claim.

How do I file an appeal?

Filing an appeal for a denied disability benefits claim often is necessary because so many claims are rejected by the Social Security Administration due to red tape. But such claims can prevail in an appeal, especially with help from a capable disability appeals lawyer.

Additionally, you can try to file an appeal by yourself by contacting your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office but given the rigors of the appeals process, which may involve a hearing before an administrative law judge, it’s a better idea to engage an attorney to help you file the appeal.

When should I file for an appeal?

Although you do have rights to appeal a rejection of your social security disability claim, you must do it in a timely manner. Filing an appeal must be completed no later than 60 days after the date of the denial notice sent to you by the Social Security Administration. If you wait too long, you could surrender your right to appeal.

If you are already within 45 days of your appeal deadline, we recommend calling our firm at 1-800-505-1414 immediately so we can start the process by phone. Once we file the appeal on your behalf you will need to provide us with your pertinent medical and employment records as well as your most recent denial letter from the SSA.

The appeal process involves up to four steps: requesting reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, an appeals council review, and filing a lawsuit in district court. An attorney can help guide you through this process.

Do not let a rejection decision discourage you from filing an appeal. In fact, up to 75 percent of people have their initial claim denied, whether it’s for supplemental security income or social security disability insurance.

What are the attorney fees?

Social Security attorney fees for helping Americans get their benefits are set by the Social Security Administration itself.

Attorney fees will be the lesser of twenty-five percent (25%) of all past-due benefits awarded to the claimant and any auxiliaries/dependents, or the dollar amount established by Social Security which is currently set at $6,000. But, the amount may be increased from time to time by the Commissioner of Social Security. If an appeal to the appeals council or federal court is made, the attorney will petition for the full 25% of all past due benefits.

For social security disability insurance, back payments cannot begin for 5 months after the established onset of the disability. Therefore, social security benefits will be paid for the sixth full month after the date the disability began until the case is approved.

For supplemental security income, back payments go back no further than the date that the application was filed.

When engaging a disability lawyer for your claim, you sign a fee agreement detailing this. You will know up front the maximum amount of your lawyer fees and you will know that this will not come from your pocket but rather from the SSA as part of the settlement process.
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