If you find yourself unable to work and need to pursue a Social Security Disability claim, you may feel unsure about you can expect from hiring an attorney. You are not alone—most people have never been through the disability application process before, so it's natural to feel some uncertainty. However, if you're seeking disability benefits, it is important to have a full-service attorney on your side to guide you through the process. Here are five reasons why it's beneficial to hire an experienced Social Security attorney:
Preparation of the Initial Claim
Your attorney can start your claim by filing it for you. The attorney should make sure your application contains the information necessary to maximize the money you may receive and minimize your wait time. Your attorney should also know what information and documentation Social Security needs so that communication problems don't cause your case to be unnecessarily delayed or denied altogether. At Keller & Keller, the experience we have with initial claims puts us in a position to make sure your claim is filed the right way.
Filing of Appeals
If you have talked to many people who are receiving disability benefits, you're likely to hear about how important the appeals process can be for obtaining benefits. The overwhelming majority of applications are denied, which makes preparing for appeals an essential part of any good attorney's job. Social Security cases often involve several appeals. It is very important to keep in mind that there are strict deadlines for these appeals. Your attorney should certainly be aware of these deadlines and have procedures in place to make sure that appeals are filed on time. Keller & Keller understands the importance of this, and uses a computerized system to ensure deadlines are met.
Management of Evidence
Your attorney should make sure Social Security has the evidence it needs to award you benefits. He or she should provide comprehensive information about your doctors and/or hospitalizations so that the appropriate medical records can be obtained. The attorney can also communicate with your doctors about other documentation which may support your case. Sometimes, it can be helpful to present witnesses at your hearing or obtain evidence from your former employers. Your attorney should know the evidence that will help your case and develop a plan for getting it in front of Social Security's decision maker. We view this as a crucial aspect of the process and work to make your case as strong as possible.
Representation at Your Hearing
Your attorney will be by your side when you go before the judge at your Social Security hearing. Before you see the judge, your lawyer should communicate with you to prepare you for the hearing and answer your questions. The pre-hearing communication also gives the attorney the information necessary to ask you the right questions at the hearing so you can offer the most persuasive testimony possible.
Your attorney can make an opening statement and closing argument at your hearing. Almost every hearing involves one or more experts. The testimony of a vocational expert (an expert in jobs) can be very important for your case, and only an experienced Social Security attorney can effectively perform the cross-examination of this expert. Judges often rely heavily on medical or psychological experts, and an experienced Social Security attorney can question these experts as well.
Keller & Keller attorneys will work with you before the hearing in a sympathetic and compassionate manner so that they understand the impairments that make you unable to work. But if an expert at the hearing offers unfair testimony that could hurt your case, you can expect a fierce and relentless cross-examination from this same attorney.
Legal Analysis and Brief Writing
As a Social Security claim progresses, it generally becomes more and more legally complicated. Some cases are appealed all the way to federal court, where the presentation of a case requires extensive legal brief writing. These briefs are most effectively prepared by an attorney with an understanding of the many cases which comprise the body of Social Security case law. Keller & Keller attorneys have used this knowledge to win cases at the district court level and before the United States Courts of Appeals.
If you have questions about your case and how a Keller & Keller Social Security attorney may be able to help you, call us at 1-800-2KELLER.