Do I Want a Lawyer to Apply for SSI or SSDI Advantages?


En español | It isn’t required, however you do have a proper to skilled illustration in your dealings with the Social Safety Administration (SSA). This could possibly be an legal professional, or a incapacity advocate who is not a lawyer however has handed an SSA-administered examination and met different academic and occupational necessities.

Whether or not or to not search such assistance is a private determination and is determined by your particular person circumstances. However analysis has proven that having an expert consultant can increase your probabilities of getting Social Safety Incapacity Insurance coverage (SSDI) or Supplemental Safety Revenue (SSI), the 2 SSA-run packages that pay advantages to individuals with disabilities.

A lawyer or advocate can fill out the SSDI or SSI software in your behalf and assist collect medical data and different proof on your declare. They’ll assessment your software for errors or omissions that would damage your probabilities of success and may be part of you for conferences or conferences with Social Safety officers. The SSA will work straight along with your consultant and supply entry to info out of your Social Safety file.

Having an legal professional or advocate will be particularly essential when you disagree with Social Safety’s preliminary determination in your declare and file an enchantment.

Your consultant can put together you and any witnesses in your facet to testify at a listening to earlier than an administrative legislation decide, the second degree within the appeals course of, and may query professional witnesses that Social Safety presents. A 2017 examine by the federal Authorities Accountability Workplace discovered that people who find themselves represented at incapacity hearings are practically thrice extra possible to achieve success.

The right way to discover a incapacity legal professional

There are millions of attorneys {and professional} advocates throughout the U.S. with experience in Social Safety incapacity. Some advocates previously labored for the SSA, as incapacity examiners or claims representatives.

Your native Social Safety workplace can present an inventory of authorized referral companies and nonprofit teams, akin to bar associations and authorized help organizations, that may both present or assist you discover illustration. The Nationwide Group of Social Safety Claimants’ Representatives additionally has a referral service, and you’ll search on-line authorized directories akin to Avvo, FindLaw and Legal professionals.com for attorneys in your space who specialise in incapacity claims.

As soon as you have chosen somebody to deal with your case, you should notify Social Safety in writing. Obtain an SSA-1696 type from the Social Safety web site and ship the finished model to your native Social Safety workplace. Alternatively, your consultant can file it for you electronically. Each you and your consultant might want to present an digital signature for verification.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Social Safety can also be allowing claimants to verbally appoint a consultant throughout a phone listening to with an administrative legislation decide. You will need to nonetheless submit the written discover afterward.

How a lot does it value?

Most incapacity attorneys and advocates work on a contingency foundation, which means they solely receives a commission in case your declare is authorized. Any payment settlement between you and your consultant have to be licensed by Social Safety.

In case your declare is profitable, Social Safety pays your consultant straight out of your “again pay” — past-due advantages the SSA can award if it determines after the truth that you have been medically certified to obtain advantages whereas nonetheless awaiting a ruling in your case. In a typical payment settlement, the consultant’s fee is capped by federal legislation at 25 % of again pay or $6,000, whichever is much less.

In sure circumstances, your consultant could file a payment petition with Social Safety requesting greater than the $6,000 cap — for instance, in case your declare concerned a number of appeals that required loads of extra work, or when you switched attorneys midstream and each are looking for fee. Social Safety should approve any extra payment.

You may discover extra info within the Social Safety publication “Your Proper to Illustration.”

Bear in mind

  • Your lawyer or advocate is allowed to invoice you for out-of-pocket bills, akin to the price of having a medical report ready, with out Social Safety’s approval.
  • In case your declare is in the end denied and there’s no again pay, your consultant can use the fee-petition course of to request fee, however they can’t accumulate in the event that they signed a contingency-fee settlement upon taking the case.

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