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What you need to know before you hire an SSD attorney

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You should be aware of the difficulties of getting approved for disability benefits before applying to the SSA for benefits. Be prepared with complete descriptions of your disabilities and how they prevent you from working.

All social security disability experts agree that hiring an attorney is unnecessary before applying for SSDI benefits, but the process can be contentious. For example, it’s been said that approval is only granted initially for those disabled so severely that they’re not expected to live. That’s a strict interpretation, but getting approved for Social Security disability benefits is difficult.

That’s why you’ll probably need an attorney to handle the appeals process. The agency is very strict and requires a complete application with answers to every question. All the information provided must be accurate and match the SSA’s sources of confirmation data. Even minor errors in the applications will result in a denial of benefits. For instance, if you are from Pennsylvania, you should speak with a social security disability lawyer in Altoona immediately after receiving a denial or even before filing your initial application. Then, you can probably speed up the approval process. No matter the state you are in, find an SSD attorney and let them do the heavy lifting for you.

The application process is beyond challenging

You must be prepared for a complex application process that requires extensive paperwork, personal information, and medical records. Moreover, generic descriptions of your medical issues usually won’t guarantee approval. Instead, you need to enlist your doctor’s help in describing your problems in the direst possible terms. Given these demands, it’s easy to make a simple mistake, and the SSA approval rate bears that out. Only about 40% of initial applications – less than half – win approval.

That’s why it’s so important to work with a lawyer. Attorneys routinely deal with intricate details, and it helps to have a second set of professionally competent eyes to proofread your application. For example, a disability lawyer knows how to win approval and the details of qualifying for benefits. Lawyers are also able to gather any necessary documentation.

How to pay for a lawyer when you are not working

Fighting with the Social Security Administration can be a drawn-out process that occasionally takes years to succeed. Paying a Social Security disability lawyer seems like a waste of money that you don’t even have in the first place.

Fortunately, Social Security Disability Insurance attorneys are paid on a contingency basis, which means their fees are only deducted from back payments if you win your case.

Those unable to work because of a real disability should always continue fighting, especially with an attorney’s help. The approval process can be lengthy, but you’ll receive back pay when you finally win. Furthermore, the attorney’s fees can be deducted from your back payments, so you’ll hardly notice them.

Fortunately, you can afford to retain a lawyer even if you have limited funds. Disability benefits attorneys understand this arrangement and don’t demand any upfront fees. However, you might need to convince your attorney that you qualify for benefits because they don’t accept unlikely candidates on a contingency basis.

The SSA limits the amount that lawyers can receive, so you never risk a lawyer taking advantage of you for a percentage of your back benefits. Under the rules, lawyers are limited to 25% of back pay to a maximum fee of $6000 for their services. In addition, lawyers can also charge you for fees they incurred on your behalf for transcriptions, personal records, postage and fees paid to expert witnesses, and more.

Appealing your application denial

According to experts, your appeal of an application denial stands a better chance if you hire an experienced benefits attorney. Again, it is because you’ll more likely be granted a hearing where your attorney can present evidence and expert witnesses in favor of approving the application. An example would be presenting expert testimony to describe unpleasant side effects of medication that make it difficult to work with other people.


Story by Kerry L. Tucker. Early in his journalism college years, Kerry had a revelation: there were not nearly enough law communicators. Peoples’ difficulties in understanding the law, procedures, and how the justice system worked stemmed from the fact that no one took the patience to explain complicated matters to them. Therefore, he took upon him the task of helping people navigate legal matters easier. He works with attorneys and other legal journalists, and spends time doing research so that everyone – from a mother whose child got a bike injury to a company needing insurance counsel – to find the actionable answers they are looking for.

augusta free press
augusta free press