When claiming for Social Security, hiring social security lawyers might feel like a big step. You will want to save as much money as possible and might be wary of incurring legal expenses. However, if any of the following apply to you, it may be time to talk to an attorney about your claim.
1. Your initial claim was denied
The majority of Social Security benefit applications in Michigan are denied on the first attempt. While denial is normal, it does indicate there was an issue with your initial claim.
Social security lawyers can help you determine exactly where the mistake was made. They can also offer support and advice. This can be very useful if you are feeling discouraged about the process and worried about your failed application.
2. Confusion over the appeals process
The appeals process for Social Security claims is very specific. If you are unfamiliar with the process and are unsure of how to proceed, this is a sign you need the help of a professional.
You only have 60 days to appeal your case to a higher level. If trying to apply and prepare for the hearing on your own, you may find yourself overwhelmed.
There are many parts of a hearing that you may struggle to complete on your own, such as preparing for questions from the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). A Social Security attorney can explain how the hearing will go and prepare you, as well as representing you at the hearing itself.
3. You are missing medical evidence
Proving that you meet the SSA definition for disability is crucial to winning your case. However, it can be difficult to understand which pieces of medical evidence will be of the most help, and which ones might cost you the case by their absence. If you are informed that your medical records are not sufficient, you may not know what to do next.
A major benefit of social security disability lawyers is that they have dealt with many of these cases before. Determining which medical records might be missing, and how to locate and submit them, will be simple for an experienced attorney.
4. Your appeal was denied
If you appeal your claim and it is denied, you have the option to take your case to the Social Security’s Appeals Council. Following this, if your claim is still not approved, you have the right to appeal to a Federal court.
If you represented yourself during the initial, unsuccessful appeal hearing, there is a chance you were unable to provide the information and arguments needed. A denied appeal is a strong indicator that you need the assistance of a social security lawyer for the next level.
5. Confusion over disability definitions
One area that can be particularly difficult to navigate without the help of an attorney is the way the SSA defines disabilities. If your disability does not fall into a specific disability listing, it must meet the requirements set out in the SSA guidelines. These are sometimes referred to as the grid.
The medical records you provide, as well as the way you frame your arguments, must place you within the grid. If there is any question over how you fit into these definitions, you might need to request the help of an attorney.
Because this is a common issue in social security cases, a social security benefits lawyer will understand how your disability fits into the grid. He or she will also know how to argue this at a hearing.
6. Worry over money
The longer it takes to process a disability claim, the more worried you may become about money. You can only claim for disability in Michigan if you are unable to work, and you may be living off your savings or forced to borrow money as you wait.
Hiring a social security lawyer has the potential to speed up your case, allowing you to access your benefits as soon as possible.