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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 might 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 choice and is dependent upon 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 information and different proof to your declare. They will assessment your software for errors or omissions that would harm your probabilities of success and may be a part of you for conferences or conferences with Social Safety officers. The SSA will work straight along with your consultant and supply entry to data out of your Social Safety file.

Having an legal professional or advocate may be particularly vital should you disagree with Social Safety’s preliminary choice in your declare and file an enchantment.

Your consultant can put together you and any witnesses in your aspect to testify at a listening to earlier than an administrative regulation decide, the second stage within the appeals course of, and may query knowledgeable witnesses that Social Safety presents. A 2017 research by the federal Authorities Accountability Workplace discovered that people who find themselves represented at incapacity hearings are almost 3 times extra doubtless to achieve success.

Tips on how to discover a incapacity legal professional

There are literally thousands 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 providers and nonprofit teams, comparable to bar associations and authorized assist organizations, that may both present or make it easier to discover illustration. The Nationwide Group of Social Safety Claimants’ Representatives additionally has a referral service, and you may search on-line authorized directories comparable to Avvo, FindLaw and Attorneys.com for attorneys in your space who focus on incapacity claims.

As soon as you have chosen somebody to deal with your case, you’ll want to notify Social Safety in writing. Obtain an SSA-1696 kind 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.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Social Safety can also be allowing claimants to verbally appoint a consultant throughout a phone listening to with an administrative regulation decide. You could 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 accredited. Any price settlement between you and your consultant should 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 price settlement, the consultant’s fee is capped by federal regulation at 25 p.c of again pay or $6,000, whichever is much less.

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

You may discover extra data 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, comparable to the price of having a medical report ready, with out Social Safety’s approval.
  • In case your declare is finally 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.