How a SSD Attorney Can Help Your Case
If you are considering filing for Social Security Disability benefits, or have already filed and received an initial denial, you may ask yourself: Do I need a disability attorney for my SSD case? This can be a crucial question—much more so than you might think. SS disability applications can be complex and ensuring you have the type of documentation necessary to be awarded disability benefits can be even more challenging.
This is the primary reason why approximately two-thirds of all initial applications are denied. Globe Newswire found that as of 2021, the nationwide initial application approval rate for SS disability rose from 37 percent to 39 percent—an improvement, yet the approval rate is still barely more than a third at first application. At the first appeal, known as reconsideration, the nationwide approval rates increased just slightly, from 13 percent to 14 percent.
At the second appeal—the Administrative Law Judge hearing level—nationwide approval rates increased from 45 percent to 49 percent nationwide. These approval rates are somewhat dismal, but the answer to the question of whether you need a disability attorney for your SSD case can be found within those numbers. Filing for Social Security disability benefits can be complicated and confusing—at best.
While you do not technically need an attorney to represent you during the application process, having an experienced legal advocate by your side can improve your chances of being approved. Once you get to the appeal stages, having an attorney is even more important. The knowledgeable, highly skilled SSD attorneys at Carmichael Law Group have been helping people just like you for many years.
Not only do we help clients in Alabama, but we help clients nationwide. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from working, you are entitled to Social Security disability benefits. You will pay our firm nothing unless you are approved for SSD benefits. We fight hard for our clients—for their right to obtain disability benefits and for their futures.
We will fight hard for you, whether with your initial application or working on your behalf throughout the appeals process. You do not need to go through this alone—Carmichael Law Group can help you receive the disability benefits you need and deserve. In the end, statistics have shown that the SSA is simply more likely to approve individuals represented by an attorney.
Think about it like this—when you have a highly skilled disability attorney telling your story in a way that clearly shows how your disability has impacted your day-to-day life as well as your ability to work and make a living, this is just as important as meeting SSDI’s impairment listing.
Social Security does not pay for partial disability or short-term disability—only total disability. SSA determines whether you are disabled by asking the following five questions:
- Are you currently working? If you are working, and you are consistently making more than $1,310 per month, you will probably not be considered disabled.
- Does your disability prevent you from performing basic work-related activities (walking, standing, sitting, remembering)? In short, is your condition considered “severe?”
- Does your disabling medical condition meet or equal the severity of a listing found in the Blue Book list of medical conditions?
- Are you able to do the work you did prior to your disability?
- Can you make an adjustment to do any other type of work?
Why Do I Need a Disability Attorney for My SSD Case?
The question of whether you need a disability attorney for your SSD case is more thoroughly answered below.
- You Only Pay the Attorney if You Win Your Case—Our disability attorneys work on what is known as a contingency. This means we charge nothing upfront. Since most disability applicants are financially unstable as they are unable to work and make a living, this allows anyone who is seeking disability benefits to afford our services. We are only paid when a client wins their disability claim. Even then, we are only entitled to a specific percentage or amount of any back or past-due benefits you receive from the SSA. We do not receive any money from your regular monthly benefits check. The only money we receive comes from the back pay of a successful award of disability. When you hire an attorney from Carmichael Law Group, you will sign a contingency fee agreement—much as you would do for a personal injury lawsuit. This agreement gives the SSA permission to pay the fees for our services once you are approved for disability benefits. Prior to approving the legal fees paid to our firm, the SSA will review the fee agreement to ensure it complies with all regulations.
- Attorney Fees in Disability Cases are Capped—It is important that you understand all costs and benefits of having an attorney from Carmichael Law Group on your side. Costs are actually very straightforward. Our disability attorneys charge a fee that is regulated by federal law. This fee is usually the lesser of 25 percent of your disability back pay, or $6,000. How much will your backpay be? While every case is different, let’s assume your claim is approved 18 months following your initial application. You are entitled to the waiting period less five months—which would be 13 months of back pay, however, the limit for back pay is 12 months. The “average” SSD monthly benefits payment is $1,277, which would equal $15,324 that you are entitled to receive in back pay. Twenty-five percent of $15,324 is $3,831. Considering you might not have ever received disability benefits without the help of an attorney, this fee seems more than reasonable.
- Professional Preparation of Your Initial Application—Your initial Social Security disability application will require you to submit about 40 pages of forms filled with information regarding your medical condition, your education, your work history, your limitations, and your capabilities. Putting all this information together can be a daunting task, particularly if you are in ill health. The disability attorneys at Carmichael Law Group fill out these forms on a regular basis. They know how to complete the required forms in a manner that will increase your odds of being approved for disability benefits. The information contained in these initial forms can maximize the money you receive and minimize your wait time when it is properly presented in the manner the SSA requires and has all necessary documentation attached. Since the SSA has an endless set of rules that are often confusing and frustrating, having a highly-skilled attorney from Carmichael Law Group prepare your paperwork simply makes sense. We know the process inside and out. We can quickly determine whether your condition meets the SSA criteria, and we know how to obtain the required medical information and evidence in support of your disability claim. If your claim is denied, our seasoned attorneys can quickly identify the problem or problems and work to overcome them. If there is a way to get your claim approved, the attorneys at Carmichael Law Group will do so.
- An Experienced Advocate During the Appeals Process and Representation at Your Hearing—The first step following a denied initial application for disability benefits is to file for a reconsideration hearing. If the reconsideration hearing is unsuccessful, the next stage is a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Having an attorney from Carmichael Law Group means you have a legal professional who will gather all relevant medical evidence and submit that evidence in a professional manner. If your case is being heard before an Administrative Law Judge, we will draft a detailed brief on your behalf. Throughout the appeals process, we will ensure there are solid opinions from your doctors regarding your disability—opinions that solidly back your disability claim. Since you are likely to be questioned by the Administrative Law Judge, we will prepare you for these questions prior to the hearing, obtaining positive testimony from you. We will cross-examine the Medical or Vocational experts when necessary to fully demonstrate your inability to work. If your appeal goes to the Appeals Council and federal court, we will prepare legal arguments that clearly show you were wrongly denied SS disability benefits by the SSA. Since almost two-thirds of all initial applications are denied, it is highly likely you will be forced to file an appeal and may have to go further in the appeals process. There are strict deadlines for these appeals—our firm has procedures in place to make sure appeals are always filed in a timely manner.
- Your Chances of Winning Your SSD Case Significantly Increase When You Hire an Attorney—The most important reason you should hire a Social Security disability benefits attorney from Carmichael Law Group is that when you do, your chances of being approved are significantly increased. The SSA is simply more likely to approve an applicant who is represented by an attorney than one who is not. The attorneys at Carmichael Law Group understand the SS disability application process and know how to present your case so that there is no question about your disability. We can assist you in obtaining the significant level of medical documentation from your doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare workers. We can ensure you fully understand the SSA’s impairment listing for your disability, ensuring you meet the criteria. Our knowledgeable disability attorneys will greatly reduce the risk of your claim being rejected due to insufficient medical proof of disability. Once we submit your initial application, we will check in with the SSA on a regular basis, making sure you receive all updates as soon as they are available. All attorneys who practice before the SSA must comply with the SSA’s Rules of Conduct and Standards of Responsibility. When you hire an experienced disability attorney from Carmichael Law Group you can feel confident knowing our attorneys respect our ethical obligations, professional conduct rules, and, of course, attorney-client privilege.
Get Experienced Help Right Now
Regardless of whether you are applying for Social Security disability benefits for the first time, or you are appealing a denied claim, Carmichael Law Group can help you. Our overarching goal is to get you the maximum amount of benefits as quickly as possible. We are a nationwide SS disability firm. No matter where you live, we will work hard to help you get your disability benefits. We understand your current situation and will move the process along as quickly as possible. Contact Carmichael Law Group today.