One of the most common questions I get is: “When should I call a lawyer about by Social Security Disability claim?” The answer to that is simple, the earlier in your claim that you call a lawyer, the better. Without exception.
The Social Security Disability application process is pockmarked with hazards that become more difficult, if not impossible, to fix the longer they are ignored. In order to maximize your chances of success in your claim, always err on the side of caution and take advantage of the free initial consultation by contacting a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer as soon as possible.
When You Are Able To Plan Ahead
The ideal time to contact a Social Security Disability lawyer is before you completely stop working due to your serious medical condition. This permits the lawyer the opportunity to explain the procedure and how to bring the best claim possible to the Social Security Administration. Issues that can be resolved while you are still working include payment of back taxes to make sure that you are insured for disability benefits. Also to make sure that you have established routine medical treatment that will support you application for disability.
Another benefit is making short and long term plans for part-time work during the application process to support yourself while not jeopardizing your entitlement to benefits by working more than is permitted by the Social Security Administration. If you can see a complete or partial inability to work full-time on the horizon, that is the best tome to speak with a Social Security Disability lawyer.
When The Disability Happens Suddenly
Unfortunately, not everyone can see the disability coming and have sudden onsets of their illness like a work accident, heart attack, or cancer diagnosis. In those situations, you may not have been able to plan out your transition into Social Security Disability, but the same rule applies…the sooner you call a disability lawyer the better.
The best idea is to call before you submit your application for Social Security Disability benefits either online, or in person, or by phone to the Social Security Administration. A qualified disability lawyer can help you with your application and make sure you avoid common mistakes that can draw out an already long and tedious process.
Some issues that come up include listing the wrong “Alleged Onset Date” on your application by listing when the condition became severe as opposed to when you had to change your work activities because of the condition. Another common pitfall is misclassifying past relevant work done over the last fifteen years as more managerial or sedentary that it actually was in reality.
It is also common for people to only list the medical condition they consider to be the most serious and not properly give the Social Security Administration a comprehensive list of all medical condition for which they are treating on a regular basis. IN the event that you suddenly become unable to work full-time due to a serious medical condition, it is best to call and have a Social Security Disability lawyer assist you with your application to help get the process off on the best footing possible.
When Trying To Do It Yourself
Oftentimes people will attempt an application on their own because they have been told that the lawyer cannot assist them with an application by friends, family or even the Social Security Administration customer service representative. After hours of hard work getting the application in and supported by providing medical records they wait months and get a form letter in the mail advising them they have been denied because their condition does not prevent them from doing their past or some other type of work.
Again, the same rule applies, the sooner you call a Social Security Disability lawyer after that initial denial the better. A qualified lawyer can fix any obvious mistakes on appeal and makes sure that you appeal is timely. You should note that typically Social Security only gives you sixty days after the date on the letter to request that they reconsider and appeal your denial. The Social Security Disability lawyer can ensure that all medical records have been submitted and updated to the disability examiner and also ensure that all know medical conditions are being considered. While not ideal, there is still plenty of time at this step to get the claim back on track.
When Scheduled For A Hearing With Judge
So what happens if you have made it all the way to having a hearing scheduled with the Social Security judge and have still not called a lawyer to help you with your claim? Even now the same rule applies. The sooner you call the better. It can take weeks to get medical records even with a release, so do not hesitate to call just because you think it may be too late.
The alternative is to give up your claim and start over at the back of a 24-30 month long line. The best option is to hire an attorney and see if they can get up to speed by the scheduled hearing date. If they cannot, they can move the hearing back by a few months which, while frustrating, is better than starting the claim over. So even in the scenario where you have waited to the last minute to call an attorney all is not lost and the claim can still be salvaged.
Get Help With Your Claim Today.
The moral of the story is simple, hesitating to call a Social Security Disability lawyer when you are or even may soon be missing work can make obtaining the benefits to which you are entitled more difficult the longer you wait. In the end it comes down to the fact that Social Security Disability attorneys have the experience and familiarity with the Social Security red tape to know how to best move you through the confusion and get you accepted as quickly as possible.
I have been specializing in Social Security Disability law since 2010 and have taken hundreds if not thousands of claims to hearing in the Florida Panhandle. Call, email or simply join our mailing list if you would like to know more about Social Security Disability or set an appointment to ask questions. Our initial appointments are always free and the sooner you call the sooner we can start avoiding those pitfalls together.