You want to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits because you are getting to the point where your disability is keeping you from being able to work, and you know that it is time to find a solution. You have heard that it can take anywhere from five months to almost two years to receive SSDI benefits if you are approved, but you have also heard that as few as thirty percent of applicants get approved at the initial application level. You might be wondering, Is there any way to speed up a Social Security Disability claim? Will hiring a Disability lawyer help me get approved for benefits?
Working with a disability lawyer does give you some important advantages. You are never required to hire a lawyer to be approved for benefits, but having an attorney on your side as you wade through the challenging task of applying for SSDI benefits has countless advantages over trying to do it all on your own.
What does a disability lawyer do?
A Disability lawyer will make sure that your application is completed properly, that every question is answered completely and accurately, that all your medical documentation is attached, and the medical tests you have taken clearly tell the story of your disability. If you try to do it on your own, and you do not know how to answer a question, if skip a question or give an incomplete answer, the Social Security Administration will have to get back to you to clarify your answers, which adds delays.
A disability lawyer knows precisely what to do to make sure that your case is on track. They know how to follow-up with the state Disability Determination Service (DDS) on your application to make sure that the SSA has all the information it needs from you.
It’s not that your lawyer will make the process go faster; it moves at the pace it moves. But hiring an attorney gives you a better chance at having your application approved the first time. In short, lawyers help you avoid delays, which can, in turn, prevent you from getting your benefits quickly.
What is an OTR decision in a SSDI application?
If your initial application gets denied, an experienced Disability lawyer knows how to appeal your case. They have helped countless people before you face the same obstacles that you are facing, so they know what to do to help increase the chances of your application getting approved. Once your initial claim has been denied, your attorney can request that an adjudicator at the Agency’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) review the case. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can issue an OTR (on the record) decision if the evidence supports a finding in the applicant’s favor based on a preponderance of the evidence without the need to hold a hearing.
Before you can get an OTR decision, your attorney will prepare a brief that presents a compelling case as to how your disability meets SSA requirements and why you should be approved for benefits.
Additional options for your SSDI benefits application
If your medical condition is so dire that you meet the SSA’s requirements for a compassionate allowance, your waiting time will be greatly reduced. There are more than 200 disabling conditions that qualify for the compassionate allowance program.
If your financial situation is critical, your disability lawyer can submit a “Dire need” letter. However, it is important to understand that most people who are applying for SSDI benefits are in dire need, or will be very soon if they are disabled enough to qualify for SSDI benefits and they have been unable to work.
The SSA and DDS have massive application backlogs. They must work through thousands of applications of people asking for help. While your Maryville Disability attorney from Shepherd and Associates cannot guarantee that your application will move more quickly or be approved, you will benefit from working with an experienced professional who will be your advocate and represent you through all of the stages of your appeals.
At Shepherd and Associates, P.C., our disability attorneys are here to help you file an application for disability benefits, or represent you in an appeal. You are welcome to call us at 865-225-9655 or complete the contact form to a case review with and experienced Maryville Social Security Disability lawyer today. We serve clients throughout East Tennessee.