We are often asked by clients if and when they should hire a social security disability attorney. The answer is: IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOU FILE YOUR APPLICATION. Although there are many reasons, here are the top three to hire an attorney immediately after you file your claim.
Why Do I Need a Social Security Disability Attorney?
1. Review Misleading Forms
When an initial application is filed, the claim is sent to the Disability Determination Services in Columbus, Frankfort, or Indianapolis, depending on the state where you reside—often referred to as the “State Agency.”
The Disability Determination Services will then send you several forms to complete: an Adult Disability Report and a Work History Report. In Kentucky, the claimant may also receive a Pain Questionnaire and a Function Report – Adult.
These forms are misleading and should be reviewed by an attorney before they are submitted. The information on these forms is frequently used by the Disability Determination Services’ vocational and medical consultants to deny your claim.
The physicians they use to review this information, and your medical records often render opinions outside of their specialty. Most physicians are older, or they have retired. In our experience, most claims were reviewed by a dermatologist, pathologist, or a general family practitioner with no specialty whatsoever.
To make matters worse, by the time your claim gets to the hearing level, the information you provided is outdated and incomplete. When your claim is scheduled for a hearing, you probably won’t remember receiving these forms, and you certainly won’t remember any of the answers you provided.
Nevertheless, many administrative law judges will use this information to deny your claim. An attorney will review your responses before they are submitted to help you avoid this pitfall.
2. Prepare You for Evaluations
Often, following the initial application, the Disability Determination Services will require you to have one or more examinations and evaluations by a consultant physician or psychologist on their payroll. These exams are often cursory and rarely helpful.
It is our policy to prepare the client in advance for such an examination to minimize the damage these examinations can cause a claim.
3. Create Useful Forms for Your Doctor to Complete
If your claim is scheduled for a hearing, the only medical opinions in your claim file are the ones rendered by the State Agency consultants, which are generally unhelpful. Your claim would not be at the hearing level if their opinions were at all supportive of your claim.
Your treating physicians may or may not have submitted their medical records, depending on when they were requested. Your medical records usually do not contain opinions about your functional limitations in a form that is useful in your claim and acceptable under Social Security Regulations.
A statement from your doctor that you are disabled—and therefore unable to work—is unacceptable and will always be ignored by the Social Security Administration. We create and provide appropriate forms for your doctor to complete that address the specific limitations caused by your impairments.
The questions on these forms are framed in a way that is useful and persuasive. These forms are often essential in obtaining a favorable decision and represent the only opinions contrary to State Agency opinions.
The lengthy and complex process of applying for social security disability can leave you in a difficult financial position. Enlist the help of our esteemed social security attorneys at David W. Kapor & Associates LLC in Cincinnati, OH, to help expedite the process and improve your chances of a successful claim. We can help you throughout every stage, including the application and appeals processes. Find out more about our law firm online or schedule a consultation by calling (513) 721-2820.