Social Security Disability applicants may hire a lawyer at any stage of the claim and appeal process. They do not need to wait until they are denied benefits to hire an attorney. Having Social Security Disability lawyers onboard early could make the application process go more smoothly.

SSDI Claim Process Can Be Confusing

Many people wait until their Social Security Disability claim is denied before considering hiring a lawyer. However, the claim process is often confusing and can become overwhelming for those who have never applied before.

Applicants for SSDI or SSI benefits should make their claims as soon as they become disabled:

  • SSDI benefits do not begin until the sixth full month of disability is reached. The waiting period begins the first full month after the Social Security Administration (SSA) decides the date of disability began.
  • SSI disability benefits are not paid until after the first full month after the date the claim is filed. In some cases, it could be later.

The claims process involves filling out many forms. SSDI and SSI forms can be filled out online, over the phone, or at a Social Security office. If these forms are filled out incorrectly, the claim will be denied. Claimants must also provide the SSA with sufficient medical evidence that proves the severity of the disability. If the evidence is insufficient, the claim will be denied.

If the SSA denies a claim, whether it is because a form is filled out incorrectly or there is insufficient medical evidence, the claimant will need to file an appeal. The appeals process can take months, or in some cases, years. Having a social security lawyer to assist with the initial filing can help avoid mistakes that will delay disability benefits.

Is a Lawyer Required to File an Appeal?

An SSDI or SSI applicant who has their claim denied is not required to hire Social Security Disability lawyers to file an appeal. They may file a Request for Reconsideration, which begins the appeals process on their own. A claimant may also attend an appeal hearing on their own, also. However, this does not mean they should.

While not required, having legal representation at a disability hearing could help with overturning the Social Security Administration’s decision. It helps avoid legal missteps that could lead to additional denials that prevent applicants from receiving the benefits they need.