How can a Disability Representative Help me Dispute a Denied Benefits Claim?
Poor representation in the past. A case denied, even with representation. Lack of funds to hire a representative. All of these reasons are valid for opting to go solo on your Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) appeal. However, if your letter reads something like “claim denied disability benefits”, representation proves a wise choice.
Furthermore, enlisting an ally in filing paperwork and attending hearings falls within your rights. The Social Security Administration (SSA) knows that filing applications in the midst of dealing with disability and loss of income are not easy. They want you to receive the benefits you deserve (though your experience may feel otherwise).
How does a representative help when a claim is denied? Check it out.
Choosing a Representative
Finding reputable attorney or non-attorney representation might feel more like guessing. But, qualified and effective help is available, if you know the key qualities to look for. Even if your past representation fell flat or led to your current denial, do not lose hope.
Research and hire someone who is:
Proximity to your representative allows you to meet face-to-face. While technology puts people in contact across the world, being able to get together in person builds relationships and opens communication in helpful ways. Furthermore, you want someone who takes time to thoroughly answer questions at all stages of the process.
Likely, at this point in the Social Security process, you realize the complexities and hidden nuances of filing a claim. With claim denied disability benefits, you may also recognize your need for help. There is no shame in this fact. A disability representative know about the Social Security process and your condition helps make clear those complexities.
You want someone experienced to represent you. Check experience level, success rate and if the person previously represented anyone with your condition. Each of these points brings needed feet-on-the-ground insight to your appeal hearing. Attorneys or other representatives specializing in SSDI cases add depth of experience to your case.
A Disability Representative is Your Ally
You have the right to appeal a denied benefit claim. The first step is filing for a reconsideration, which simply asks the SSA to review your supporting evidence again. Next, you take your case before an administrative law judge (ALJ). In an appeal hearing, you meet with an ALJ, and your case is reviewed verbally.
Many Social Security cases are denied due to a lack of evidence. Representation ensures you submit the proper proof of disability and increases your chance of receiving benefits. A disability representative helps in:
Filing Forms and Meeting Deadlines
The process of applying for and appealing a Social Security decision appears straightforward and simple. And, filling in application blanks supports this thought. However, the information required and documentation needed to get complicated. A disability representative ensures the right information fills in the blanks and the right documentation gets to the SSA or ALJ.
Plus, the SSA is tight on its deadlines. If you miss your opportunity to request a reconsideration or appeal (60 days from your denial letter), the process starts over again. You re-do the SSDI application with the required paperwork. Unfortunately, this wastes your time and delays benefits. A representative keeps the process on track.
Preparing You for Your Hearing
The ALJ reviews medical records, your testimony, and the thoughts of witnesses. A qualified representative prepares you in two ways. First, experienced advocates know the evidence an ALJ looks for to support a case. Your attorney or representative gathers any missing documentation needed to explain your claim, saving you time and strengthening your case.
Second, a representative explains the format of the hearing and practices answering questions with you. This preparation calms your nerves and helps you give truthful, on-target responses, boosting your case. Lack of preparation often results in another denial. A disability representative saves you from this fate.
Advocating for You at the Hearing
Walking into a hearing intimidates many appeal seekers. A representative stands by your side and advocates on your behalf. Their knowledge of SSDI cases enables them to effectively question witnesses and experts. Furthermore, they counter-arguments with information not known to those outside the system.
Local, experienced representatives offer an understanding of the flow of hearings as well as how the judge thinks. With this insight, they are able to deal with the unexpected and cater to the ALJ overseeing your case. This advocacy strengthens your case, keeps it moving forward, and improves your chance of victory.
Denial by the ALJ
In the event that your case is denied at the ALJ level, your representative helps you pursue further appeals. Meeting deadlines and providing documentation to the Appeals Council for review (the next step) or the Federal Court after that is the job of your advocate.
Finding experienced disability representation that gets you, gets your case, and gets the system is key. Let us help you identify the best advocate for your case and get you the benefits you deserve. Contact us today.