The path to receiving Social Security disability benefits is long and complex. I tell all my clients that I wish they didn’t need legal representation, but I would never advise anyone fight for their benefits without disability lawyer. Having a Social Security attorney is even more effective.
Social Security statistically denies 80% of applications for benefits at the initial level and 90% at the reconsideration level. At the hearing level, Charleston Administrative Law Judges do not grant awards approximately 60% of the time. At the Appeals Council level, 80% are denied but roughly 50% receive benefits or remands at the U.S. District Court level.
Having an attorney, particularly one who specializes in Social Security cases, can significantly increase your chances of success. A recent survey showed that only 23% of those who attended a hearing unrepresented were awarded benefits compared to 50% of those who attended with an attorney.
Those trying to navigate their Social Security disability benefits without experience run the risk of being one of those negative statistics. To best position yourself or your loved one to receive disability benefits, I recommend hiring an attorney who focuses on Social Security. There are two main reasons for this: (1) a knowledge of complex Social Security rules and regulations, and (2) the ability to handle appeals in U.S. District Court.
Knowledge of Social Security: An attorney who focuses on Social Security is likely to know the most current regulations, be a member of a National Social Security organization and know the personal preferences of judges.
Social Security law is governed by Social Security Regulations, HALLEX, listings, grid rules and non-traditional rules of evidence. If your attorney is not familiar with all these different layers of law, they may not be the best choice to develop your case.
An attorney focused on Social Security most likely has a well-developed knowledge of the Administrative Law Judges’ preferences. Knowing how a judge conducts their courtroom, what a judge is likely to perceive as positives or negatives in your case, and other important subtleties are crucial to winning a case. Having an experienced Social Security disability attorney can significantly help your chances of success.
Ability to handle appeals: As much as you want to win at your hearing, you may be wrongly denied. An attorney who is familiar with the appeals process can work up a strong case at the hearing level to preserve your right for appeal and set you up for success in your Social Security disability case.
Further, some Social Security representatives are non-attorneys. Non-attorneys are not able to file cases in U.S. District Court. Having an attorney who is able and willing to file an appeal in U.S. District Court helps you maintain the continuity of your Social Security case instead of trying to find new representation.
Contact Mallary Scheer, a Social Security attorney in Charleston, to learn more.