A good Social Security disability lawyer should be able to tell you several things about your case. These include what evidence you need and where to get it, whether you meet a disability “listing,” what percentage of cases similar to yours get approved, and how your case will be handled internally.
The disability approval process can be long and complex, especially if you get denied and have to go through the appeals system. You can save yourself a lot of time and headaches by getting approved on the first try. One way to maximize your chances of this is to hire the right lawyer.
What Evidence You Need and Where to Get It
The key to a successful Social Security disability claim is good evidence. Upon evaluating your case, your lawyer should be able to tell you what evidence you need to submit to the Social Security Administration (SSA) with your application and where to find this evidence, which might include your medical records to show your limitations, lab test results, doctors’ statements, work records, tax returns, and so forth.
Tell You If You Need Additional Testing
Your lawyer should also be able to tell you whether you need to undergo additional medical testing to buttress your claim. They can let you know which of your doctors to ask for personal statements detailing your functional limitations. Functional limitations are the hardships your disability places on you by preventing you from working or carrying out daily living activities.
Last, if there is any bad evidence out there that could undermine your claim—for instance, records showing you have successfully worked full-time since developing your condition—your lawyer should know how to minimize its significance.
Whether You Meet a Disability “Listing”
The easiest way to get approved for Social Security disability is to meet a Blue Book listing. The Blue Book is the SSA’s list of approved medical conditions. Each condition has a listing in the book, and under that listing are the criteria you must meet for approval. These criteria tend to be tough to satisfy, which is why most people who get approved do not do it through a Blue Book listing.
You can still qualify for benefits if you do not meet a Blue Book listing. Your attorney should be able to let you know, based on the information in your medical records, whether you meet a Blue Book listing or whether you must get approved through a different method, such as a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test.
What Percentage of Cases Like Yours Get Approved
A good Social Security disability lawyer should be able to tell you not just about your case but others similar to yours. When you sit down with a Social Security disability attorney for an initial consultation, you should ask them several questions. Perhaps most important, you should ask what percentage of their clients get approved for disability. If you have met with multiple lawyers, you can compare their results.
In addition to an attorney’s overall approval rate, it can be helpful to know the percentage of first try approvals (as opposed to on appeal) and approvals for full benefits rather than partial benefits. The attorney should also be able to give you these numbers for cases similar to yours. In other words, if you are applying for a back injury, the lawyer should have statistics on clients who have applied with similar back injuries.
How Your Case Will Be Handled
You want a lawyer with a successful track record who will work hard to see to it that your disability claim has the best chance of approval. But you also want a lawyer who is transparent, easy to get in touch with, and keeps you in the loop throughout the process. When you meet with a lawyer for the first time, ask them about their client services protocol.
In particular, your attorney should be able to tell you who you can contact whenever you have questions, concerns, or issues. They should let know whether you will have a case manager and, if so, who that person will be. They should tell you how large their caseload is—will they have sufficient time to focus on your claim, or will it get lost in an endless stack?
To Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Social Security Disability Lawyer, Call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, at 866-628-8179
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we believe in putting the client first in everything we do. Our firm is completely transparent, client-focused, and ready to go to work for you on your disability claim. To speak with us today, call us at 866-628-8179. We look forward to hearing from you.