Why you want an attorney helping with your Social Security Disability application

Applying for SSD benefits can be more difficult than you may think

One of the most disorienting aspects of filing a disability claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA) is the prospect of having to deal with the language of Social Security Disability (SSD) law and procedure.

To be eligible for disability benefits under the SSD program, you have to have some form of disability that makes it impossible to continue working. As an initial requirement, you have to have worked enough periods of time and paid into the Social Security system, via those FICA deductions on your paycheck, which varies depending on your age, because SSD is not an "entitlement," it is, as the name implies, an insurance program.

If you have a genuine impairment and have earned sufficient SSD credits, you have one more hurdle to clear. You must prove to the SSA and its state Disability Determination Services, that you are disabled under their definition of "disability" by submitting a lengthy application.

SSD application process can be complex

The application is complex, as most individuals have no experience putting together a body of evidence that supports their claim. They know they hurt, cannot lift much or any weight, suffer chronic back pain, have heart disease or some form of cancer. They live it, so to them, it is the most obvious thing in the world.

The SSA and DDS, however, do not inhabit your body and they do not experience your pain. This is where the application, a reconsideration, or hearings in front of an Administrative Law Judge come into play.

This is your opportunity to show, with evidence of medical treatment, tests, therapy, and other medical documentation, how your impairment renders work impossible. In some cases, it is straightforward. You may have had numerous tests that you can produce for the application that indicates you suffer from lung cancer or some similar condition.

You may even qualify for one the SSA's Compassionate Allowances, which can expedite a claim for an applicant suffering from one of a number of listed severe impairments.

Medical documentation and evidence necessary for success

For everyone else, your process may be more complex. And this is where an attorney can help. They have experience working with SSA and their various procedures. They know the types of medical documentation that may be necessary for a certain claim and they can help you to avoid obvious mistakes and errors in your application that you may not recognize.

They also are comfortable working with administrative law judges in a hearing. For the average individual, sitting in a hearing room while someone asks questions about something as complicated as an SSD application can be a very stressful experience and that stress can lead to confusion or inaccurate responses that may lead to further denials of your claim.