What Does a Disability Attorney Do?


If you need Social Security Disability benefits, you are likely in no condition to take on the Social Security Disability process, which is overwhelming at the best of times. While there is no requirement to hire a disability attorney, it is almost certainly in your best interest to do so. Social Security Disability attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and wherewithal to help ensure that your application is accurate and to advocate for your rights every step of the way. The fact is that, when it comes to Social Security Disability applications, various issues are bound to arise, and your disability attorney has the skills and dedication to address them effectively and efficiently from the get-go.

Learn more: Our Social Security Disability Resource Guide contains practical information and links to all our SSD content.

Why Hire a Disability Attorney?

The disability application process is notoriously complicated, and it can even be fickle. An attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability understands the ins and outs of the process and speaks the same language as the Social Security Administration (SSA). While you can attempt to take on the SSA disability application process on your own, it is an extremely exacting process that requires steely determination and extensive knowledge of the system. If you need disability services, you need them now, and wading through the process on your own is not likely to put your time and personal resources to good use at a time when you should be concentrating on improving your health and well-being.

Your disability attorney will communicate with the SSA on your behalf, will keep up with all necessary correspondence, will file all necessary forms and documents, will ensure that said forms and documents are correctly formatted, and will ensure that the information therein is not only accurate but also the exact information required. In other words, your disability attorney will attend to all the necessary details of an exceedingly important process that is detail-driven.

Your Case’s Initial Review

Wherever you are in the disability application process, your disability attorney will carefully go over every aspect of your case to ensure that you are on the right track. After a highly specific review, your disability lawyer will inform you regarding your best path forward. A dedicated disability attorney will help you craft a compelling narrative that accurately reflects your unique situation and will develop a solid strategy for securing your case’s success.

Ensuring the Completion of Your Case

Incomplete disability applications are the bugaboo of the majority of applicants for Social Security Disability benefits. Most applicants are denied in the initial stages of the application process, and most denials are based on incomplete applications. A Social Security Disability attorney with the necessary experience will ensure that your application is properly and thoroughly completed.

Collecting and Compiling Medical Evidence

Social Security Disability cases always hinge on medical evidence. In fact, medical evidence is the name of the game. Still, this does not mean that you can simply dump your medical records on the SSA and expect things to work in your favor. Instead, you need to gather the medical records relevant to your case and present them in a way that bolsters your individual case. This is not an easy task for someone new to the legal process, especially if you are in need of disability services in the first place. A disability lawyer will take on multiple tasks regarding the collecting and compiling of pertinent medical information, including:

  • Carefully reviewing your medical records in their entirety
  • Culling out the pertinent information for your disability claim
  • Obtaining any missing records — or having any medical tests performed — that are needed to further support your claim
  • Compiling the most salient information into a narrative that cuts through to the crux of your claim and that succinctly tells your unique story
  • Working closely with your doctors and other healthcare providers to gather statements, letters, and professional opinions in support of your claim

Staying in Communication with the SSA

The SSA sees an enormous volume of claims, forms, communications, and correspondence from people seeking disability benefits. When those communications aren’t properly formatted, aren’t to the point, are inaccurate, or are incomplete, they tend to get lost in the shuffle — or denied outright. Your disability attorney will work diligently to effectively communicate with the SSA on your behalf. The Social Security Disability process is not only complicated but is also riddled with deadlines, multiple formalities, and other pitfalls. Having a formidable Social Security Disability attorney fighting in your corner and maintaining ongoing and open communication with the SSA is your best chance of obtaining the benefits you need to move forward with your healthiest life.

Filing All Necessary Appeals

Fewer than half of all Social Security Disability applications are approved on their first go, which means that most people can expect to receive an initial denial. If that’s your situation, don’t let it discourage you. Instead, work closely with a disability lawyer to ensure that your claim receives the careful attention it deserves. If your case was initially denied, take heart — you’re in good company — but do not leave it at that. You can appeal the decision, but the appeals process is complicated in and of itself, and there are specific deadlines that must be met. The appeals process is often a necessary step in the process of obtaining Social Security Disability, but it makes the matter that much more complicated, so you’ll need a disability lawyer on your side.

Representing You at Your Disability Hearing

Your disability claim will likely move forward to the hearing level — most claims do. If your initial application is denied and you follow the necessary steps to appeal the decision, you will be offered a legal hearing before an administrative law judge.

Going before a judge is always stressful, and this situation is no exception – after all, your future likely hinges on the results. As such, adequate preparation is essential. While you will be required to speak on your own behalf in front of the judge, your experienced disability attorney will work closely with you to ensure that you are well prepared. In addition, your attorney will represent you at the initial conference and will not only question your witnesses in front of the judge but will also address any expert witnesses involved — vocational experts, for example.

Do I Have to Hire an Attorney?

No one can force you to hire a Social Security Disability attorney to represent your case. In fact, you are free to take on the entire task on your own. The truth is, however, that disability claims are exceedingly complicated and typically require the knowledge and skill that only experienced disability lawyers have cultivated. It’s established that the majority of initial applications are rejected by the Social Security Administration, and the appeals process is even more exacting. Moving forward on your own is unlikely to be in your best interests — your rights and your future health and well-being are simply too important to leave to chance.

Financial Concerns

Many people who are facing the lengthy disability application process are skeptical about hiring disability attorneys because of the expense involved. While this is understandable, it’s important to recognize that there’s more to it than that. If you are in need of disability benefits, you obviously have plenty to contend with, and tackling the notoriously complicated disability application process on your own probably isn’t a great idea. Further, even if you were at your healthiest, you likely have absolutely no experience navigating this legal terrain.

An experienced disability attorney, however, not only has the skill, knowledge, and commitment to take on your application and to go to bat for you but also will not receive payment unless you win your case. This means that if a disability attorney takes on your case, he or she is betting on his or her ability to prevail. In other words, you can be confident that your attorney will do everything within his or her legal powers to ensure that you obtain the disability services that you need.

Have an Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer on Your Side

While the path to Social Security benefits can be daunting, the attorneys at Joyce & Bary Law are committed to championing your case throughout the application process — whatever that entails. Our legal team is here for you, so please do not hesitate to contact us for more information and a complimentary consultation today.

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