Why Representing Yourself in a Disability Hearing Is Dangerous

You may think that you can navigate the disability process on your own; however, statistics show that claimants with representation during a Social Security disability (SSD) hearing win twice as often as claimants without representation. Here are five scenarios faced by disability do-it-yourselfers that may cause unnecessary problems: 1. Technical Errors If you miss the appeals deadline or if you fail to gather the correct documentation, you could lose even the most clear-cut disability case. An experienced attorney knows the appeal procedures, makes sure that you meet your deadlines and helps you to gather all of your documentation. 2. Missing Paperwork Assembling all of the information that you need for a disability hearing isn’t easy. You need documents including Social Security Administration (SSA) forms, medical records, employer’s statements and additional physician opinions. Your attorney can make sure that you have all of the paperwork that you need to support your case. 3. Lack of Preparation Questions asked during your hearing can throw you off guard. When you’re nervous, you may leave out critical information. Your attorney can anticipate the administrative law judge’s (ALJ) questions as well as any questions that may be asked by the SSA’s vocational expert. A good attorney will review these questions, help you to formulate complete answers and rehearse with you before the date of your hearing. Another advantage of hiring an attorney is that your lawyer will be familiar with the local hearings process. Your attorney may know the judges and their individual styles well enough to help you tailor your case in a winning way. 4. Financial Difficulties When you’re unable to work because of a disability, you may live off of savings, unemployment or workers’ compensation benefits for a while; however, if the appeals process drags out for a long time, you may run out of money to support yourself and your family. Your attorney can ensure that you follow appeals procedures to the letter. With your attorney’s help, you can avoid delays that can leave you even more financially strapped. 5. Exhaustion The Disability Determination Services may take between three and five months to process your application. After you appeal, you may have to wait over a year for your hearing. Disability claims can be a long slog, and it’s easy to feel like giving up. Your attorney will advocate for you, reassure you and work to secure a quick date for your appeals hearing. Contact Boteler, Finley & Wolfe to work with an experienced Mobile, AL disability attorney. Don’t put yourself through unnecessary stress. Call us today.