Many think the Social Security Disability system is complicated and that hiring an attorney will get them the disability they believe they deserve. Many believe when you receive your first denial an attorney will guarantee success at the next step in the process. Many believe because they have worked long and hard and have paid into the system for 20-30 years the system should support them when they feel they can no longer work. Some think if the doctor says you are a "disabled" worker, then that statement from the doctor plus an attorney should equal victory.
Actually, after representing Social Security Disability claimants for 35 years, I can tell you the system does not function as many would believe. First, if you do not have a serious impairment, an attorney will do you no good. Second, if despite your impairment, you can still work, an attorney will do you no good. Third, if your serious impairment is only temporary (like a broken arm), an attorney will do you no good. Fourth, if no doctor supports your claim for disability, then an attorney cannot help you. Fifth, even if a doctor says you are "disabled", Social Security will not accept that type of bald statement; rather, the system looks at how your impairment affects your ability to function. A good attorney will work with your doctor to obtain that type of evaluation.
Yes, the system is complicated and yes an attorney can help you function in the process. But people have to know attorneys specialize. So, hiring just any attorney will not help you win your case. You would not hire a general practitioner if you needed brain surgery; Therefore, you should not hire a general practitioner when it comes to your disability case. You should make sure the attorney has a high rating in Social Security cases and belongs to NOSSCR (the national organization of social security representatives).
There is no guarantee of success. Nationally about 30% of applicants are approved at the first step. About 3% are approved at the second step (the reconsideration). At the third step (the hearing before the judge) about 55% of applicants are approved (40% of the non-represented but over 60% if represented). So, hiring an attorney will probably not help you obtain approval at the Reconsideration level. However, it can definitely help you at the hearing stage. Even though you did pay into the system, you still have to meet Social Security's definition of disability. It is not as simple as your doctor saying you are disabled.
In summary, hiring an attorney will not guarantee a win in a Social Security Disability case. However, if you have a serious impairment that your doctor supports, then hiring a knowledgeable lawyer to assist you will increase your chances of success at the hearing stage.
Source by Jerry Lutkenhaus