It can be challenging if you’re unable to provide for your family due to a disability. Therefore it’s essential to seek benefits from the Social Security Administration promptly. However, the rules and process for claiming social security disability may not be easy for everyone to comprehend.
Therefore, Phillips and McCrea, PLLC, wants to arm you with the most accurate information available to help you resolve your social security disability case. To do this, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about social security disability legal services.
1. What does “Disability” mean to the Social Security Administration?
The Social Security Administration defines disability as the inability “to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.”
As a result, any person suffering from a mental or physical condition and those conditions prevent them from doing their previous work for more than twelve months will be considered disabled by the Social Security Administration. The person’s age, education, and prior work experience will also get considered.
2. What happens if I’m denied benefits, and I do not appeal within sixty days?
You’ll have to start over with a new application, and it may mean that you’ll lose some back benefits, so it’s vital to appeal to all denials within sixty days. It’s advisable to appeal right away so that you get through the bureaucratic denial system faster. The quicker you can get to the hearing stage, the better.
3. How do I appeal?
Your denial letter will tell you about appealing. The first appeal is called a “reconsideration.” You must request reconsideration, and then, after the reconsideration is denied, you must request a hearing within the sixty-day time limit.
You can appeal in one of three ways. (1) Telephone the Social Security Administration and make arrangements for your appeal to be handled by phone and mail. (2) Go to the Social Security office to submit your appeal. If you go to the Social Security office, be sure to carry a copy of your denial letter, and be sure that the Social Security representative gives you a signed copy of your appeal paper showing that you appealed on time. (3) appeal online at
Be sure to print and retain the receipt for your appeal so that you can prove you appealed on time.
4. Since medical evidence is crucial, should I have my doctor write a letter to the SSA, and should I gather medical records and send them to the SSA?
SSA will gather the medical records, so you don’t have to do that. Whether you should ask your doctor to write a letter is a tough question. A few people win their cases by having their doctors write letters, so you can consider trying this approach. The problem is that the medical-legal issues are so complicated in most disability cases that a doctor may inadvertently give the wrong impression. Therefore, obtaining medical reports may be something best left for a lawyer to handle.
5. When is the best time for a lawyer to get involved in my case?
Many people wait until it’s time to request a hearing before contacting a lawyer to represent them. While everyone agrees that a lawyer’s help is essential at the hearing and the great majority of people who have lawyers win their cases at a hearing, the decision to seek a lawyer at the early stages is a subject with merits on both sides.
Keep in mind that more than one-third of the people who apply will be found disabled after filing the initial application without a lawyer’s help. Also, about fifteen percent of those who request reconsideration are found disabled at this stage, without a lawyer’s help. If you successfully handle the case yourself at the initial or reconsideration steps, you will save having to pay attorney’s fees. It’s challenging to predict which cases may benefit from a lawyer’s help at the start.
6. How much do you charge?
Almost all of our clients prefer a “contingent fee,” where the money needs to get paid, only if they win. The usual fee is twenty-five percent (one-quarter) of back benefits up to a maximum amount set by SSA, currently $6,000.00. The price is one-fourth of those benefits built-up by the time you are found disabled, and benefits are paid. Keep in mind that no cost comes out of your current monthly benefits.
While the usual fee will not typically exceed $6,000.00, if we have to appeal after the first administrative law judge hearing, our contract drops the $6,000.00 limit on fees. Even in this circumstance, though, our cost will not be greater than twenty-five percent of back benefits.
Sometimes at the request of a client, we charge a non-contingent hourly or per case fee. There is also the rare case where a twenty-five percent fee arrangement is insufficient to allow for an acceptable price. In such a case, we use a different method of calculating the cost.
In addition to the fee, you will be expected to pay the expense of gathering medical records and obtaining medical opinion letters.
We hope our information has made you more confident to move forward with your case. If you have any more questions about social security disability legal services, get in touch with the experts at Phillips and McCrea, PLLC. As the best legal attorneys in Charlotte, NC, we are dedicated to zealously representing our clients in whatever legal assistance they require.
Our main practice areas include social security disability, estate administration probate, estate planning, family law, medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, wrongful death, and veteran affairs (VA) disability.