Finding Representation for a Disability Claim

Although it may seem unnecessary to have an injury and disability representation or lawyer when you are claiming benefits presented by the Social Security Administration (SSA), nevertheless it may be to your best interest. Even when the SSA does not require their claimants to have legal representation, the procedures and process can be long and confusing, causing denied or delayed benefits. Also, having legal representation could greatly increase the chances of not only having an approved claim, but most importantly the disability onset date, something that could significantly affect the amount of benefits you may be provided.

It may be beneficial to be represented during the filing process, but most legal representations are really required during the appeals process. After a denied benefits application, you have only 60 days to file for an appeal in the disability court, and notifying the SSA about hiring a representative is a must. You must also choose whether you need a legal representation, or you can hire a non-lawyer to represent you in court.

Regardless of who you hire (whether a disability lawyer or non-lawyer), they will only be paid once the claim has been approved: and they are paid through the SSA benefits, having the same rates. Upon deciding to have a representation, sending a letter to the SSA by filling up the Appointment of Representative form should be made. If you have hired a non-lawyer, he or she should sign their names on the forms. Subject to the SSA approval, a contingency agreement between you and your representative should be signed. This agreement would permit the representative to be paid not more than 25 percent of your benefit amount, but out-of-pocket expenses will be covered by the claimant.

One last advantage of having injury or disability representation is that they are more knowledgeable with the laws and procedures, and are   familiar with the judges who preside on these hearings. This could make them more flexible in their approach to zealously represent your claims in court.

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