The Important Role Of A Lawyer In Your Disability Claim
According to a study done by the Social Security Administration, 25% of young workers will become disabled by retirement age. A disability introduces financial, physical, and mental challenges into your life, challenges that most people have not prepared for.
If you’re unable to work due to an illness or injury, disability insurance is intended to replace a portion of your income. The problem is Social Security (SSA) isn’t there to look after your best interests. SSA will inundate you with requests for medical histories and paperwork, overwhelming you when you’re already facing the anxiety of living with a disability. By hiring an experienced disability claims lawyer to assist with your claim, you guarantee that someone is on your side.
What A Disability Lawyer Does
During a time when you and your family should be focused on your health, you shouldn’t have to worry about the paperwork and bureaucracy of dealing with SSA. A disability claims lawyer can remove the frustration and stress by handling your claim for you. Your disability lawyer will help you complete all forms throughout the entire claim process, advise you on how best to proceed, schedule any appointments vital to your case, help you gather medical evidence from your doctors, and recommend resources to help you adjust to your new way of life. They can appeal a denied claim and help you prepare for a hearing, if needed.
When hiring a disability lawyer, you want someone who’s compassionate and respectful toward you, easily accessible by phone or email, and proactive in keeping you informed on your claim status. Every action your lawyer takes should be designed to increase the chances of your claim being approved.
When To Hire A Disability Lawyer
Legally, you are not required to have a disability attorney assist you with your claim. Many injured or ill workers do, in fact, handle their claims on their own. However, you are more likely to get a good result with the help of an attorney who has experience in the field and knowledge of how SSA operates. In your initial consultation with a disability lawyer, they can determine whether you have a case that can succeed.
The best time, therefore, to hire a disability lawyer is before you ever file a claim, though a disability lawyer can step into your case at any point during the procedure. It’s easier for a lawyer to package your claim and present it in the best light for approval than to appeal a denied claim.
By hiring a disability claims lawyer from the beginning, you have a personal advocate to speak with your healthcare provider and handle the insurance company to prevent you from unknowingly damaging your own claim (something that, unfortunately, does happen).
If you handle your claim on your own and are then denied, you should definitely hire an attorney to handle your appeals process.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program designed to provide benefits to replace lost income for injured or ill workers (and their dependents) who’ve paid Social Security taxes on their earnings. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a very strict definition of “disability” and only covers workers who won’t be able to return to work for at least one year or who will die as a result of their disability. Your treating physician can help you determine whether your disability will last longer than twelve months. People with partial disabilities are ineligible, and your benefits will stop once you’re able to return to work on a regular basis.
Your eligibility for SSDI will depend on the answer to five questions: Are you working and earning more than $1,260 (in 2020)? Is your condition severe enough to limit your ability to perform basic work for at least one year? Is your condition listed under approved medical conditions for severe disabilities? Can you still perform work done in a previous job? Can you perform other types of work with different requirements? A Social Security disability insurance attorney can advise you on your eligibility based on your situation. If you have a good claim, your attorney can help you navigate the paperwork and prepare for your interviews to prevent your claim being delayed or denied.
The SSA imposes strict eligibility requirements and denies approximately 75% of claims in the initial stage in Oregon. If your claim is denied, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge in Portland, Salem or Eugene, where your claim has about a fifty-fifty chance of success. Your SSDI attorney should be familiar with the SSA people and the system and know what type of evidence to present to the judge to give your claim an advantage at your hearing.
An Overview Of SSDI Benefits
Most claims receive a decision within three to five months. If you’re found eligible for SSDI benefits, you’ll receive, on a monthly basis, an amount based on your average lifetime earnings (not the severity of your disability). Your SSDI attorney can help you apply the same formula the SSA uses to estimate what your monthly income would be.
Receiving benefits from a government-regulated entity, such as worker’s comp, can reduce or eliminate the amount of benefits you might receive. Receiving disability benefits from a private company, however, will not affect your amount.
In Oregon, the benefits received from SSDI are exempt from your tax liability. That means any benefits from Social Security that are included in your adjusted gross income are then subtracted on your tax return.
How To Handle A Disability Doctor
When you file for Social Security Disability benefits, you might be required to have a disability medical exam with an approved physician. During this exam, it’s important for you to be honest with your doctor and to clearly express the limitations you have due to your injury or illness. Don’t exaggerate or lie about your condition, as doctors are often skeptical about pain and have been trained to detect people who are trying to cheat the system.
At the conclusion of your visit, the doctor will write up their report for the disability claims examiner. They will not diagnose your condition, treat your injury or illness, or fill out a prescription for you.
Disability Law Experts for Oswego, OR
If you’re filing a disability claim, Disability Law Office NW can help you throughout the entire process. They are among only a few experts in disability law in the Pacific Northwest, and they’re committed to getting you the compensation and benefits you need as you adjust to life with a disability.
Because they focus their legal practice on only disability law, they’ve become experts in the intricacies of the SSA system. Residents of Lake Oswego, Oregon, and surrounding areas have been turning to them for all of their disability claims for the last decade. Attorney Randy Rosenblatt and his seasoned legal team are ready to help you with any questions or concerns you have about your disability benefits.
They don’t charge any upfront fees, and they work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they will only be paid if your case is approved. If you do receive SSDI benefits, a percentage of your back pay will be paid as legal fees.
Speak to an experienced team-member today to learn more about your disability options.