Hiring an attorney improves your chances of obtaining a favorable decision from a disability judge. According to a December 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office, disability claimants who were represented at their hearing were almost 3 times as likely as unrepresented claimants to achieve a favorable result.
Officials from the Social Security Administration believe that the higher approval rates for represented disability claimants can be attributed to a number of factors. First, under the law, attorneys only receive a fee if a case is successful, so attorneys tend to take cases they believe are meritorious. Also, attorneys ensure that medical records are submitted to the judge before the hearing, submit written briefs to the judge on the merits of the case, and help their clients orally present the case at the hearing.
The 2017 report examined approval rates from all 1,500 administrative law judges across the country between 2007 and 2015. The authors found wide variance between the approval rates across the country. Even when certain variables were taken into account, the report still found a wide gap in variation between outcomes. The study was conducted due to the discrepancy in approval rates between different administrative judges and hearing offices.
In response, officials from the Social Security Administration stated that the high level of variance between approval rates can be explained by the complexity of each disability case and the wide degree of judicial discretion. The authors of the study recommended that the Social Security Administration should 1) systematically evaluate its quality assurance reviews and 2) take steps to avoid overlap among the quality assurance reviews.
In our practice at the LaPorte Law Firm, we understand that no two disability cases are alike. We take the time to understand our client’s situation, and ensure that we present the best possible case at the hearing level. Because Social Security disability law is complex, and medical files are complicated, it’s a good idea to consult the LaPorte Law Firm regarding your disability claim.