4 Reasons you need to speak to a lawyer before applying for SSD benefits
Free consultation – There is no fee for the initial consultation. Our lawyers will ask questions about your disability and work background, explain the Social Security regulations and how your case fits into the law, and go over the timelines for the application and appeals process. We will make recommendations about when to file the application based on your circumstances.
Timing – It is crucial to understand the disability regulations when deciding when to file your application. In order to be eligible for Social Security disability, your impairments must last or be expected to last at least 12 consecutive months. This little-known policy is called the “durational” rule, and it is one of the most important threshold requirements for eligibility for benefits. We generally advise waiting at least six months after you stop working to apply. There are exceptions to this rule if you have a terminal condition, a condition that meets one of the “compassionate allowance” listings, or are undergoing a specific procedure such as a liver transplant, which automatically qualifies for benefits 12 months after the surgery.
No out of pocket costs – There is no attorney’s fee unless you win your case and are owed back pay by the Social Security Administration. Lawyer’s fees are 25% of your retroactive back pay award but cannot be higher than $6,000, no matter how long it takes to win your case or how much money you are owed in back pay. This statutory fee system is based on the idea that a person applying for disability is not expecting to return to work within at least one year, and therefore do not have the money to pay for an attorney. This fee system incentivizes claimants to obtain representation and in turn incentivizes attorneys to represent meritorious claims.
Deadlines – There are multiple deadlines associated with disability claims. If a deadline is not met, and you do not have good cause for missing a deadline, you must start from the beginning and file a new application. A trained attorney knows these deadlines well, and has processes in place to make sure that appeals are filed in a timely manner.