When should I get an attorney?

People ask just when they should consult an attorney on a disability claim.  Whether someone has already filed a claim or just wants to know about Social Security disability law, it is best to get advice right away. 

Filing delays can reduce benefits in some cases, because retroactive benefits are paid based on the filing date.  For some claims, benefits can be paid for the 12 months prior to the application date. We can also consult about re-opening old claims that were denied, and not appealed. This can result in a larger back benefit for the claimant. Many well-meaning advocates miss this important issue.

Social Security requires that a disability “last or be expected to last for 12 consecutive months.”  This does not mean that you must wait 12 months to file. This is a common misunderstanding. A claim can always be withdrawn if the situation improves to the point that a client can return to work. Even if that 12-month period is in the recent past, there may be eligibility – a client with a time-limited disability might be eligible for a “closed period” of benefits.

Once a claimant has applied for benefits, we can help with the paperwork burden:  forms, appeals, disability reports, activity and pain questionnaires.  And of course, we stay on top of any necessary appeal deadlines.  We make sure the medical record is complete.  It can be quite problematic to rely on Social Security for this.