Q: Do you have to hire a social security disability attorney if you plan to appeal a claim?
A: No, you do not have to hire a social security disability attorney if you plan to appeal a claim. If your initial claim was denied, you have 60 days to file an appeal to have your claim reconsidered. A large number of claims are denied benefits again after being reconsidered. The next appeal step after reconsideration would be to request a hearing. Like the reconsideration appeal, it must be done within 60 days. A social security disability attorney is not required to have your claim go before a hearing. Some claimants are awarded benefits after a hearing and did not have representation. But most claimants who are awarded benefits after a hearing have legal representation. The most common time for a claimant to hire a social security disability attorney is after having an initial claim denied.
Q: Does it matter whether a social security disability attorney or a representative accompanies you to a hearing?
A: Some law firms may have a social security representative, instead of a social security disability attorney, represent a claimant before an administrative judge. While many representatives have a great deal of experience and expertise with the disability claim review process, it can sometimes be difficult to determine that level of expertise. A social security disability lawyer not only holds a law degree, but has experience representing social security claims before the court and the expertise to know how to obtain all the necessary supporting evidence to give a claim the best chance possible at being awarded benefits. If your claim will be going before a hearing soon and you have concerns about who will represent you in court, speak with your law firm and find out some more information about the representative that will accompany you.