Many residents of Indiana have an instinctive reluctance to hire an attorney to assist what on the surface appears to be a routine legal procedure. One of the areas where this reluctance appears to be most acute is applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. After all, the forms are available on the internet, together with many helpful articles offering advice about how to proceed. Nevertheless, an applicant should remember that no two cases are identical and that each applicant needs help tailored to the unique features of his or her application.
What can an attorney do?
An attorney’s first steps begin with helping the claimant gather the evidence necessary to support the claim. The claimant bears the burden of proving facts necessary to support the claim that his or her affliction is a mental or physical disorder that has or will result in the complete disability of the claimant. An attorney can sort this information into a clearly organized and persuasive submission. An attorney is well positioned because of experience and training to ensure the persuasiveness of the evidence.
Presentation of evidence
An attorney can present the evidence in a manner that is well organized easily understood. Secondly, a lawyer can help the claimant find his or her way through the SSDI appeals process.
The first step in the SSDI claims process is a written submission to the Social Security Administration. If that application is denied, the applicant can request reconsideration. An attorney is especially well qualified to prepare the request and to submit any evidence and argument that will contradict the initial finding that supports the denial. If reconsideration is denied, the applicant can then request a hearing before an administrative law judge. A lawyer’s participation makes submission of evidence and testimony during the hearing as persuasive as possible. If the hearing results in a denial, the claimant can seek a reversal from the SSA Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council does not grant the claim, the claimant musts seek relief in the United States District Court where the applicant lives. This type of lawsuit requires an attorney to represent the claimant.
Avoiding claim denials
Many reviews of how the SSA decides initial SSDI claims demonstrate that almost 80% of these claims are denied. An attorney can ensure that the evidence and legal arguments present the case in the most persuasive manner possible. The Law Offices of Annette Rutkowski have handled many SSDI applications and appeals. Ms. Rutkowski has broad experience in making sure that her clients receive individual advice that is intended to maximize the chances of a favorable outcome.