Many people assume that since they have been paying into Social Security their whole lives, they should be able to get themselves the benefits they deserve in the event that they become disabled without outside help. You’re not crazy for thinking that. It’s just that securing your disability benefits is not as easy as you think.
For starters, the paperwork you fill out to apply for benefits in the first place is lengthy and far from self-explanatory. Social Security does not just want to know which job you had before you became disabled and why you can no longer perform it. They want to know specific details about all the things you can and cannot do on a daily basis, like run errands, mow the lawn, iron your clothes, clean your house, etc. If you do not answer these questions to their liking, Social Security will deny you benefits, so it is helpful to have an attorney experienced with these questions help you to answer them.
Similarly, only certain conditions are considered a slam-dunk when it comes to awarding benefits, and these, unfortunately, are conditions that are probably going to kill you quickly. Just because you are denied initially does not mean you are not disabled or unworthy of benefits. It just means you might need to appeal and schedule a hearing with an administrative law judge to prove your case. And hearings, even though they are not the scary courtroom proceedings you see on television, can still be stressful and intimidating. Here, it really helps to have someone who has been through a number of these hearings assist you in preparing for the ALJ’s questions and guide you through how to best present your situation.
Lastly, experienced SSD attorneys understand the importance of dates on your disability timeline and can help you maximize the benefits you deserve. They also can facilitate the transfer of your medical records to the people who need to review them as soon as possible.