Do I need to hire an attorney if I am filing a Social Security Disability claim?
You do not have to hire an attorney, but is it a good idea? In a word, yes. Getting an award of Social Security Disability benefits is now more difficult than ever. Here are some statistics that should give you pause if you are applying for Social Security disability benefits on your own. In Colorado the state agency that makes the initial determination whether you are disabled (DDS) had a claim approval rate of 18 % several years ago, but now it is 30%. Many of these claim denials were never appealed by requesting a hearing before a federal administrative law judge (ALJ). Of those that were appealed by requesting a hearing the Denver Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) granted 61 % of claims several years ago, but that number recently declined to a 45% favorable rating. The Denver ODAR office dismissed 23% of the cases before it. The statewide numbers are very similar. You can view the most recent numbers at the Denver ODAR office website.
We formerly encouraged those applying for benefits to make the initial attempt on their own so there would be no attorney fee if the DDS made a favorable decision. Of course some claimants such as those with mental health impairments have needed assistance at the DDS level and that assistance was encouraged. Then if there was an unfavorable DDS decision we would enter and assist at the hearing before an ALJ later.
Due to these changing, and challeinging, numbers we are now encouraging people making claims before the Social Security Administration to strongly consider retaining counsel at the DDS level to assist with the initial application for Social Security disability benefits. We can help with gathering medical evidence from your providers, getting functional capacity evaluations from your physicians if needed, and assisting with preparation of forms if you do not understand them.
Please fill out our interactive contact form on this web site and we will get back to you promptly to discuss your Social Security disability claim, give you a free evaluation of your case and let you know what we can do for you. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (303) 996-0700.
Nothing contained on this web site should be construed to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship. The relationship is only created by written agreement signed by the client and the law firm. Please contact us for a conference to further discuss your claim.