Social Security disability (SSD) is an area of administrative law. By its very nature, a person does not have to be a practicing attorney or even a licensed professional to represent someone in their SSD matter before an administrative law judge (ALJ) or otherwise handle a claim. However, this is an area of the law that is highly sophisticated. Social Security is a federal program, and therefore operates by federal codes. There is also federal case law to take into account which factors in the interpretation of these federal codes.
The deeper one delves into SSD, the more evident it is that only the most experienced professionals should be handling these cases. Not only this, but it is our argument that attorneys do the best job of representing clients in these types of cases. The sophisticated nature of these cases almost necessitates a licensed and experienced attorney to handle. An attorney will know not only how to handle the paperwork of an SSD case, but also how best to present a case before an ALJ.
What happens if you lose your claim at the hearing level? This is another area in which an attorney is of greater benefit than a licensed professional or other individual. While an attorney can appeal, a non-attorney cannot. Therefore, your case stops at rejection. If your case is in fact denied, you not only need an attorney who understands the appeals process, but one that is prepared to handle any of the four levels of appeal. Those four levels are: reconsideration, ALJ hearing, Appeals Council Review and a Federal Court Review.
A lawyer can act on your behalf and serve to benefit you throughout the process in a number of different ways. This can include compiling information from your Social Security file, gathering necessary medical records, filing the paperwork to request reconsideration or Appeals Council review and they can also brief you for a hearing so that you can come prepared. Due to the unique nature of SSD cases, the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines fee arrangements between representatives and clients.
According to the SSA, a fee arrangement cannot exceed 25 percent of past-due benefits or $6,000 (whichever is of a lesser value). This fee arrangement limit applies to licensed, non-licensed professionals and attorneys alike. Therefore, the major benefit in hiring an attorney is in their experience and overall ability to be able to handle a claim should you need to appeal or ask for reconsideration.
Even if you feel as if there is an easy resolution to your case, the Las Vegas injury attorneys at Shook & Stone, Chtd. believe that it is safer and overall more beneficial to hire a lawyer. If you would like to learn more about the difference between attorney and non-attorney SSD representation or you would like to speak with our firm about representation, call today.