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Q: I know that other people have had problems applying for Social Security disability. I am about to apply. How do I know when to hire a lawyer?

A:

You may not need to hire a lawyer.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was originally designed to have a simple application process. When the disability component was added to Social Security’s old age and survivors’ benefit programs in 1954, the idea was that some workers might find themselves forced into early retirement. Rather than let these workers (and their dependents) suffer in poverty, SSDI would give them a modest income until regular Social Security kicked it at the normal retirement age.

The rules got tougher. Over the years, politicians made the application process harder because they thought voters would blame them for giving out money to people who weren’t working. It’s now estimated that over two-thirds of all new SSDI applications are rejected.

Still, it’s entirely possible for you to apply successfully for federal disability benefits without contacting a Social Security Disability lawyer. You just fill out the required forms online or at your local Social Security office, submit any requested documentation, and wait four or five months until you’re notified whether your request is approved.

But let’s talk frankly here. Sure, you can apply all by yourself. It’s also possible that you can fill out your annual tax return by yourself every spring, rather than go to a tax preparation specialist—but most people panic at the idea. Applying for Social Security disability benefits is just about as difficult as filling in long-form taxes, but the stakes are much higher: after all, this is your income and financial future at risk. You can’t afford to get it wrong.

If you’re absolutely confident you can handle this on your own, that’s great. Most people feel relief when they can call on someone with experience to help them navigate the application process.

Many of our clients decide to hire a Pennsylvania Social Security attorney after their initial application is rejected. You have the right to appeal an unfavorable decision about your application. In fact, there are multiple levels of appeals available, and each of these has the power to reverse previous decisions denying you benefits. Unfortunately, at each step of the appeals process, it becomes harder to win. Few appeals succeed without an attorney’s help, so even though you have the legal right to handle your own appeal if you choose, it’s probably best to contact an SSDI lawyer in Harrisburg as early as possible.

At Schmidt Kramer, our experienced Harrisburg disability attorneys strive to secure full and fair benefits that our clients deserve. We’re here to help you, whether you need a legal advocate or just need a few questions answered.

Call us at 717-888-8888 or 888-476-0807 toll-free to sign up to receive our FREE newsletter or to schedule a confidential consultation about your disability case.