We have all seen the advertisements on television—lawyers who imply that you will never be successful without their help, whether it is after a car accident, during a bankruptcy, or any manner of legal matters. The fact is, however, sometimes you simply do not need an attorney. Yes, a law firm is telling you that you might not need to hire them—at least not right away.
When it comes to your Social Security Disability (SSD) claim process, you may very well be able to get through the initial process without much help. There is a lot of paperwork involved, medical records to collect, and doctor visits to keep, but generally speaking, the process is fairly straightforward. Many people will face denials after their first application, however, which is when you may start to consider seeking the help of a disability lawyer.
The Role of a Disability Attorney at Your SSD Hearing
After your first SSD appeal, you will be able to appeal a second time in a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, or ALJ. This hearing is much like a trial, with witnesses and evidence taking center stage in determining your level of disability and your ability (or lack thereof) to earn a substantial living.
The ALJ will be reviewing your case very carefully, and it is absolutely critical that your case is airtight to ensure that you receive your benefits. At this stage, an attorney’s legal background will be an asset, as they will know exactly what you will need in order to present a strong case for yourself. Instead of you scrambling to gather evidence for your hearing, an attorney will:
- Gather and look over your required medical records to make sure you have all needed evidence of your disability.
- Prepare you thoroughly for your testimony in front of the ALJ, ensuring that you are confident when you are questioned.
- Cross-examine the vocational expert at your hearing. This is perhaps one of the most important roles an attorney can play in your hearing. The vocational expert is the primary opinion that the judge will hear on your ability to work. An attorney on your side can cross-examine the expert after the judge has spoken with him or her, ensuring that the judge hears the full extent of your disability’s impact on your ability to work.
While the application process may seem straightforward enough, although a bit overwhelming, the hearing is an intense legal proceeding that can quickly turn against you if you are not prepared to the level of an attorney.
If you are facing a hearing in front of an ALJ to appeal your Social Security Disability claim denial, it is absolutely imperative that you have experienced legal representation on your side. To discuss your own case with a Pennsylvania disability attorney, call us today to schedule your free consultation.