What was once a fairly easy system to navigate has ovver the years become a complex system of rules, regulations, court decisions and laws. It is possible to get approved without an attorney, but once denied the first time, like you, the odds of winning drop significantly. Nationally, only 50-60% of clients will win without having an attorney. This is because of all the rules and regulations, and because most Judges have at least 1 or 2 - and sometimes 3 - expert witnesses appear at a hearing. Unless you have done lots of these hearings or have been an attorney and know what to ask, there is little chance the right questions will get asked. Then add in the complexities of getting the evidence - the RIGHT evidence, the deck is stacked.
So, I concur with my colleague's suggestion to get an attorney. You may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.
The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is www.nosscr.org.
In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.
Their link is: http://www.nblsc.us/
I hope this information helps. Good luck to you!
Please remember to designate a best answer to your question
The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.
SSA/SSD/SSI are Entitlement Issues, as is Workers Compensation. They are a System of Benefits to help those who have been disabled and cannot work or compete adequately in the Market Place of the USA. If the Disability is also ON THE JOB you may be entitled to Workers Compensation. However, they are DIFFERENT MEASURING SYSTEMS. They are different Courts, Regulations and measurement devices. A disability in one system is not an automaitc disability in the other system. It is only EVIDENCE OF DISABILITY not CONCLUSIVE DISABILITY. The same is true for MEDICAL REPORTS. They are EVIDENCE only. So even if the EVALUATION DOCTOR said that you are severely disabled and in need of BENEFITS the ultimate determination is by the RULES OF THAT AGENCY. Each agency has a separate measuring stick and a separate APPEALS PROCESS. As such, they each have a responsibility to complete the process under the Rules and Regulations of that system. In Social Security it is administered by a Government Agency. In many states it is Administered by an Insurance Company which is OVERSEEN by a Government Agency.
Legal issues are serious matters and deserve consultation with a Competent Attorney in your city or state. The information provided here is for Public Information only to encourage consumers of the Complexity and Need for Consultation with a Legal Professional and is not intended to be Legal Advice or a substitute thereof.
I would suggest that you speak with local, experienced Social Security Disability attorney. You can go to www.nosscr.org to find one. In the meantime, be aware that you only have 60 days plus 5 from the date of your denial, so if you cannot meet with an attorney prior to that deadline, you should certainly appeal the decision on your own to protect your claim.
Attorney Inga Stevens is licensed in Maine. She provides general information on Avvo.com. No attorney-client relationship arises out of the information given here.