San Antonio, TX (PRWEB) April 22, 2014
A new must-read article by national disability law firm Heard & Smith is warning social security disability applicants on the dangers of handing their case on their own, and especially on attending their hearing without an attorney.
“Many people don’t realize that their hearing is typically the one and only chance they’ll have to convince a judge that they are disabled under the Social Security Administration’s rules, are unable to work, and are therefore entitled to benefits,” commented Joshua C. Eyestone, an experienced SSD attorney in Heard & Smith’s Social Security Disability practice group. “If they aren’t prepared or make a mistake, their only recourse is to appeal – which takes a long time and is also an uphill battle, since applicants must show that errors were made in their decision and so their case merits a re-examination.”
The Heard & Smith article also highlights the seven key reasons why hiring an experienced disability attorney is essential for people seeking SSD benefits:
1. An attorney prepares a plan that provides the judge with a clear understanding of how and why an applicant is disabled, which is critical for proving their claim and reducing the risk of an unfavorable decision.
2. An attorney helps applicants focus on the key issues that are crucial to their case vs. getting confused or distracted by issues that will likely or sometimes result in a denial.
3. An attorney helps applicants understand what it means to be a “good witness” by presenting themselves as credible and consistent.
4. An attorney helps applicants prepare for a variety of questions that may be asked of them at the hearing.
5. An attorney guides applicants on how to effectively cross-examine the vocational expert and medical experts attending their hearing, and especially how to call into question any flaws or biases in their testimony.
6. An attorney ensures that applicants meet all SSA deadlines, which if missed can result in further delays and having to start the process over again. It could also result in the loss of benefits.
7. An attorney strives to help applicants win their claim as early as possible by developing medical records throughout the case, forwarding evidence to Social Security, and even writing a letter brief with the theory of the disability to the Administrative Law Judge in advance of a hearing in many cases.
“Some people are aware that an attorney is definitely an advantage, but avoid hiring one because they want to save money,” added Mr. Eyestone. “This is understandable, since many people applying for SSD benefits are under budget restraints already, and naturally want to make every dollar go as far as it can. However, what they overlook is that disability attorneys take cases for no money up front, and only get a fee if their client wins. Also, the consequences of making common mistakes at their hearing can be financially devastating – and not just for them, but for their family. In the bigger picture, an attorney who increases the likelihood of a successful case outcome isn’t an expense, but rather one of the smartest decisions that a person will make.”
The full text of Heard and Smith’s new article entitled “The Dangers of Handling Your Social Security Disability Case without an Advocate” is available at http://www.heardandsmith.com/articles_danger.html
Individuals who wish to learn more about SSD benefits can visit the Social Security Disability section of Heard & Smith’s website at http://www.heardandsmith.com/ssdi_ssi.html, which contains helpful articles, a glossary of SSD terms, SSD FAQs, links to additional SSD resources and more. Access to the section is free, and no sign-up is required.
For more information, contact Joshua C. Eyestone at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-820-3737.