Understanding the Social Security disability application process can significantly improve your chances of getting the benefits you need as soon as possible. In most cases, when an application for benefits is denied, unknown mistakes by the applicant play a role in the denial. Therefore, knowing what you need to do when you apply for benefits can be extremely beneficial.
If you are considering applying for Social Security disability benefits, or your application has been denied and you want to appeal the decision, talking to a Louisiana Social Security attorney can make a profound difference for your case. Your cousin or neighbor may be an excellent attorney, but if they don't have Social Security disability experience, then they will not be the best lawyer for your appeal.
I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the process.
5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Disability Lawyer
If you are considering hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney, I would encourage you to ask these five questions to see if the person is right for you. I have also included my personal answers to the questions.
Do you have experience handling Social Security Disability Cases?
Since opening his own firm in 2010, I have focused my practice on helping Social Security Disability claimants fight for the benefits they need. We know the ins and outs of the disability appeals and applications process and how to navigate it. Many clients are nervous and unsure heading into their hearing, we are familiar with the personalities of local judges so we can better prepare you on what to expect at your hearing.
What do we need to prove to get my Social Security Disability Benefits?
To win disability benefits for you, in most cases, we will generally have to prove a number of things:
In some cases and with some medical conditions, if we can prove that your medical condition meets certain specifically defined requirements, we may not have to prove the vocational impact.
- That you are not currently engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (or working and earning money above a certain limit);
- That you have at least one severe medical impairment;
- That your severe medical impairment(s) cause limitations and what those limitations are;
- That the limitations prevent you from performing your past relevant work (or work you have done in the last 15 years); and
- That the limitations prevent you from performing any other work that is available in the national/regional economy.
Who is responsible for my case and will that person meet me? Will they know about my case whenever I call?
Experienced Disability Attorney Loyd J. Bourgeois and representative Christy Crotwell will be responsible for handling all aspects of your case. It is our practice to personally meet you, the client, in advance of your hearing to discuss in detail specific aspects of your claim and keep you fully informed of what to expect. You will also be assigned your own client concierge who will know all the details of your case and be available to answer any of your questions.
How long does it generally take to resolve my claim?
That depends on the stage of the process that your claim is in.
- For new applications, we generally see an average processing time of 3-9 months.
- For claims being appealed after the initial application is denied, the average processing time is 8-16 months following submission of a request for hearing.
- If your claim was denied at the hearing and you are in the appeals council stage, the average processing time is 14-18 months following the submission of request for review.
What can I expect during this process?
From the moment you contact our office, you can expect to be treated with compassion and respect throughout our entire relationship. You can expect to have your calls answered or returned promptly and have your questions or concerns addressed. You can expect to meet and/or speak with your attorney at the beginning of the process all the way through the end. You can expect calls and update requests from my office. You can expect a pre-hearing meeting to get you ready for the hearing. You can expect honesty, helpfulness, and trust.
The provided answers are by no means the only response, but any experienced Social Security Disability lawyer you speak with should be able to provide a similar response.
If the attorney you are speaking with cannot provide you with similar responses, you should further evaluate whether or not the attorney you are speaking with is right for your Social Security Disability claim.
Before you sign anything, ask if you can actually talk to the person representing you in this process. Will that same person appear with you at the hearing? If you can't get an appointment to do so, that's a BIG RED FLAG!
An experienced disability representative will talk to you about what to expect at your medical examination, find out why your doctors' records were not sufficient, and help ease your fears about what to expect at your hearing.
Bonus Suggestion: Read the Reviews
We always recommend that you google the name of and read reviews for anyone you are considering hiring. This includes reviews on Google and specialty attorney sites like Avvo. It is always very helpful to hear what people who were going through similar situations to yours have to say about their experience.
If you are in need of a disability attorney or have questions about your claim or denial, give us a call at 985-240-9773 or use our contact form.