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What To Look For In A Disability Claims Attorney

Filing a disability claim under the Supplemental Security Income will likely require professional help, which often includes the services of doctors and lawyers. Legal advice is necessary to increase your chances of obtaining your claim while a medical report will provide support to your claim.

To avoid delay or denial when applying for a disability claim several things must be accomplished. These are:

  1. Application form - The application forms should be filled out completely and carefully with accurate information. Before sending in the forms they should be reviewed and a copy should be retained.
  2. Medical Report - In addition to the form that your doctors fill out, it is advisable to have your doctor write a narrative report describing your disability. Your doctor's letter should contain the following:

    • a statement of your relevant medical history

    • a statement confirming your diagnosis

    • an explanation of your disease or injury

    • an opinion as to whether you are totally disabled (this should be tied into how total disability is defined in your plan, your job or any job)

    • an explanation as to why you cannot do your job -- explain how your specific symptoms prevent work

    • objective evidence in support of disability such as results of tests

    • A statement of medical opinion or judgment.

  3. Information about your illness and how it can be disabling - This is particularly helpful if you have a rare illness. These could be researched at your public library or on the Internet.
  4. Seek professional legal help - The agency allows claimants to appoint a representative such as a lawyer in dealing with the agency. Your appointed representative may act in your behalf in social security matters such as the following:

    • Getting information from your social security file

    • Helping you get medical records or information to support your claim

    • Accompany you in any interview, conference or hearing

    • Requesting a reconsideration, hearing or Appeals Council review

    • Assist you and your witnesses prepare for a hearing and questioning the witnesses.

Getting a lawyer who will represent you in pursuing your claim may be difficult. But here are some qualities that you should look for when selecting a disability claim lawyer:

  1. Significant knowledge of disability insurance matters
  2. A thorough understanding of the disability insurance issues
  3. Successful experience with a large number of disability insurance claims.
  4. Helps you develop an overall claim strategy to properly and accurately position your claim with insurance carriers
  5. Has knowledge and understanding of insurance carrier home office and third-party administrative claim departments and procedures.
  6. Tells you what you need to know and not what you may want to hear.
  7. Helps you understand the entire claim process and “sensitive” areas of disability insurance claims. Conveys thoughts and meaning in language you can understand.
  8. Past experience with disability consultant, insurance agent, company representative and expert witness.
  9. Availability – A lawyer must return phone calls in reasonably short time periods and can be available by email and cell phone on daily basis.
  10. He must be courteous and considerate, and must understand what a disabling condition is.

Legal advice is often one of the most valuable elements in a disability claim. Getting the services of a skilled and experience lawyer who specializes in disability claims will improve your chances of obtaining your claim.


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