Lesson 34: Don’t Give Up On Social Security Disability

From the Land Mines in Accident Cases section of How You Can Avoid Legal Land Mines by Joseph S. Lyles (2003).

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” This advice may not apply to everything in life, but it definitely applies to applications for disability benefits under our federal Social Security program. If you are denied benefits in response to your first application, don’t give up.

There are several reviews or appeals you can request. It has been my experience that the involvement of a competent attorney will often result in a reversal of the denial by the government agency that administers the Social Security program.

The younger you are, the harder it is to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. However, your age is only one of the factors that the agency is supposed to consider in reaching its decision. Other factors include your education, your work history, and the extent and nature of your disability.

Fortunately, most attorneys will agree to represent you on your disability claim on a contingency fee basis. Because you have to be unemployed to make a claim for social security disability, then you will obviously be unable to pay attorneys fees up front unless you have other resources. Thus, the contingency fee arrangement is most often used in these cases.

The Lesson: Experience shows that applications for Social Security benefits are often denied at the initial level, but are frequently granted after an attorney begins representing the applicant. Thus, it usually pays to keep persuing your claim after it is denied, especially with the assistance of an attorney.