Social Security Administration, one of the agencies of the U.S. federal government is in charge of social security issues and they are overwhelmed with disability applications. We are talking about several million applications a year. That is why it is necessary for your case to be prepared as good as possible in order for the whole process to be completed successfully and relatively fast. For this reason, most of people decide to be represented by a social security disability lawyer, whose primary field of work is disability applications.
Although it is clear from all the statistics that your chances are much higher if you are represented by a lawyer who specializes in this issue, than if you try it all without a legal representative, many people still decide to represent themselves. And we can confirm to you that you can win the case that way, even if you reduce your chances by not having an attorney. If you are reading this text, you have probably opted for that option too because you’re sure you can win on your own. To help you, we will give you tips on how to win social security disability without a lawyer.
Pay attention to the deadlines
The first thing that otherwise your attorney would take care of, and now you have to do it, is not to miss a single deadline, because it will significantly complicate and prolong the whole process which is already quite complicated for your as a layman. You have to file your reconsideration request promptly. Why do we immediately mention reconsideration? Well, because if your request wasn’t denied, you certainly wouldn’t need a lawyer and it would all be over before it even started. But when your request is denied, then everything that awaits you is just beginning. Once you are denied, you have two months to file your reconsideration request. You must absolutely respect that deadline, otherwise you will have to prove that you had a good reason why you were late with the filing request. If the Social Security Administration determines that this is not a good reason (officially called “good cause”), you have to start the whole process again, and that is something you have to avoid, otherwise you will lose a lot of time.
Before the hearing
The Office of Hearings Operations is now in charge of you and they will announce the date of your hearing 75 days in advance. That is enough time to prepare yourself the right way. Until a few years ago, they only told you 20 or a maximum of a month earlier when there would be a hearing, which is too short a period when you are representing yourself. But now the situation is much better and you have more than 2 months to do everything necessary. Sufficient amount of time is one of the reasons why many people today decide to try to win the case without a lawyer.
The most important part of the whole process is to submit as detailed medical records as possible. Although as a rule the Social Security Administration should obtain all the necessary medical records, by no means you should count on it. As we have already said, they face an excessive volume of work and therefore you can never be sure whether they will obtain all the necessary medical records. And that will ultimately decide the outcome of the case. It is important that all medical results are not older than three months in order to be valid. Also, in the last 5 days before the hearing, you do not have the right to submit any new files, so keep that in mind. The reason is that the judge would have time to review everything you submitted.
After you submit medical files, it’s time for the so-called brief. There you should write a brief review of all the new medical files that you have submitted and write down all the reasons why you think that now your case is strong enough to grant you all the benefits. This is very important to write in the right way, because it shows how much you really believe you are eligible for the benefits. You should submit a brief 10 to 14 days before the hearing, so that the judge, again, has enough time to review it.
When it comes time for a hearing, you need to know a few things. First remember that this is an official thing and that you have to follow the dress code, be correct, use appropriate words and the like. All of this will not have a decisive impact on the outcome of your case, but it can be a minus if it seems that you have not taken it all seriously enough.
- Questioning – First there will be questioning, so it is important to prepare for any potential questions they may ask you. Pay special attention to the parts of your case that you think are not in your favor. Prepare all the answers for that part, because they will surely focus primarily on that part. So don’t let yourself get caught off guard. Since you don’t have a lawyer to prepare you for questioning, then you have to do it yourself. If you think you are not going to do it well on your own, you may want to consider hiring a social security disability lawyer just to prepare you for questioning. Find out all the other services you can find on this website.
- Witness hearing – Witnesses will certainly have a positive impact on your case, so make sure you have at least two. It is important that these are people close to you who will be able to testify in the right way about how an injury at work has made your life difficult in every way. Make sure they know exactly what your disability is and how exactly it affects your inability to work. Also, there is no need to have several witnesses who will tell exactly the same story, for example several of your housemates. Just someone who lives with you and someone who works with you is enough.
Now all you have to do is wait for the outcome of your appeal. Although it will be much easier for you to have a lawyer do all this for you, if you have decided to do it yourself, follow all the advice we have given you. And you will have a great chance for a successful outcome.