Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lawyers and Social Security Disability Claims for Mental Conditions

Many claimants with mental disabilities do not have lawyers for their Social Security disability claim. In my opinion, if you are applying for SSDI or SSI benefits for a mental condition it is important to have a lawyer to help you with your claim. Whether you suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, anxiety, mental retardation, schizophrenia or any other of the many mental disabilities. You should know that Social Security disability claims are extremely complex and require not only that you know what you have to prove, but also have the ability to do what must be done to win. If you are claiming you are disabled primarily because of your mental condition then you are essentially saying your mental limitations are so severe that they prevent you from performing work. Handling your own SSD claim for a mental condition creates a Catch-22. If you are able to fill out all the paperwork, get the evidence that is needed, and argue a good case on your behalf, the Social Security decision-maker may make the assumption that if you can do all this why would you not be able to work. The second scenario, is if you are not able to fill out all the paperwork properly, get the evidence needed, and be able to explain why you are disabled under Social Security's rules then you will not only have a difficult time winning but could substantially slowdown your case. If you hire a lawyer to help you with your claim it eliminates both these potential problems. The lawyer will help you fill your paperwork, will get your evidence that is needed and will argue on your behalf as to why are you disabled from your mental condition. Many people feel they cannot afford an attorney. However, the Social Security disability lawyer only gets paid if he or she wins your claim. The amount of the fee is 25% of past due benefits or $6000 whichever is less. The idea that one cannot afford an attorney is really not true in almost all cases considering there is no money up front and the money will be taken by Social Security directly from your past due benefits. Because of the reasons I mentioned above, it is important to have a SSDI lawyer when you apply. The other advantage, besides giving yourself a better chance to win at application, is that if you win at this stage your fee will almost always be less than if you hire a lawyer later in the process and win your SSDI or SSI claim for your mental condition at a later stage. This is why it can sometimes be difficult to find a lawyer willing to take your case at application. There are plenty of attorneys that do, so if you are told to call back when you're denied simply call another lawyer. You may be wondering why you can't just have a friend or family member help you with the process instead of getting a lawyer. You could do this, and it would potentially eliminate the Catch-22 problem I mentioned earlier, but will a family member or friend have the knowledge and ability to navigate the Social Security disability process as well as an SSDI lawyer who is experienced in disability law would. If you are familiar with my writings on the Internet you know that I rarely say you need a lawyer, and most of my articles and web pages are about how to give yourself the best chance to win with or without a lawyer. However, I do feel that if you are trying to get Social Security disability benefits for a mental condition that a lawyer would be particularly beneficial in a claim of this sort. If you have any questions about getting SSDI or SSI benefits for mental conditions or need help with your claim call me at 1-877-527-5529.