Recently on our legal forum a user asked, I have cancer, and I can no longer work. I have worked thirty years as a lab technician. I am so confused about what I need to do to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and where I need to go to get my SSDI questions answered. I have called the Social Security Administration (SSA), but it doesnt seem like they really have time to help me. Should I just contact a lawyer and have them do all the work?
Getting SSDI and to getting your SSDI questions answered
The good news is there are several options to choose from when you are applying and trying to get approved for SSDI benefits.
File and fight for your SSDI claim on your own.
The least expensive option, at least in terms of cash dollars paid, is to file your disability application on your own without any legal help. Unfortunately, this can also be the most confusing, most frustrating, and most time-consuming option.
If you do decide to file your application on your own its important to know where to go and how to find good information about the disability process. Good websites to review include the following:
The most important SSDI questions to answer are the following: how the SSA determines whether or not you are disabled, how long your disability must last, whether or not you have enough work credits to be considered disabled, and the steps you need to take to complete your disability application.
Complete the SSDI application on your own and have a disability lawyer fight for you after you have been denied.
The next option, if you dont want to do all the work yourself, is to complete the application on your own and submit it to the SSA. Most likely you will be denied the first time you apply for SSDI benefits. If this is the case, you can then hire a disability lawyer to file the SSDI appeal and go before the SSDI judge to argue your case.
Hire a disability representative to help you with your case.
Another option if you dont want to file the application on your own is to hire a disability representative to help you. While a disability representative is not a lawyer, many of them have extensive knowledge of SSDI, and they can help you through all levels of the SSDI process.
Common activities they can help you with include filing the necessary paperwork, ensuring the appeals are filed in a timely manner, contacting your doctors and getting updated medical records, regularly checking on the status of your SSDI application, and answering questions you have about the process.
Hire a lawyer and have them help you with your claim.
Finally, the last option is to talk to a lawyer at the initial filing and see what they can do for you. Some attorneys are equipped with the support staff who are willing to help claimants file their SSDI applications. Other attorneys will not take your case until you are further through the process. For example, they will not take your case until you have been denied and you have a hearing scheduled.
If you have questions about what a lawyer will and will not do to help you with your SSDI case, its important to ask them and get it all in writing before you agree to hire them.
Although the SSDI process can be confusing, there are a variety of resources you can use to help you get benefits.