Most Social Security disability (SSD) attorneys and advocates prefer representing SSD claimants once they have been denied. However, many attorneys find success working with the applicant before the application has even been submitted. Here are a few reasons you might want to consider being connected with a potential claimant as early as possible.
More Potential Clients
Most people who have never applied for SSD benefits are unsure of where to begin and turn to the Internet for help. It’s no secret that almost 70%* of initial applications are rejected, so more and more people are seeking representation early on. Since the vast majority of people who are searching for an SSD attorney online are seeking help at the initial application stage, attorneys who only accept cases at the reconsideration or hearing stage may have more difficulty acquiring clients.
Build a Strong Case
When you connect with a potential client before they apply, you have the opportunity to understand the Social Security disability claimant and educate them on the complexity of the Social Security system. Since so many applicants are denied due to lack of preparation, your assistance can greatly improve their chances of being approved.
However, the odds are that they will likely be denied even with your help. Once an applicant is denied, he or she only has 60 days to file an appeal. When you accept cases at the initial application stage, you can have ample time to:
- Build medical history
- Gather medical records
- Ensure all forms are filled out correctly
- Prepare claimant for questioning
- Develop a strong case
Building a strong case can be a lengthy process. If a claimant comes to you after he or she has already been denied, you may have significantly less time to meet the deadline to appeal and gather the medical evidence needed to win at the hearing level.
You Can Still Get Back Pay
Contrary to popular belief, SSD applicants who are approved at the initial application stage may still be entitled to receive back pay. In the case of Title II benefits, the back pay will have a five-month waiting period from the onset date of the disability, but can extend up to 12 months before the date of filing. Thus, some SSD applicants who wait to file their initial application can still receive past due disability benefits for up to a year before their application date.
Overall, since around two thirds of initial applicants are initially denied and 85%* of those SSD applicants who appeal are denied in the reconsideration stage, many cases make it to the hearing stage. Getting involved at the start of the process allows you to build a strong relationship with the client and have control over the entirety of the case.
If you are interested in being connected with SSD claimants at the initial application stage, contact us at 617.800.0089 or fill out a contact form to discuss the lead packages that we have available.
*Statistics from http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2013/sect04.html