Do I need a lawyer to help me with a disability reconsideration of appeal or can I do this myself?

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Question:

I applied for Social Security disability because of my fibroymyalgia. My claim was denied. I can’t work and I’m in constant pain all the time. I’m going to appeal the decision to deny my benefits. Do I need a lawyer for the reconsideration appeal of disability benefits or can I appeal myself?

Answer:

When you apply for Social Security and your claim is denied, there are several levels of appeal that you can go through. Reconsideration is the first level of the appeals process in most states. You can request this reconsideration in writing by contacting the Social Security Administration.

The reconsideration process simply involves a review of your application by a disability claims examiner who was not involved in the initial decision.

Most reconsiderations are denied, so your chances of winning aren't good unless you have evidence that your medical condition has deteriorated -- or new evidence that you didn't have the first time around.

You don't need a lawyer to file a reconsideration appeal, although an attorney can help you to determine why your original application was denied and can help you strengthen your application so that it can be approved in the reconsideration. The advantage to hiring an lawyer at the reconsideration stage rather than waiting until the hearing stage is that you could get an approval six months to a year earlier than if you wait for a hearing.

If you do appoint a lawyer as your representative, the SSA will negotiate with that representative. Your lawyer will receive a percentage (usually 25%) of your backpay awad, but the SSA must approve the fee. If you want to hire a lawyer, use our disability attorney locator tool to find a lawyer in your area.

updated by: , J.D.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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This site does not provide legal advice and users of this site should not interpret any of the information presented here as legal advice. The information provided merely conveys general information related to commonly asked legal questions. We are not a law firm and the employees responding to questions are not acting as your legal attorney. You should ultimately consult with a lawyer for your case.


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