It is usually recommended to get a lawyer during your appeal. It is possible to win a hearing without a lawyer, but most people feel more comfortable having one and in some cases they can be very helpful.
Even if you get a lawyer, it is super super (super) helpful if you can also do as much as you can yourself or ask a friend or loved one to assist you.
Please do not leave everything up to your lawyer. We have heard from too many readers who did it this way and wound up with regrets.
Sleepy Girl Lawyer Tips
🍀 There is no charge up front for a lawyer or advocate. They only get paid if you are approved.
🍀 You can hire a lawyer or a “non-attorney representative or advocate.” They both do the same thing.
🍀 There are many many (many many) things you can do to increase your chances of being approved. 90% of these things are things a lawyer won’t do for you. You can do them yourself or ask a friend or family member for help: How to Greatly, Greatly (Greatly!) Improve Your Disability Application
🍀 In most cases, finding the right doctor is approximately 10 billion times more important than finding the right lawyer. At the end of the day, your medical records will probably be what matters the most.
🍀 The best doctor is a doctor who understands how sick you are, believes you are disabled, and is willing to fill out some disability paperwork for you.
🍀 If your doctor does not think you are disabled or does not support your disability application, there is not going to be very much a lawyer can do. Lawyers can’t just magically make your medical records change.
🍀 If your hearing is soon, it may be too late to find a new doctor, but if you really need the documentation, you should still try. Two weeks before her hearing, Daisy drove all the way to another state to see a new doctor. The record she got from that one doctor was the reason she won her case.
🍀 Many lawyers do not start collecting your medical records until a month or two before your hearing. That is MUCH too late. You need all your records RIGHT NOW. You need to see if there are any problems while there is still time to fix them.
🍀 Before your hearing, your lawyer should collect your medical records and send them to Social Security Oddly, some people with lawyers arrive at their hearings and discover missing medical records! It’s best to double check everything yourself.
🍀 Lawyers can see your Social Security file electronically at this point. Ask them for a copy. If you don’t have a lawyer, you can contact Social Security and ask for a copy on CD. If you do have a lawyer, you can
🍀 Lawyers can request that your case gets approved without a hearing! Or you can make the request yourself. Ask your lawyer if she is willing to write an “On The Record OTR Brief” for your case. Ask for a copy of the brief.
🍀 If your lawyer doesn’t think your case is strong enough to win OTR, then they should be telling you what the problem is and how to fix it. If they won’t do this, it probably means they haven’t even looked at your medical records.
🍀 Here is a list with some good places to find lawyers.
Will a Lawyer Tell Me If There are Problems?
Many lawyers do not read and collect your medical records until a month or two before your hearing, and some do not even open or read your records until a week or two before your hearing! That is much too late. If you discover a problem at that point, you won’t be able to fix it.
This is very common and we have met at least ten billion people who were shocked to discover that their lawyer wasn’t collecting and reading their records all along. Here’s Patty’s story: How Patty’s Lawyer Never Told Her What She Needed to Know
Last week we hear from someone whose lawyer did not read her medical records until the week before her hearing. When she showed up for her hearing, the lawyer said “Your records are not strong enough. You can’t win. I suggest you postpone.” Then the lawyer left and the woman went to her hearing alone.
Why Do I Need to Work With My Doctor. Won’t My Lawyer Do This?
No. Your lawyer will never talk to your doctor. In most cases, someone from your lawyers office will send a fax to someone from your doctor’s office and ask for your medical records. That is IT.
Social Security will also never talk to your doctor. If you want your doctor’s help, your going to have to go meet with your doctor. It’s the only way.
There are many things you can do to work with your doctor to create great medical records.