How to Work with a Lawyer (Reconsiderations)

Artwork: Robin Mead

Reconsideration is a small, often fast, step that comes after initial applications. Some states have a reconsideration step and some do not.

Most lawyers do little or nothing to improve your application during the reconsideration stage. As a result, only 7% of reconsiderations are approved.

Don’t worry, there are a ton of things you can do yourself to improve your chances!

If you hire a lawyer during reconsideration, they will meet with you, answer your questions, make you feel better, fill out the basic paperwork, and then wait and see what happens.

If your case wins on it’s own, great! But most of the time it does not. Then you wait two years for a hearing, and at that point, your lawyer may start to be a lot more helpful.

If you want the best chance to be approved sooner than this, it is great to try to do as much as you can to improve your case yourself or with help from a friend or family. You can do this with or without a lawyer.

Sleepy Girl Lawyer Tips

πŸ€ You do not need a lawyer for a reconsideration application. You can get one if you want one.

πŸ€ You can hire a lawyer or a “non-attorney representative or advocate.” They both do the same thing.

πŸ€ There is no charge up front for a lawyer or advocate. They only get paid if you are approved.

πŸ€ 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:Β How to Greatly, Greatly (Greatly!) Improve Your Disability Application

πŸ€ Many people feel more peace of mind having a lawyer. If it will give you peace of mind, it is definitely worth it. You can hire a lawyer and also take steps to improve your application on your own!

πŸ€Β In most cases, finding the right doctor is approximately 10 billion times more important than finding the right lawyer.Β At the end of the day, your medical records will probably be what matters the most.

πŸ€ 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.

πŸ€Β  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.

πŸ€ Some, but not all, lawyers will collect your most recent medical records and send them to Social Security at this point. Check with your lawyer to see if they intend to do this right now and make sure you get copies in your own two hands. Some people are surprised to discover that their lawyer did not actually collect any of their records at this point.

πŸ€ You can also request a copy of your case file on CD from your local Social Security office. You may find it very helpful to see which records were collected and what is missing. Then you can work with your lawyer to get the missing ones, or you can do it on your own.

πŸ€ Many people think reconsideration is a dud step, because only 7% are approved. Please don’t give up hope. It is definitely possible to get approved during reconsideration if you are able to take a few extra steps to help your application, or if you have a friend or family member who can assist.

πŸ€ Lawyers can be very helpful with appeals and hearings. That will happen in one to two years from now. If you think that you will be appealing for the next two years, you might as well get your lawyer now. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to get one early.

πŸ€ Most lawyers are upfront about this and many lawyers tell their clients right from the start that they can expect this will take 2-3 years in most cases.

πŸ€ During your reconsideration, your lawyer cannot access your Social Security file electronically (later, when you appeal, they will be able to). Right now, your lawyer does not know any more than you do about your file. If you want to find out what is there, and make sure nothing got misplaced or went missing, you will need to contact Social Security and check yourself.

πŸ€ 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 for the first two years. You really do not want to wait two years to find out there is a problem with your records. If at all possible, try to do this yourself.

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.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Reconsideration?

You don’t need a lawyer for a reconsideration application. Many people do it on their own. The reconsideration application is much simpler than the forms when you first applied.

On the other hand, many people feel a lot better if they have a lawyer or Social Worker helping them. People report that this helped them feel less stressed. So go get one if you want one, but if you can also take extra steps yourself to improve your application, this will help your chances of a quicker approval.

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. This may not happen right now, and may happen before your hearing. 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 toΒ work with your doctor to create great medical records, you can do it yourself!


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