What does a Social Security Lawyer do?

Allison Boelcke

Social Security is a federal government program in the United States that provides monthly payments to retired individuals, as well as people who cannot work due to physical or mental disabilities. A Social Security lawyer has specialized knowledge in the rules and regulations of the Social Security disability claims process. He or she may advise individuals who are applying for disability benefits, but typically spends most of his or her time working with people who have been denied disability benefits.

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Businessman giving a thumbs-up

To receive disability benefits, an individual must prove without a reasonable doubt that he or she is too disabled to do any type of substantial work. The Social Security Administration uses a detailed process to come to a decision that involves reviewing an applicant’s past work duties and medical records, then deciding if he or she can still perform those duties. A Social Security lawyer is knowledgeable in what documents and other proof the administration needs and can advise his or her client on the best ways to unquestionably prove a disability in order to be awarded a claim.

Although Social Security lawyers are trained to help people through the disability benefits application process, they tend to work more often with people who feel they meet the Social Security Administration’s criteria, yet have been denied benefit claims. A Social Security lawyer will typically request to have the administration reconsider the claim or file a motion for an administrative judge review his or her client’s disability claim application. At the hearing, a lawyer will argue the applicant’s case by providing proof of a physical or mental disability. For instance, an occupational expert may testify which physical or mental requirements are needed for a particular job, and a medical expert may be called to testify how the client’s condition may prevent him or her from performing basic job tasks.

If a judge turns down the disability claim, a Social Security lawyer may file an appeal with the Social Security Appeals Council. The council will review both the claim and findings of the administrative law judge. Neither the claimant or the lawyer can be present during the council’s review process.

A Social Security lawyer may file a civil lawsuit against the Social Security Administration if the Social Security Appeals Council denies the appeal. He or she can request that the United States District Court review both the client’s disability claim and the decisions of the Social Security Administration. If the United States District Court still denies the claim, in rare circumstances, a Social Security lawyer may file a motion with the United States Supreme Court to review his or her client’s claim and the previous decisions.

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