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OPR SSD Team


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Social Security Disability Myths vs Facts

Myth
You can be approved on the basis of drug or alcohol addiction.

Fact
Until the 1990’s, this was true. Not so today. Since the law changed, you must show that if you are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs, this addiction does not make you any more or less disabled. In other words, you must show the use/abuse of alcohol or drugs is not material to your disability. It cannot be the reason you cannot work. This is particularly difficult (but not impossible) if you are claiming psychological or emotional disorders are what keep you from working. If a judge finds drug or alcohol addiction is material to your disability, your claim will be denied.

When & Why Hire an SSD Attorney?

You are not required to have an attorney represent you in your Social Security disability claim. However, your chance of getting (and maintaining) benefits is significantly better when you have an experienced Social Security Disability Insurance attorney navigating the process for you and your medical providers. To win benefits as quickly as possible, it is optimal to hire an attorney from application, but working with an SSD focused lawyer at any stage in the process is beneficial, particularly at the hearing level.

In December, 2017, the United States Government Accounting Office (GAO) presented a detailed report to the House Of Representatives Committee and Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security titled “Additional Measures and Evaluation Needed to Enhance Accuracy and Consistency of Social Security Disability Hearing Decisions.” The report analyzed cases from 2007 – 2015 and concluded that disability insurance claimants who had representation were approved SSDI benefits at a rate of nearly 3 times higher than those without representation.

Reason 1: Knowledge of the Law

An attorney who devotes their practice to representing Social Security claimants has extensive knowledge of the laws, regulations, and case law around Social Security Disability. An SSD lawyer knows exactly what needs to be proven in each case to establish disability according to the definitions required for approval by the Social Security Administration. The laws and regulations around Social Security Disability are complicated and always changing.

When it comes to getting the disability benefits you need in Arizona, you’ll want an attorney focused exclusively on Social Security Disability in Arizona, who is highly experienced in and constantly staying on top of the changes in the laws and regulations governing disability claims. Knowing the law makes a big difference.

Reason 2: Medical Records Requirements

Typically you nor medical providers are aware of all that is needed to build your case for the best chance for success. This is understandable since neither are disability benefits experts. An experienced SSD attorney knows how to gather all medical records, exactly what is necessary to meet SSA’s disability requirements and how to properly submit them. While the Social Security Administration provides some assistance, they don’t have resources to help everyone through this very specific and detailed process. An effective SSD lawyer will help every step of the way, obtaining your medical records and ensuring the medical facts are properly submitted to satisfy the legal requirements for establishing disability.

Reason 3: Documenting Functional Limitations

At a Social Security Disability hearing—as well as at initial application and the reconsideration levels—it is very important to document the disabled claimant’s functional limitations. The best way to do this is with assessments and narrative opinions from treating providers. The Social Security Administration does not provide such forms, but an experienced SSD attorney develops them for you to document relevant functional limitations and knows how to properly submit them.

Reason 4: Ability to Present Evidence at a Hearing

Representing a disabled claimant at a Social Security Insurance hearing is like exercising a muscle; the more times you do it, the better and stronger at it you become. An experienced disability benefits lawyer knows how best to present disability cases at hearing to have the best chance of winning. SSD attorneys experienced in Arizona also get to know the Administrative Law Judges in the Phoenix and Tucson hearing offices and what evidence is particularly important to each judge, which is an added benefit attorneys and advocates out-of-state cannot provide.

Ability to Cross Examine Medical Experts & Vocational Experts at Hearing
An Administrative Law Judge will often have a Medical Expert and/or Vocational Expert testify at Social Security Disability hearings. Having an experienced attorney on your side that knows how to cross examine expert witnesses to elicit evidence to establish your disability is very helpful towards winning benefits.

Social Security Disability cases are complicated. Being represented by an experienced Arizona attorney focused exclusively on Social Security Disability Benefits Law makes a big difference. It significantly increases your chance of not only obtaining disability benefits, but maintaining them as well.

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No Fees Until We Win Benefits for You.

NO FEES UNLESS WE WIN YOUR CASE.

SSD Legal Fees

We understand you are unable to work and don’t have an income without the disability benefits you deserve. The financial and emotional stress of that while also dealing with your disabling condition is difficult. We want to do all we can to make the process as easy on you as possible. That’s why we don’t charge a fee for our legal services unless we win your case. We also advance the cost your doctors, hospitals, and other treatment providers charge for providing your medical records. Other firms don’t do this.

The fee for representation in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or in Supplement Security Income (SSI) claims is regulated by Social Security Administration and by Congress. Therefore, there is no negotiation. This means the best and most experienced SSD attorney doesn’t cost any more than an attorney fresh out of law school. Social Security Disability Advocate companies charge the same fees but are non-attorney representatives handling your case.

While they may provide an attorney at the hearing level, it is typically one they contract with out of state. These national companies cannot provide the experience or benefits our local Arizona Disability Attorneys can. Also, many advocate companies are funded by large disability insurance carriers where sharing of information could be detrimental if you’re also filing for Long Term Disability benefits through your employer or private disability insurance policy.

When choosing who to trust and fight for you to get the disability benefits you need to re-secure your life, focus on quality local SSD attorney representation to ensure you get the best since the cost is the same for all options.

We Serve All of Arizona

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and anywhere YOU are in AZ.

Choosing our Arizona Disability Attorneys provides advantages you can’t get from national firms and non-local advocates.

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Free Consultation. No Fees Until We Win You Benefits.