Some Social Security Disability claimants choose to continue on to an adjudication hearing without representation by an attorney. While this is an option for every claimant, it may not be the best decision.
Social Security Disability hearings before an Administrative Law Judge contain a great deal of legal jargon and procedure. It is not uncommon for a claimant to begin a hearing on his or her own, then decide that it would be best to have it continued in order to obtain representation. Parties who are not familiar with the legal process may quickly become overwhelmed and realize they do not understand what is taking place.
Attorneys who are familiar with the Social Security Disability process can be a vital asset to any claim. He or she can request medical records, ask claimants, vocational experts, and medical experts pertinent questions during the hearing, and better lay out a claimant's medical issues as they relate to the ability to sustain regular, full-time work. When a claimant goes into a hearing alone, it is his or her sole responsibility to put on their case and prove disability. Most hearings are the end result of a very long wait time. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that a claimant arrive fully prepared and aware of what will take place. Most unrepresented claimants do not fit this description.
Whether filing an initial appeal, or preparing for an upcoming hearing, it is highly suggested that anyone seeking disability benefits consult with a knowledgeable attorney. Statistics historically show greater approval rates for represented claimants.