You’ve successfully filled out the free evaluation form and submitted your information. What are the next steps you should expect? Keep reading…
7 Next Steps You Should Expect After Successfully Submitting Your Form
Step 1: We Match You With An Experienced Attorney In Your Area
People often ask why we ask for things like your phone number or ZIP code on our forms. That’s because we can’t complete the next steps to help you with your claim without them! First, we’ll match you with the closest Social Security attorney available to help you based on your ZIP code. Then, we email you the attorney’s contact information so you’ll always have it handy.
Important: Be sure to check your spam folder if you don’t see our email there in your inbox. Once you find it, add us to your “safe sender” list in your email preferences. If you search and don’t find this email, it likely means we couldn’t match you with any local attorneys at this time.
Step 2: Your Phone Should Ring Shortly, So Please Answer It!
We hate getting phone calls from numbers we don’t recognize, but if yours rings shortly after submitting your form, please answer it. It’s probably the attorney we matched you with trying to get in touch. This is why you should always include the best number to call you at the same day you submitted your form.
Step 3: Explain Your Current Situation When the Lawyer Calls You
Haven’t started your claim paperwork yet? Got a denial letter already from the Social Security Administration? Whatever stage you’re in right now will determine the next steps for getting your case resolved. You’ll probably need to make an in-person appointment and go over what next steps to take in your case. That way, the lawyer can go over any paperwork you have and give you confidential legal advice that applies to your unique situation.
Step 4: Deciding Whether or Not That Lawyer Should Help With Your Claim
At this point, if you decide you don’t want professional help with your Social Security disability benefits claim, that’s okay! You can skip the remaining next steps, as they won’t apply to your case. This matching service and initial consultation is always free and doesn’t obligate you to do anything else. And if you do want this attorney to handle your claim, you won’t pay anything now, regardless.
Step 5: Lawyer Submits Paperwork & Medical Evidence to the Social Security Administration
The next steps will vary if you’re a first-time applicant or appealing a denial. Either way, your lawyer will review and submit the best possible medical evidence to support your disability claim. It may be additional documents pulled from your complete medical records, or statements from friends and family. Your lawyer understands exactly what the SSA looks for and how to best get your benefits application approved.
If you haven’t yet applied, the lawyer will have all the forms you’ll need and can help you fill them out correctly. This is crucial, since the SSA denies 2 in 5 first-time applicants for making mistakes on their claim forms! Since the SSA only approves 20% of first-time SSD applicants, a lawyer gives you the best chance for winning on your first try.
Important: All Social Security lawyers work on contingency. That means they won’t accept your case if they don’t believe you can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Put it this way: They don’t get paid unless you do!
Step 6: Check Your Mail for the SSA’s Decision Letter
The next steps will depend on whether the SSA approves or denies your claim. If approved, your decision letter should explain the benefits amount and when to expect your first monthly payment. But if you’re denied, move on to Step 7 below.
Step 7: If You’re Denied, You Have 60 Days to Appeal
The SSA’s decision letter should explain why they denied your application for SSD benefits. Make an appointment and take the letter to show your lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can explain in clear language why the SSA turned you down and immediately file your appeal.
Important: If this happens to you, don’t give up! It’s possible the SSA denied your claim in error. Your lawyer will fight to get the most benefits you rightly deserve. Plus, attorneys know legal strategies for getting your ALJ appeals hearing scheduled faster. And the hearing stage is when most people whose first applications got denied finally win benefits!
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.