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Pros & Cons of Hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney

Research shows that disabled individuals who choose to hire a Social Security disability attorney or advocate are two to three times more likely to be awarded benefits than Utah residents who go it alone. With that in mind, getting legal representation is definitely a good idea.

But maybe you’re the type of person who doesn’t trust statistics. In that case, a little more information may convince you that working with a disability lawyer is in your best interests. Here’s a look at the benefits and drawbacks of hiring an attorney.

Social Security disability attorney Utah

Advantages of Having a Disability Attorney on Your Side

An experienced lawyer will consider your unique circumstances, then decide on the best approach. Whether or not your condition automatically qualifies you as disabled, how long is your disability expected to last, do you have sufficient medical documentation – concerns like these can have a major impact on your case, and a Social Security disability attorney can determine if you have a good chance of meeting the requirements.

With a legal representative, you’ll also have help with:

  • Filling out the initial application to clearly show that your medical condition should be considered a disability
  • Providing the Social Security Administration with the necessary medical evidence and supporting documents
  • Appealing your disability claim at any administrative level or in Federal court, should your application be denied

Disadvantages of Hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney

In all honesty, the only downside to hiring a disability attorney or advocate is the cost. Legal professionals don’t work for free, so if you choose to work with a lawyer, you will be charged a fee for their services.

However, you’ll only have to pay a fee if you are awarded benefits – and legal fees are capped at $7,200 or 25 percent of the backpay, whichever is less. Most of the time, this is money well spent, as many disabled individuals would have trouble getting approved without legal assistance.

Theoretically, you could handle everything on your own, receive a favorable decision and save yourself from having to pay a disability lawyer. But given that the majority of applications are denied, a portion of your past-due benefits is a small price to pay in exchange for the monetary assistance you need. 

Contact Mountain West Disability for a Free Consultation

Even if we haven’t convinced you to hire a disability attorney, you have nothing to lose by meeting with an experienced legal professional. At Mountain West Disability, we offer free, no-obligation consultations, and we’d be happy to answer your questions, provide you with expert advice and explain the steps you need to take moving forward.

For more information on our Utah law firm, or to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Social Security disability attorney, contact us today.

What Are the Odds Your Disability Application Will Be Approved?

The first question most disabled individuals in Utah ask about filing a Social Security disability application is how likely it is that they’ll get an approval. And while we wish we could say otherwise, the odds aren’t all that good.

In the initial application stage, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reports an approval rate of around 36 percent – which means that roughly six out of every ten disability applications are denied. No one can guarantee that you’ll be granted the benefits you need, but by learning more, you may be able to improve your odds.

disability application Utah

How the SSA Makes the Decision

When evaluating your initial disability application, the SSA will be considering whether or not you meet their definition of disability. To be eligible for benefits, all of the following must be true:

  • Your medical condition prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA), or working enough hours to earn a living.
  • You’re unable to perform the work activities you previously did and cannot switch to another line of work because of your disability.
  • The condition or impairment that is keeping you from working is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

In addition, the SSA will be looking to determine if your employment history qualifies you for disability benefits. If you don’t have enough work credits, you won’t be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

How to Increase the Odds of an Approval

In an ideal world, every disabled Utah resident would be automatically approved for benefits. That’s never going to happen, but you can take steps to boost your odds of getting an approval at the initial disability application stage. Here’s what you can do:

  • Make sure your disability application is complete, providing a thorough answer to every question along with extensive information on your medical and job history.
  • Maintain a good relationship with your health care providers and treating physicians, as they can provide additional support for your disability claim.
  • Follow all treatment recommendations and attend all scheduled appointments, as a greater volume of medical evidence can increase the chances of approval.
  • Keep a close tab on the status of your claim, calling for regular updates to ensure that the SSA doesn’t need more information to process your disability application.

Contact Mountain West Disability Today

Working with an experienced disability advocate or attorney can also make the odds of being approved for benefits much better. In Utah, the professional team at Mountain West Disability is here to provide the help you need – and with us, expert assistance with your disability application comes with no upfront cost. For more information, or to arrange for a free case review, contact our office in Murray, Utah, today.

How Do Disability Advocates and Disability Attorneys Differ?

If you’re planning to apply for Social Security disability benefits and need assistance, your first thought might be to turn to an attorney. Quite a few lawyers in Utah specialize in helping disabled individuals with the claims process, and working with a legal professional can increase the odds of you being approved for benefits.

However, the same could be said of a disability advocate. Attorneys and non-attorney advocates provide similar services – and in some cases, advocacy firms take a team approach, with lawyers and advocates handling specific aspects of a claim.

So who should you go to for assistance? Let’s take a deeper look at your options.

disability advocates Utah

Social Security Disability Advocates

Disability advocates have legal training and expertise, but they are not licensed attorneys.

To become an advocate, individuals must have either a college degree or training along with work experience that is equivalent to a college education. Other requirements include passing a certification exam and background check and the completion of continuing education courses.

However, the lack of a law degree does mean that a disability advocate cannot represent anyone in court hearings. In the event of a denial from the Social Security Administration, only a licensed lawyer can appeal the decision in federal court.

Social Security Disability Attorneys

Compared to disability advocates, attorneys have undergone more training, in that they have attended law school and earned a degree.

Disability attorneys have to pass the bar exam and remain in good standing with the Utah State Bar Association. Like advocates, they must also meet continuing education requirements – but the courses may pertain to several areas of the law, not just those related to disability claims.

Furthermore, at many Utah law firms, attorneys work on different types of cases – and various tasks may be delegated to paralegals and legal assistance. For these reasons, working with an advocacy firm can be a better approach than hiring a disability attorney.

Social Security Disability Advocacy Firms

For disabled individuals, the team approach taken by advocacy firms is beneficial, as it allows for ample support through every step of the claims process.

Utah advocacy firms typically have a team of professionals – including attorneys, non-attorney advocates, claims experts and case managers – each of whom specializes in a single phase of the process. Everyone works together seamlessly, doing whatever is necessary to get their clients approved for benefits.

Mountain West Disability is a trusted Utah advocacy firm, and we offer highly personalized service, tailored to meet each of our client’s needs. We’ve guided hundreds of disabled individuals in getting the benefits they need and deserve, and we’re ready to fight for your rights. For more information, or to discuss your claim with a friendly and knowledgeable disability advocate in Utah, contact us today.

What Is the Cost for a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Utah?

Contacting a Social Security disability lawyer in Utah may be a smart move if you’re disabled and cannot work. With an experienced attorney in your corner, you stand a stronger chance of getting approved for monetary benefits.

So, how much might you have to pay for legal assistance?

When you’re not able to earn a living, this is a very real concern – and the answer is sure to ease your mind. Disability lawyers don’t charge upfront legal fees, and they don’t require clients to put down a retainer. An attorney will essentially work for free until your case ends, and even then, you won’t get hit with a hefty bill. Here’s a look at how the payment arrangement works.

Social Security disability lawyer Utah

Disability Lawyers Only Get Paid if They Win

Social Security disability lawyers in Utah work on a contingency fee basis, which is just another way of saying that they provide legal services without asking for any money upfront. Payment is contingent upon the success of your disability claim, and if an attorney isn’t able to get a client approved for benefits, they don’t earn a dime.

Legal Fees Come Directly From the Winnings

As they only collect a fee when benefits are awarded, disability attorneys only agree to offer assistance when they believe that will happen. If a lawyer’s efforts to help a client obtain benefits are successful, they get paid automatically – the Social Security Administration deducts their fees before the first backpay check is issued.

The Cost of Working with a Disability Lawyer

Disability attorneys in Utah aren’t able to set their own fees. The SSA limits the amount lawyers can receive for assisting with disability claims, and it’s directly related to the amount of past-due benefits awarded. Legal fees can be either 25 percent of that total or $7,200 – whichever is less.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Disability Claims

Some disability attorneys in Utah charge clients a fee for obtaining medical records. At Mountain West Disability, we cover that cost. Clients may have to pay for postage, photocopies and any required physical or psychological exams — but we have to point out, those are expenses anyone would incur, even those who handle their own claims.

Let Mountain West Disability Handle Your Claim

Now that you know you don’t have to worry about the costs of hiring a Social Security disability lawyer, why not schedule a free case evaluation? Based in northern Utah, Mountain West Disability has been helping disabled individuals for nearly a decade – and we have a history of success. Turn to our legal team, and we’ll do whatever we can to get you the benefits you need. For more information on our services, or to consult with a highly skilled and experienced Social Security disability lawyer in Utah, contact us today.

The Best Way to File a Social Security Disability Claim in Utah

If you’re disabled and unable to earn a living, filing a Social Security disability claim could provide you with the financial support you need.

Residents of Utah can apply for benefits in four different ways:

  • Online through the Social Security Administration website
  • Over the phone with a representative from the SSA
  • At the SSA office in Ogden, Provo, Saint George, Salt Lake City or South Jordan
  • With the assistance of an experienced disability lawyer or advocate

The easiest option is the last one, and research shows that disabled individuals who have expert help with their claims have better odds of being approved for benefits. To learn why, take a look at the following.

Social Security disability claim Utah

Applying for Disability Online

People who want to file a Social Security disability claim often head to the SSA website to do so – and going that route does offer a few advantages:

  • You can start your disability application immediately instead of waiting for an appointment.
  • You can fill out the application at your convenience and, if necessary, come back to finish it later.
  • You can avoid making a trip out to an SSA field office, which may not be all that near your Utah home.

However, filing a disability claim online gives you no opportunity for face-to-face communication with an experienced professional. Work with a disability lawyer or advocate, and you’ll have someone to answer your questions and offer advice.

Applying for Disability with a SSA Representative

Those who don’t want to complete an online application for benefits may think to file a claim over the phone or at a local field office. But while either method does offer the chance to ask questions, there are a few negatives:

  • Phone applications typically involve long wait times.
  • Some SSA field offices may have limited in-person services.
  • Representatives make observations about applicants, and their notes become a part of your disability claim file.

With an experienced disability lawyer or advocate on your side, you won’t have these concerns. What’s more, having the assistance of a qualified professional will dramatically simplify the process of filing a Social Security disability claim.

Applying for Disability with a Lawyer or Advocate

Disabled individuals who opt to have a professional complete their Social Security disability claim have a much easier time. This approach is advantageous for several reasons:

  • Experienced disability lawyers and advocates are familiar with the SSA’s rules and regulations for applicants.
  • Professionals know how to prepare a disability claim that stands a strong chance of being approved by the SSA.
  • A qualified advocate or attorney can gather medical evidence and make sure no information is missing from the application.
  • By working with a lawyer or professional advocate, applicants have someone to guide them through the claims process.

Are you ready to fill out an application for benefits? The highly skilled and experienced team at Mountain West Disability is here to help. For a free case evaluation, or for more information on filing a Social Security disability claim in Utah, contact us today.

Social Security Disability – Monthly Amounts for DIB & SSI

In Utah, disabled individuals who need financial assistance may qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits through two different programs: Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Both DIB and SSI provide monthly cash payments to Utah residents who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability, but the amounts differ. To get an idea of how much you might receive in disability benefits if your claim is approved, take a look at the following.

disability benefits Utah

Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB)

Also referred to as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), DIB is based on work credits. This program provides disability benefits to qualified Utah residents who have paid enough in Social Security taxes through previous employment.

Under the Disability Insurance Benefits program, the monthly cash payment a person receives varies depending upon past earnings. In 2022, the average amount was $1,358, and DIB payments were capped at $3,345 per month.

When disability benefits through the DIB program are awarded to an individual, members of their family may also be eligible. The 2022 average monthly payment for a married DIB recipient with one or more children was $2,383.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Unlike DIB, the Supplemental Security Income program isn’t based on work history – it’s based on need. Through SSI, low-income Utah residents are able to receive monthly cash assistance.

Disabled individuals who are approved for SSI are awarded the federal benefit rate, which fluctuates with the cost of living. In 2022, the maximum payment amount for a single person was $841. For an eligible married individual, the monthly benefit was $1,261.

Those who qualify to receive SSI payments also receive Medicaid benefits. So, along with monthly cash payments, SSI offers immediate health coverage.

Can You Receive DIB and SSI Benefits?

Yes, some Utah residents are approved for both DIB and SSI – this is known as receiving concurrent benefits.

The Social Security Administration pays out concurrent benefits when the DIB amount falls below the federal benefit rate, which can occur if a disabled individual hasn’t worked recently or didn’t earn much through employment. In 2022, anyone approved for DIB of less than $841 gets the difference through the SSI program. Applying for disability benefits through both programs isn’t necessary – when pertinent, the SSA automatically pays concurrent benefits.

Do you have questions about Disability Insurance Benefits or Supplemental Security Income? Are you ready to apply for disability benefits? For expert help at no upfront cost – and no fee until your claim is approved – call on the professionals at Mountain West Disability.

We have a team of highly skilled and experienced advocates, legal professionals and case managers who are ready to take on your claim and help you get the financial assistance you need. For a free case evaluation and details on how to apply for disability benefits in Utah, contact our Murray office today.

When Should You Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney?

If you have a medical condition that prevents you from earning a living, hiring a Social Security disability attorney may be a smart move.

Experienced Utah lawyers can often help expedite the claims process, and having representation increases your odds of being approved for benefits. That’s not just our opinion, either — research shows that people who have professional assistance are two to three times more likely to win a disability case.

If you’re thinking about hiring a disability attorney, we suggest scheduling a free consultation. Here’s a look at when to make that call.

Social Security disability attorney Utah

When is the Right Time to Contact a Disability Lawyer?

Generally speaking, the sooner you hire a Social Security disability attorney, the better.

If you haven’t yet filed your initial application for benefits, a lawyer can assess the strength of your case, suggest areas for improvement and make sure that the information you’ve provided contains no omissions, errors or disparities.

If you already applied for benefits, you can still benefit from contacting an attorney. Depending on the specifics of your case, an experienced Utah disability attorney may be able to speed up the claims process.

If you’ve been denied benefits, we strongly suggest that you should call a qualified legal professional. An attorney can help you file a request for consideration and, should the need arise, assist with further appeals.

How a Disability Attorney Improves Your Chances of Approval

Many people think they should apply for disability benefits on their own, then hire a lawyer if the claim gets denied. In some cases, this isn’t bad advice, but consider the following:

  • Attorneys are well-familiar with the disability application and claims process.
  • Attorneys understand the laws and regulations related to disability claims.
  • Attorneys are fully aware of what it takes to get a claim on the right track.

We’re guessing that you probably wouldn’t make any of those statements about yourself – which is why hiring a disability lawyer is in your best interests. Without that knowledge, steering a case toward approval is much more of a challenge.

Contact Mountain West Disability for a Free Consultation Today

If you believe that you’re eligible for disability benefits and would like legal advice and assistance your claim, you’ll want to an experienced Utah disability attorney. A professional who has guided a great number of disabled individuals through the claims process is the ideal choice – and that describes the team at Mountain West Disability.

Our advocates and attorneys have years of experience helping people obtain the benefits the need, and we’re here to do the same for you. For more information on our services, or to schedule a free case review with a dedicated Social Security disability attorney, call our office in Murray, Utah, today.

Application Tips from Social Security Disability Advocates in Utah

When filing an application for benefits, many disabled individuals in Utah choose to work with a Social Security disability advocate. But some decide to apply on their own, as the SSA doesn’t require applicants to enlist the help of an advocate or attorney.

If you’re planning on applying for disability benefits, you’ll want to give yourself the strongest possible chance of securing an approval. Follow the tips below, and you’ll be better prepared for the disability application process.

disability advocates Utah

Tip #1: Apply As Soon As Possible

To qualify for benefits, you must have a disability that prevents you from working for at least 12 months. But according to Social Security disability advocates in Utah, you don’t want to wait that long to apply – the SSA is slow to process claims, so you’re better off applying as soon as you become disabled.

Tip #2: Don’t Leave Out Any Details

The SSA denies many disability applications due to insufficient evidence. You need to make certain that you’re offering thorough answers to every question, and it wouldn’t hurt to double-check the information you provide. Go in-depth with the details, and the door to an approval will be open.

Tip #3: Get Regular Status Updates

Thousands of Utah residents apply for disability benefits every year, so you can’t expect get a decision from the SSA all that soon. However, if more information is required to process your application, you’ll want to know right away – so make a point of calling for status updates on a regular basis.

Tip #4: Don’t Get Down if You Get Denied

Social Security disability advocates know that the SSA denies a majority of the applications they receive. Many people don’t realize this and give up the fight for benefits, which can be a definite mistake. Going through the appeals process can be stressful, but pushing forward can be well worth the effort.

Tip #5: Work With a Disability Advocate

Getting assistance from a disability advocate may give you the advantage you need to get an approval from the SSA. With a professional completing the paperwork, you can count on it being done correctly – and an advocate will know what evidence and information to provide to boost the likelihood of success.

Contact Mountain West Disability Today

Applying for disability benefits on your own is an option, but you’ll have an easier time – and greater odds of getting approved – if you have an experienced disability advocate or attorney on your side. The Mountain West team has what it takes to help you get the benefits you need, and our expert assistance comes with no upfront cost.

For more information, or to schedule a free case review with a dedicated Social Security disability advocate, contact Mountain West Disability in Murray, Utah, today.

Mistakes to Avoid on Your Social Security Disability Application

In a perfect world, anyone unable to work due to medical reasons could complete a Social Security disability application and receive benefits. In reality, many Utah residents – more than half of those who apply – are rejected by the Social Security Administration.

Why are so many applications denied? There are several reasons, but the issue often boils down to mistakes made when completing the forms. To give yourself the best chance of getting approved for disability benefits, you’ll want to avoid the following.

Social Security disability applications Utah

Inaccurate Personal Information

Completing a Social Security disability application requires a significant amount of basic data. You’ll need to provide your birthdate, the name of your current spouse, the beginning and ending dates of all marriages and divorces, the names and birthdates of your children – we could go on, but you get the idea.

As you might expect, it’s easy to transpose numbers or provide info that isn’t exactly accurate. If that happens, the mistake could lead to a delay or denial of your disability claim.

Incomplete Medical Information

The disability application asks for a thorough medical history, and the SSA uses this information to determine eligibility for benefits. Among other details, you’ll need to provide the contact info for all of your health care providers, the dates of your visits, test results and medical records from every doctor and facility where you sought treatment.

Disability applicants often accidentally leave out emergency room visits, and many don’t include medical information that doesn’t seem relevant. Either mistake could derail your disability claim.

Incorrect Employment Information

Work history plays a large role in the SSA’s process for determining eligibility for benefits. To qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) you must have worked for 20 of the last 40 quarters. You must also pass the duration of work test, proving that you paid into the Social Security system for a long enough period.

You’ll need to provide work documents, employment dates and sufficient details as the requirements of each job when you submit your disability application. Clearly, not giving the SSA all of the necessary info would be a mistake.

Can You Fix Mistakes on Your Social Security Disability Application?

If you believe you made an error or left out important information when completing your Social Security disability application, you can address the problem by visiting the closest Utah field office. There, a member of the staff can help you correct any mistakes.

Not sure if your application was completed correctly? Or are you just getting ready to apply for benefits? Either way, an experienced disability lawyer or advocate in Utah can provide you with the assistance you need, catching potential errors and optimizing your application.

Let Mountain West Disability help you get the benefits you need. Our highly skilled team will make every effort to ensure that your application is accurate and complete – and we won’t charge you any fees unless and until you’re approved for disability benefits.

For a free case evaluation, or to discuss your Social Security disability application with an experienced professional, contact Mountain West Disability in Murray, Utah, today.

How Medical Treatment Boosts Your Claim for Disability Benefits

When you file a claim for disability benefits in Utah, the Social Security Administration will look to your medical history in assessing your credibility. Including the details of any treatment you have received is essential – this helps prove that your condition is as severe as you’ve asserted and that your ability to earn a living is limited.

As these are key factors in a successful disability claim, your medical treatment records can play a major role in determining whether or not the SSA finds in your favor. Here’s what you need to know if you plan on applying for disability benefits.

disability benefits Utah

Why Following Your Doctor’s Treatment Advice Is Critical

Generally speaking, you need to be getting treated to qualify for disability benefits. If you haven’t talked to a doctor about your condition, the SSA will likely conclude that it isn’t disabling – and that means your claim will stands a strong chance of being denied. The same is true if you have consulted with a doctor, but aren’t following their treatment advice.

On the other hand, if you’ve been under a doctor’s care for quite some time – or if you’ve seen multiple medical professionals and tried different treatment options – the SSA is much more likely to approve your application for disability benefits.

Valid Reasons for Not Complying with Treatment Recommendations

Failing to follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan could result in a denial of disability benefits if the recommended course of action would be expected to restore your ability to earn an income. That said, the SSA must consider whether you have good reasons for not seeking or complying with treatment.

Reasons that may be acceptable include:

  • You are unable to afford the recommended treatment.
  • A medicine you’ve been prescribed has serious side effects.
  • The treatment plan is against your religious beliefs.
  • A mental illness is keeping you from getting the treatment you need.

If the SSA has questions about your failure to pursue or comply with treatment, someone should contact you for an explanation. However, if you believe there’s a chance that your medical history could be an issue, be proactive and make your reasons for not doing more to treat your condition absolutely clear in your application for disability benefits.

Provide a Complete Treatment History with Your Disability Claim

As your medical treatment records will affect the outcome of your disability claim, you need to make sure that the SSA has all of the necessary information. Listing all of your treatment providers is crucial – include your primary care doctor and any other medical or mental health professionals you’ve seen, and the SSA will have a better idea of the lengths to which you’ve gone to treat your condition. As such, your claim for disability benefits will be less likely to be denied.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or simply want expert help with the Social Security disability claims process, let the professional team at Mountain West Disability help. We can guide you through every step – and we’ll only collect a fee if we’re successful in getting you approved for disability benefits. For a free case evaluation, contact our office in Murray, Utah, today.