The Importance Of Client Self-Advocacy
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you must prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you have a disability and that you deserve these benefits. This often requires strong and dedicated advocacy.
At my law firm, Richard A. Gutstadt, P.C., we will provide you with unwavering support through the entire process of obtaining your benefits. For over 40 years, Eric and I have guided Bay Area clients like you to secure benefits and ease their financial stress after suffering a debilitating injury or illness.
I am committed to protecting your rights and maximizing your chances for success. However, it is also important for you to actively advocate for yourself. The combination of client self-advocacy and experienced legal counsel can help maximize your benefits and protect your best interests.
What To Expect; Information to Share at Our Initial Conference
After your first call, we will conduct an interview to gather specific information to support your claim for disability benefits. We will request your medical records, so please have your medical treatment history readily available. We will also get a list of your medications and have you fill out and sign paperwork so we can obtain copies of your medical records as your case develops.
Please locate your SSD paperwork and your denial letter(s), and at this first meeting we will:
- Explain everything you need to know about your case
- Answer any questions you might have
- Find out where you are in the SSD process
- Determine your current needs
- Help you understand how we can help you obtain disability benefits
What Can You Do To Advocate For Yourself?
At Richard A. Gutstadt, P.C., we handle the legal issues of your claim. We know the obstacles you might come up against, and the most expedient ways to obtain your disability benefits.
However, you can play a significant role and help your case by:
- Keeping track of all your records, including earnings information
- Documenting all your medical visits, information and treatments
- Recording any new treatments throughout your medical care
- Keeping track of new doctors, including their addresses and phone numbers
You deserve to be heard. And when we combine your input with legal and focused advocacy, we create a strategy to give you the best opportunity to win your case. You can learn more about the impact of strong advocacy on our blog.
The Social Security Disability Timeline: What To Expect
Every case is different. You may have expectations about when you are going to receive benefits, but that depends on a variety of factors, including:
- Where you are in the process
- Where you live and work
- How busy the SSA or the courts are
- Whether this is your first claim or an appeal
- If you must schedule a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ)
An ALJ hearing can take 6 to 10 months in Oakland, and the time varies by hearing office. Read our blog post to learn more about how to successfully prepare for an ALJ hearing.
During times of coronavirus, Social Security is providing the option for a telephone hearing, in place of an in-person hearing. Some cases are appropriate for a telephone hearing, but we believe that other cases are best presented at an in-person hearing, although that will delay the date of your hearing.
Don’t Give Up. Contact Us For The Support You Need.
We know you want to work. We also know how stressful this situation can be. Self-advocacy and our effective guidance can help reduce your stress and recover your benefits efficiently. Contact us by emailing our firm or calling my Oakland office at 510-992-6934 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced lawyer today.