Don't Need a Lawyer to File

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by jasminetee, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    If you're filing for SSD or SSI or an LTD you don't have to have a lawyer. Most articles tell you you do after you've been denied once but that isn't true. If you look at the source of the site it's always by a lawyer or law firm that are saying that. Many of the good Disability articles here at Prohealth are written by lawyers. They're full of excellent info that should be followed but I don't agree with them that you need a lawyer at all during any part of the process.

    Here's what I was reading just now in one of the comments under one of those articles:

    "you do not have to hire a lawyer. A lawyer does you no good at all. All the lawyer does is send his secretary around to all your doctors and test facilities and get the copies that you [could] have gotten in the first place and then if you win, which you should, they get 25% of your back pay off the top. For doing nothing but what you [could] have done in the first place."

    One other thing I've read a few times is that if you get denied don't Refile or you go back to the bottom of the pile. Appeal instead.

    There is excellent advice in these articles and comments and following it should help you. I got mine without a lawyer. I did however, pay for an hour consultation with a lawyer who basically stated the above to me. She was an above the board lawyer. :) That was back before the Web had this much good info on filing.


    [This Message was Edited on 07/10/2009]
  2. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    I got SSDI w/o a lawyer, and I agree that it is not necessary IF you are not too sick to do the stuff yourself; HOWEVER, if I were just now trying to start the whole process I would get a lawyer, bc there is no way that I could physically or cognitively handle doing it myself. It was very difficult at the time I did it, and though I was sick enough to need the disability, I was nowhere near as sick as I am now.

    I understand that you are trying to be helpful in posting this, and I do think that many are misled into giving a chunk of their back pay unnecessarily to a lawyer......I think that the quote you included is somewhat harmful, though, in that it keeps saying that people "should" be doing this stuff themselves. We already have enough guilt heaped on us for having this illness; we don't need more "shoulds", esp ones that are not true. Even though I did the whole thing w/o a lawyer, I did have help from a friend, and even then it was incredibly difficult physically, and it made me crash badly.

    If someone is sick with severe ME/CFS, then there is no way that he/she "should" be running around to all his/her doctors and trying to gather the necessary info. Not only is it physically demanding, but it is also cognitively draining, and can be emotionally very tough, as well, esp if said doctors want to give them a hard time (which is all too common)....and there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled out, in addition to getting doctors to do their part. You might not have to pay for it financially w/o a lawyer, but you will have to pay for it physically, cognitively, emotionally, etc.
  3. butterflydream

    butterflydream New Member

    is it all depends on the individual applying. So much stress is involved and how much can one handle emotionally and have knowledge of the whole process.

    This would be a good post of yours to have on the Disability Board. Many have questions on that board unanswered or could use more advise from others.

    Be Well
  4. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    Aunt Tammy, good point about the word "should". I changed it to "could". I'm much more ill now too but personally I would still try to file without a lawyer. I just know that if someone's filing they need the money and they're still going to have to do the work the lawyer will tell them to do, such as documenting their symptoms.

    I think it's worth buying a fax/copier of your own when filing and have your medical records faxed to you. You'll need to constantly update your disability anyway so you'll be collecting those medical records from your doctors the rest of your life if you're on disability. I have all my records faxed into me and then I copy them for myself and send a copy on to my LTD company every year.

    I don't really know what a lawyer does for you that makes filing any easier. Back when we didn't have so much good info on the web for filing then it makes sense to me to have hired one. But perhaps they can help with filling out forms, like wording etc... but I was under the impression that they don't do that just from listening to people in Chat.

    I'm certainly not telling anyone what I think they should or shouldn't do. And I don't want to cause anyone stress. I just wanted people to know the information I posted above. Then they can make the decision that's best for themselves but at least they have another viewpoint. When I Google for disability for CFS or FMS every site that shows up on the first 2 pages at least, says you HAVE to get a lawyer if you've been turned down once. Then I noticed that they are all sites from lawyers.

    Butterfly Dream, I've never seen a Disability Board here that you can post on. I don't see it now in the Drop Down Menu either. I also know how stressful filing is but I know that money problems cause a lot of stress too and if you can save more you'll be better off than if not. We can all support each other here and we do and that can really be helpful for people going through filing.

    In the end, hiring a lawyer or not is a personal decision.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/10/2009]