Re: Question for those who receive SSD and had a lawyer
I never ended up hiring a lawyer, but I can give you some insight based upon the research I did. For the 1st appeal, all that happens is your file goes to another SSD evaluator. They collect any additional/more current information directly from the doctors/healthcare professionals and then make a decision. Basically, it is a check and balance system at this point...the purpose is to see if the first evaluator may have overlooked something, see if you have gotten better or worse, or any other changes that might have occured.
The reason your lawyer is not requesting paperwork from your doctors at this point is because they charge him or her money to do so (usually a considerable amount due to the sheer volume of paperwork you have generated at this point). There are two reasons the lawyer is doing this:
1) As long as SSD has all of your doctors/clinics/healthcare professionals contact information, they will request and receive all the necessary paperwork. Therefore, the lawyer would be paying to duplicate this.
2) I don't remember the exact numbers since it has been a couple of years, but I know federal law restricts the amount the lawyer can receive from your backpay. It is a percentage up to around $6000 total. From the lawyer's point of view, he is not going to spend any money until he or she absolutely has to. I know at this point $6,000 is a LOT of money, but realistically (and I am not a lawyer or involved in the legal profession in anyway!) the profit margin on SSD cases probably is not that big. Many of these cases can take awhile and the lawyer is basically doing the work for free until you win your case.
Remember, the lawyer does not get paid until you win your case. Therefore, her or she has a vested interest in getting you approved. I am not a huge fan of lawyers in general (before I was disabled I worked in healthcare), but the ones I talked to about SSD were very nice and I felt like most of them were doing it for more than money. SSD lawyers know how difficult the system is and really try to help you. The lawyer I was going to hire if I was denied talked with me several times during my initial application without having me hire him!
Also, I don't know if you have seen this or not, but if you go to the SS website, there are flowcharts showing you the entire process.