I recently came across this website for two Florida chiropractors who are holding themselves out as Social Security disability specialists representing Social Security disability claimants nationwide.
The site repeats this statement several times: The Social Security Administration requires that, "You must prove the MEDICAL condition, NOT the legal reason why you cannot work." The clear implication is that a doctor would be a better choice than an attorney to handle a Social Security disability claim.
I must disagree. Here are 7 quick reasons why:
- Proving your medical condition is just the beginning of a successful Social Security disability claim. You must then prove that your medical condition either meets a listed impairment or prevents you from working. (see Social Security's sequential evaluation). Either approach requires interpreting Social Security's extensive regulations and rulings, which is squarely the province of a lawyer.
- A Social Security claim requires one to develop a winning theory of the case and then develop evidence in support of that theory. Legal training is central to these tasks.
- Representing a claimant requires determining how the detailed Social Security regulations interact with the unique facts of a particular claim. Applying the law to the facts of a case is what lawyers do.
- A Social Security claimant's representative must persuade the decisonmaker that the claim should be granted. Persuasion is what lawyers do.
- I write a prehearing memorandum for every case, explaining to the judge why the claim should be granted under Social Security's rules. Lawyers are trained writers.
- The judge is a lawyer. Who do you want sitting next to you at the hearing?
- Should your claim be denied at the hearing level, you can appeal to the Appeals Council and, when necessary, file suit in U.S. District Court. You won't see any doctors there.
That's the first 7 reasons that came to mind. I am sure that there are others. If you have another reason, or if you disagree, please leave a comment.