Are you in need of a social security disability attorney? What questions should you ask before hiring one? Check out this guide for help!
At the end of 2019, payments from the Social Security Disability program totaled almost $11.7 billion. This is a huge amount of money, yet many claims get denied. Fighting for Social Security Disability benefits is not easy without the help of an attorney.
Find out more about hiring a social security disability attorney to help you here.
What Can a Social Security Disability Attorney Do for You?
An illness or serious injury that is keeping you from necessary workdays can cause a lot of stress. You have no way to pay your bills, and you are dealing with medical appointments, treatments, and most likely, pain.
You may be eligible for assistance through the Social Security Administration (SSA). This assistance comes in the form of Security Disability payments.
Qualifying for this type of assistance is not always easy. To better your chances, you should hire a Social Security Disability attorney to help get your application approved.
A social security disability attorney can also educate you on other benefits you may qualify for. For example, you could be eligible for VA service-connected disability or long-term disability. A lawyer might be able to help you apply for additional benefits.
This is beneficial information to hold onto in case your claim gets denied.
You may already have a lot to think about, but hiring the right person for the job is a consideration worth it in the end. With these eight questions, you can ensure the right person is by your side:
1. How Much Will I Be Charged?
Before hiring an attorney for Social Security Disability help, you need to understand how much the claim will cost you. The cost should include how much legal representation you actually receive.
The SSA caps the amount a lawyer can charge you. However, the cost of these attorneys may still vary.
The standard fee for a lawyer is 25% of the past-due benefits. The SSA caps these fees at $6,000. This means you should not be paying over this amount.
Often, Social Security Disability attorney fees get covered by the SSA. This means you won’t have to worry about paying your lawyer directly or putting money out upfront.
A successful claim leads to the deduction of your benefits to pay off attorney fees. This amount gets sent directly to your lawyer by the SSA.
The fees’ structure may change if you lose your claim and have to appeal it in Federal Court. This is why it is important to ask about the fees under all circumstances, so you are not blindsided in the end.
2. How Often Will You Meet With Me?
Before asking this question, it is essential to understand your needs regarding the claim. Do you want your lawyer to meet with you often to discuss updates of the claims? Or do you prefer to meet less because it makes you feel more comfortable to let them handle it?
You may opt to receive contact only when there are claim updates or if the attorney needs additional information from you. Others choose to get briefed on every single change made.
Generally, an attorney has a standard on how often they meet with clients. Ask them this and find out if it aligns with our needs. The two of you must have proper communication throughout this time.
3. How Much Experience Do You Have With Similar Claims?
Law firms tend to specialize in specific types of law. Be sure that the lawyer you choose has experience in the necessary area.
This is important because Social Security Disability claims are more technical. These claims require medical record investigations. Your lawyer must have the proper experience to cross-examine the medical witnesses and others.
These claim types also require knowledge of Social Security laws and regulations in particular. You’ll want your lawyer to have experience giving testimonies to the specific type of judge used for these cases.
Not all firms can provide you with the tools you need to receive your benefits. The top Social Security Disability attorneys have narrowed their practice down to ensure they can provide the best results.
At Fitzpatrick & Associates, we have narrowed our practice areas to a select few, including Social Security Disability.
4. Do You Understand My Medical Conditions?
Social Security Disability claims are common, but not all medical conditions are. Your lawyer may understand common conditions without considering the others, ones that you may have. It is also important for your lawyer to understand how these conditions can limit your ability to work.
If you have an uncommon injury or medical condition, be sure the lawyer you hire is familiar with it. When you are not representing accurately, you can lose your claim. Winning the claim is all about proving how your medical condition or injury affects working and making money for a living.
5. How Do You Go About These Claims?
When searching “Social Security Disability attorney near me,” you may find that different lawyers handle claims differently. Before hiring a lawyer, be sure to understand their method and how that person will potentially go about your claim.
The process should always involve having medical source statements and consultive examinations. If you have a terminal illness, you could be entitled to an earlier hearing date. This means your lawyer will have to be ready sooner.
By asking this question, you can figure out if a lawyer is right for your case. Will they use the proper tools needed for your situation? Although your lawyer may have completed many Social Security Disability cases, they must tailor their method to fit your needs.
6. Do You Also Handle Appeals Council Cases?
Winning a Social Security Disability case is not easy. A lot of claims get denied and must go to the next level. Before hiring a lawyer, be sure that they will stand with you during the appeals process.
After a case is denied, your attorney should be willing to review the decision and decide if you are eligible to appeal. Judges can make mistakes which leads you to the next level in court. Without this commitment, your chances of receiving benefits after getting denied are low.
7. How Long Will Planning Take?
Any lawyer you hire needs your help and information during the planning stages of the process. You can ask what extra steps you can take during the planning portion of the claims process to increase your chances of receiving your intended results.
An attorney may ask you to gather documents, continue getting medical treatment, and follow the medical advice you are given. Your willingness to follow your lawyer’s recommendations will only benefit you.
Along with these additional steps, the planning process should include one on ones with your attorney. If your lawyer is unwilling to sit down with you and go over the court process, they probably aren’t the right person to hire.
A planning session can help you feel more comfortable during court. It also lets you know your attorney’s ideas beforehand.
The planning portion should take more than a couple of hours. Your attorney should be planing way ahead of your court date. Consider it a red flag if your lawyer says that they can only meet with you hours before the hearing.
8. How Can I Get in Contact With You?
An attorney that is hard to get ahold of is not a great one. This is why it is essential to ask how you can contact them before hiring someone.
The best way to stay in touch maybe through a paralegal or other staff member. Sometimes an attorney will ask you to directly email them or give them a phone call or text. The way they prefer to be contacted should be comfortable for you too.
After understanding their preferred contact information, ask them how quickly they get back to their clients. An attorney who can address any questions or concerns you may have will be better for you in the process.
Let Us Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim
At Fitzpatrick & Associates, we specialize in Social Security cases to help you get the benefits you deserve. Although many applications get denied, having the right Social Security Disability attorney by your side can improve your chances. Let us help you with your claim because we understand the process inside and out.
Whether you were injured or are suffering from an illness that prevents you from working, you have a chance at filing a claim and receiving benefits. Contact us today to begin a free evaluation of your case.