How to Find a Good Social Security Disability Attorney
You can’t work because of a disability and you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Even though you knew the chance of a denial is high with a first application, it still surprised you to receive a letter informing you that you don’t qualify or that you completed some part of the application incorrectly. You’re considering hiring a social security disability attorney because you’re not sure what else to do.
Unfortunately, many people act in haste at this point and hire the first lawyer they find. While it’s understandable that you need the SSDI income, it’s essential to take your time to hire an experienced legal professional who can represent you well for this federal government program. Below are some questions to ask and factors to consider before hiring a social security disability attorney.
Does the Attorney Have Special Training in Social Security Disability Law?
Social security is complex and highly specialized, which means you shouldn’t work with just a general attorney. Most lawyers who choose to represent people in these types of cases have significant training in disability law. It’s also common for them to belong to legal organizations that provide ongoing training in this area. The National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives is one such example. When you interview an attorney, be sure to ask about specific training in disability law as well as whether he or she maintains a membership with any legal organizations.
Is the Attorney Licensed?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) does allow claimants to represent themselves with the help of a non-attorney advocate. However, it’s in your best interests to work with a licensed attorney. This is especially true when it comes to disability law since the attorney is much more likely to know about case law and Social Security regulations that apply to your situation. Another benefit of working with a licensed attorney is that he or she can represent you in federal court. Since non-attorney SSDI advocates and licensed attorneys often charge close to the same fee, it just makes sense to choose the latter.
Is the Attorney Willing to Arrange a Consultative Exam with a Doctor?
Sometimes the SSA denies requests for benefits when the evidence of a disability seems obvious to everyone else. In this situation, an additional consultative exam with an expert in your specific type of disability can provide the proof you need to win your case. While this can be costly and isn’t appropriate for every case, you want to ensure that the lawyer you work with is at least willing to consider arranging this type of exam if necessary.
Does the Lawyer Have Experience Filing an On-the-Record Request?
When you have undeniable proof of a disability, having your lawyer submit an on-the-record (OTR) request can speed up the process of approval considerably. With an OTR, your disability attorney can ask a judge to approve your request for SSDI benefits without the need for a hearing. The process is complex, but the attorney you hire should be willing to consider it when it seems appropriate for your situation.
How Does the Attorney Communicate with Clients Before a SSDI Hearing?
If you received a denial of your claim at the initial level, don’t feel surprised if it takes a year or longer to receive a hearing before an administrative law judge. That is a long time to wonder what is going on with your case. You want to choose a disability attorney who will provide you with regular updates as well as return your call personally in a timely manner. Your attorney should also be invested enough in you as a person to inquire about health status updates while waiting for your hearing date to arrive.
Request a Free Review of Your Disability Claim Today
At the Dansby Law Firm, we understand that you’re in a difficult and frustrating situation. Even though your disability prevents you from working, you still need income to support yourself and your family. We invite you to contact our office in Montgomery, AL at 334-834-7001 to learn more about the process of filing an appeal when you have received a denial letter for SSDI benefits. You pay nothing upfront if you decide to retain our firm since our fee comes directly from your SSDI back payments.