Disability Attorneys - Questions about using a Social Security Disability Attorney
Disability attorneys fall into several categories. Generally speaking, there are social security disability attorneys who handle workers compensation claims, disability attorneys who handle long term disability claims, and disability attorneys who handle social security disability and SSI disability claims.
Social Security disability attorneys provide representation on social security administration disability cases at all levels of the process. This means that a claimant can choose a disability attorney after a claim has been denied, before a claim has been denied, and even before a claim has been filed (however, if you desire representation prior to filing the disability claim, the attorney will not be able to submit an "appointment of representative form" until after the disability application has been initiated and put on file with the social security administration).
Individuals with pending disability claims (Social security disability or SSI) and individuals who have only gotten to the point of thinking of whether or not to apply for disability usually have a number of questions regarding disability attorneys and here are just a few:
1. When am I allowed to get an attorney for my disability case?
As was mentioned, a disability attorney can be used at any point in the process. Many claimants will choose to seek an attorney after a denial has been issued, though some will look into the issue of representation much sooner.
2. Will an attorney make things easier for me when I am filing for disability?
Very often, this is the case. As soon as the social security administration becomes aware of the fact that you are represented by a disability attorney, they will begin to send copies of everything they send you to the attorney also. This not only keeps the attorney up-to-date on the disability case, but allows the attorney to get your appeal paperwork filed quickly. This, of course, can eliminate the possibility of missing crucial disability appeal deadlines and remove a significant amount of worry from a claimant. Additionally, once SSA is put on notice that you have a disability attorney, they will contact your attorney to seek permission before directly contacting you. This is put in place to actually protect your interests, though, in most cases, there is no harm in you being contacted by someone at the social security administration with regard to an SSD or SSI claim.
3. Can you change disability attorneys?
If you obtain representation from a disability attorney and later decide, for whatever reason, that you would like to switch to a different attorney, you are allowed to do this. The social security administration, in a practical sense, is only concerned with whoever you have chosen to represent you and who your most recently submitted "appointment of representative form" indicates this to be. In short, you can change attorneys whenever you like. It's your choice.
4. How much is a disability attorney paid?
Disability attorneys are not paid upfront. They are paid 25 percent of whatever backpay the social security administration decides that it owes you after the disability case has been won. Unlike other types of cases where attorneys are used, this makes representation for social security disability and SSI very different because it means that anyone can afford to be represented. To reiterate, a disability attorney is only paid if they win your case.
5. Will a disability attorney give me a better chance of winning disability benefits?
Disability attorneys can make a substantial difference in several ways. They can keep you from missing important deadlines, they can make sure that the right records are submitted to social security, they can work to obtain valuable statements from your physicians in support of your case, and they can successfully argue that your case should be approved, based on a knowledge of your work history, medical history, and the various rules that apply to your disability case. Statistically, at disability hearings, about 40 percent of individuals who are not represented win their disability cases, while 60 percent of claimants who have a disability attorney win their cases. This means that having a disability attorney will give you a fifty percent greater chance of winning disability benefits.
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