Tips and Advice from South Carolina Disability Attorney Sam Jefcoat
The following information is provided by Attorney Samuel Jefcoat, who represents SSD and SSI claimants in South Carolina:
Client S was a woman in her early 50s. When she originally came to my office seeking representation on a Social Security Disability Claim, she presented with complaints of back and knee problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, headaches, and poor vision in one eye. Her past relevant work had been as a cashier in a convenience store.
As is my frequent practice, I agreed to commence representation, with the understanding that I may later withdraw, if after receiving a copy of the file and reviewing the medical records, I form the opinion that the case is not winnable. I signed on as the representative for Client S on May 2, 2006. Client S had already filed her Request for a Hearing a few months before.
Unbeknownst to me, within a few weeks of my meeting with her, Client S was hospitalized for a major stroke. No one in the family let me know. Our requests for updates from Client S had gone unanswered, but as we were in the early stages of an average eighteen month wait for a hearing, it did not strike us as particularly unusual that we had not heard from the client.
Eventually, Client S moved to another state to live with family who could care for her. Her family took her to an attorney there to help with her claim. Neither the family nor the new attorney let me know.
Later on, Client S moved back to our area. The first I knew of any of this was when her sister called in panic because they were about to be evicted and have their power cut off. I asked if they could come to meet with me, and that was when I was advised that Client S was bedridden and could not speak.
I drove to their house and confirmed the details. I immediately started contacting medical providers to obtain records. I also obtained a copy of the electricity shut-off notices and a letter from the landlord of the pending eviction. Using these, I requested an expedited hearing.
The term “expedited hearing” in the context of a Social Security Disability is a relative term. It was still about six weeks before the hearing was held. In the interim, we worked on gathering the medical records and preparing the case for the hearing. Not surprisingly, we were able to obtain a favorable ruling.
Lessons to be learned from this case:
1. Make sure someone you trust knows what is going on with your case and to notify your attorney if there is a change in your condition.
2. If there exists a legitimate dire need situation, i.e., you are about to lose your home or have your utilities cut off, let your attorney know so that your case can be considered for an expedited hearing. Understand, however, that almost everyone who has a Social Security Disability case pending has financial problems.
Samuel H. Jefcoat
Attorney at Law, LLC
How to contact if you need representation in South Carolina
1501 Main Street
Post Office Box 397
Newberry, South Carolina 29108
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