- June 27, 2014
- Category: Latest
If you believe you are entitled to disability benefits, getting your claim through may not always be so cut-and-dry. It can take awhile to get approved, and problems with the application can further slow the process. Far too many claims get wrongly denied, and navigating the process to reverse the decision can be challenging to say the least. While many people don’t turn to a lawyer until after a denial, it may be a good idea to get one right from the start, to maximize your chances of approval the first time around. Regardless of where you are in the process, here are some tips for selecting the right social security disability lawyer.
Experience in Your Type of Disability
Before just settling on any lawyer who handles disability cases, you want to ensure he has experience seeking claims for your specific type of disability. The Social Security Administration has a set of guidelines that outlines the impairment criteria for each type of condition, such as cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, AIDs, etc.. A successful application will contain the proper language specific to the condition you have. An experienced lawyer will know what information should be included. A lawyer who works primarily with cancer patients may not have sufficient knowledge to properly represent someone with fibromyalgia.
What to Ask the Attorney
When meeting with attorneys, there are some key questions you need to properly evaluate your options. First and foremost, you want to find out about the approval rate. You want to know about the overall approval rate, the rate of approval at the hearings level, and the percentages of wins at full and partial benefits.
You then want to get an idea of how your case will be handled. Disability firms are busy for sure, but you want to ensure you have a contact person who can be relied upon to answer your questions, and that the firm will keep in regular contact to update you on the progress of your case. Inquire about the kind of support staff at the firm, whether you will have your own case manager and the average number of clients handled, how often to expect communication, whether there are paralegals who will also be working on the case, if records will be requested by the firm or if you have to do it on your own and whether any costs for medical records will be advanced or if you have to pay upfront.
Beware of Guarantees
When interviewing potential candidates, beware of any attorney who guarantees he will get your claim approved—there is no way to guarantee a disability claim will be approved. A good lawyer will point out the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and offer insights on how he can increase your chances of approval.
Also be wary of any attorney who claims he can get you through the system faster than if you did it on your own—while his services can be invaluable in submitting an application more likely to be approved, and making sure required information is submitted in a timely fashion, the timeframe is usually the same with or without legal assistance.
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