Friday, August 5, 2016

Choosing a Social Security Disability Attorney

Choosing a social security disability attorney is much like choosing an attorney to represent you in any legal matter, in that you will find that not all are created equal. The level of experience, competence, ethics, egotism, etc., varies, and it's best to keep consulting different attorneys until you find one with whom you are comfortable.

When choosing a lawyer to represent your disability claim, look for an attorney who will:

A) Keep you informed of your claim status in a timely manner. An attorney that doesn't return your calls or is rarely or never available to answer your questions is not showing respect for your concerns, and is most likely not going to be a strong advocate for your case.

B) Keep up with all paperwork in your case. This is, after all, one of the main benefits of having an attorney represent you. Your attorney should ensure that the state disability examiner has all of the medical documentation, work history, etc., needed to make a determination in your case. He or she should also file all appeals on time, and with as little delay as possible. Your attorney should provide you with copies of all documents in your case file, so that you are kept informed of the status of your case as well.

C) Go to bat for you when needed. Sometimes special circumstances arise and need to be addressed, and if you are paying an attorney you should have an advocate that will help you deal with any glitches in the system, or any deadlines that you miss (for legitimate cause).

Of course, sometimes it is difficult to know just how competent or willing to go the extra mile your attorney is until you have seen him or her in action. Keep in mind that if at any point you are dissatisfied with your attorney's performance or uncomfortable with any aspect of your representation, you can choose another attorney to represent you. Although admittedly this is not the outcome one would hope for, the process of switching to a new disability attorney does not require a lot of paperwork on your part. The social security administration requires only that you submit form SSA-1696, which is a notice of appointment of representative.

Remember, when choosing a social security disability attorney, it's best to treat the relationship as you would with any other person who provides you with a service. If you are not satisfied with the work, you should either ask for it to be corrected or, if your needs are not being met, find someone else who you feel can get the job done. Statistics show that individuals who have legal representation do tend to be approved for social security disability benefits more often than those that represent themselves, but only when their legal counsel competently handles the case.

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