When you get to the point in your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) case where you decide you need an attorney, there are several specific things to look for. Whether you’re at the beginning of your claim, in the middle, or even if you’ve been denied, a Social Security disability attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.
If you have hesitations about seeking legal representation in your SSDI/SSI claim, the best way to make a decision is to make an informed decision. The more you know about what an attorney can do for you, the better off you are in making the decision of which law firm to hire.
Here are some fast facts regarding legal representation for disability claims:
- First, you’ll sign a fee agreement with your attorney. The fee is limited to 25% of your backpay, or $6,000, whichever is lower. You won’t pay your attorney up front, and only if they win your case.
- You are dramatically more likely to win your case with an attorney. The odds of winning your case are improved by up to 50% with legal representation.
- Don’t give up because you’ve been denied. Retaining an attorney now can make a huge difference in your appeal.
Tip # 1: Choose Local
A local attorney firm with deep roots in a community is helpful to you, the claimant, in many ways. First of all, a local attorney group will have an established reputation not only for how they handle disability claims, but also how they treat their clients. Use this information to inform your decision. You want a firm that has a high success rate with their clients, but also one with a known reputation for good relationships.
Secondly, a local firm has established relationships with the local judges, court staff, other attorneys, and the local Social Security Administration officials. This benefits you in multiple ways. They’ll know the ins and outs of how the system works, and they can use this to benefit your case. If their reputation precedes them--and it’s a good reputation--that will also benefit your case.
Tip # 2: Choose a Firm that Treats People Like Individuals
Let’s face it: no one wants to be treated like a number. When you’re seeking disability benefits, you know that your injury or condition isn’t exactly like someone else’s. Retaining a lawyer who sees you as a person with a family, responsibilities, and a disability for which you need benefits can make a huge difference in how your case progresses.
You need an attorney you can trust. Trust accelerates success. By working with an ethical, trustworthy attorney group that treats you individually and with the respect you deserve, you are more likely to win you claim or appeal.
In addition, it’s important to feel comfortable with your attorney. Make sure that you can speak directly to your attorney when you need to, and that you aren’t pushed off to a case manager. Your attorney should know the details of your case and be able to point you in the right direction when you need assistance. After all, it’s a partnership. The right lawyer will help you every step of the way.
Tip #3: Experience Matters
There are lots of attorneys, and plenty who practice disability law. Finding the right fit for you and for your case means finding a local, trustworthy attorney with experience in SSDI and SSI claims. Here at Affleck & Gordon, we have over 40 years experience helping people with disabilities receive the benefits they deserve.
How can that experience help you? First of all, we know the law and how it’s changed over the decades. We understand what the SSA is looking for in a claim, and we can make sure that the details of your case are presented in ways that strengthen your position. Secondly, although your case is specific to you, we’ve handled many others similar to yours. We draw from that deep reservoir of experience to help you win your case.
Call and talk to our office. Our experience working with people like you who’ve fought for and won their benefits claims shines through in everything we do. You should feel as comfortable with our entire team of legal professionals as you do with your own attorney.
Tip #4: Read Online Reviews
It’s not enough to simply pick an attorney’s name off a billboard, or do a Google search to see attorneys near you. Take the extra time to do a little more research. Read the online Google reviews. Go to the Better Business Bureau and see how each attorney is rated.
Not everyone will be happy with their legal experience, and you will come across negative reviews. See if that attorney firm has responded to any complaints to attempt to rectify the situation. However, if you see a legal firm with multiple poor reviews, coupled with a lack of effort by the firm to make situations right, take that as a red flag.
Just like any other relationship, any attorney/client business partnership should be one based on trust. It’s important to take the time to find the right attorney firm for you.
If your Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income claim has been denied, or you’re thinking about filing and don’t know where to start, Affleck and Gordon can help. We’ve been helping people in Georgia just like you for over 40 years. Sign up for a free case evaluation here, or call us (404) 373-1649.