If you have lost the ability to work because of a disability, it’s important to contact a disability law firm as soon as possible for a professional case evaluation. Making the decision to consult with a legal expert is often at no charge to you and can give you valuable information for how to proceed, especially if your Social Security disability claim is denied. In 2010, only 34.8% of all disability claims were approved. With the right disability law firm on your side, you are more likely to receive the benefits you deserve.
With that said, all law firms are not created equally. Experience is a crucial factor in picking the right law firm. We’re here to help you as you learn more about Social Security, your own disability, and what you need to know going forward. Once you and your doctor have made the decision that you can no longer work, finding the right legal partner is imperative. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you proceed.
Go Local. Go Specialized.
Let’s face it--there are massive law groups in the United States with offices in every major city. The most important considerations for you while navigating a potential denial of your Social Security disability claim is finding a law firm that treats you like the number one priority, and a firm that has worked with the local hearing offices and judges for over 40 years. After all, a lot is at stake for your future. Choosing the right representation can make the difference in a claim’s approval or denial.
A local law firm is rooted in the community and treats people like individuals with real health problems needing legal solutions. Further, the best prepared disability law firm only concentrates on areas of disability law. The benefits of a skilled disability law firm that focuses on only the law of disability is very valuable. After all, you wouldn’t pick a cardiologist to perform your back surgery. Another benefit of a small firm is that they’re able to specialize in specific practice areas--like Social Security disability claims. By focusing only on key portions of disability law, we concentrate our expertise and pass that on to our clients with strong representation. The right disability law firm is one that knows the law, its frequent changes, and what you need to win your claim. It’s what they do best.
With decades of specific dedication to these areas of law, a firm becomes very familiar with the local hearing offices and administrative judges who will hear your case. Knowing each judge’s style, preferences, and demeanor is invaluable in presenting a client’s disability claim for benefits. That gives us an advantage over another firm, and that advantage is passed on to you and your claim.
Did you know? There are three main hearing offices in the Metro Atlanta area. There a five main hearing offices throughout Georgia, with satellite locations as well.
Look for Experience.
When choosing a disability law firm, it’s important that the attorney you choose has experience with Social Security disability claims. As the client, you have a right and a responsibility to ask questions about a potential legal representative. Here are a few questions to ask:
- How long has the firm handled disability claims? How many cases have their lawyers handled?
- Do they specialize in other practice areas, or are they focused only on Social Security disability law?
- Do the attorneys handle the cases, or do case managers do the bulk of the work instead? Am I, as the client, able to contact my attorney about pressing questions?
- How will my disability law firm be paid if my claim is approved?
At Affleck & Gordon, we have represented tens of thousands of clients at hearings across Georgia. When you hire an attorney to assist with your Social Security disability claim, you are entering into a partnership with long-term goals.. You not only need a qualified, experienced attorney who knows the local system, cares about you and your case, and handles it directly, you will also need a support team who treats you with the kindness and respect you deserve.
The office staff is the law firm’s front line of communication with clients. Do you feel comfortable with the team assembled to assist you? A good connection with the attorney’s staff can give you peace of mind as you navigate what could potentially be one of the most stressful and difficult ordeals of your life.
If you’ve never hired an attorney before, it can be an intimidating experience. However, they know the legal aspects of your problem and want to help, so don’t hesitate to seek assistance with legal challenges. If you choose to interact with them as a partner instead of an adversary, there’s a good chance you’ll have a better working relationship. As the client, remember that your attorney works for you, and that at the end of the day, the relationship matters as much as the attorney’s knowledge of the law.
Do Your Research
Before making a final decision, research the firms you are interested in speaking with. Read online reviews. Explore the attorney’s website and social media pages. Then call to schedule a case evaluation to explain your case and to learn more about the firm. Researching and retaining documents regarding your own claim are important details, too. Topics to research include:
- The history, experience, and practice area specialty of the law firm you’d like to retain,
- Social Security Administration rules and regulations regarding your disability,
- Your condition, disability, and long-term prognosis.
I’m Ready. What Do I Need for my Case Evaluation?
- Birth Certificate
- Proof of Citizenship
- U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968
- W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year
- A concise summary of your illnesses, injuries or conditions, and your work history
- Medical evidence already in your possession. This includes medical records, doctors' reports, and recent test results
- Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers' compensation-type benefits you received [more info]
If your VA Disability claim has been denied, or you’re thinking about filing and don’t know where to start, Affleck & 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.