There are lots of companies out there that will offer to help with your Social Security disability claim, if you let them. So, how do you pick between the many options? By asking questions.
Here are three questions to ask them and one to ask yourself before hiring a lawyer.
Questions about fees and costs
Always ask a Social Security lawyer questions about money. Even though there’s not a lot of variation - because Social Security lawyers fees are set by law - your lawyer should still be ready to explain how the fee structure works.
Although some lawyers may require you to pay some costs, they should never ask you to request fees upfront. The fee should be contingent - 25% to 50% of your back benefit. How much depends on how many appeals your case requires and whether it end up in federal court. At Disability Alabama - and hopefully everywhere else - we only get paid if you get paid.
Questions about who will do the work
Social Security, more than other areas of law, is often performed by large organizations that could be headquartered in New York or Chicago as much Montgomery or Huntsville. Many Social Security claimants - especially the dissatisfied ones - never talk to their lawyer except perhaps on the day of the day of the hearing.
Ask who will be handling your case. If it’s a paralegal, ask whether you can expect to talk to a lawyer and when. If you are able to talk to a lawyer, ask them how best to communicate. Should you call them? Should you send emails? How and when can you talk to their assistant?
Hopefully, the lawyer’s office will be the ones asking how you would prefer to be contacted. Still, when you have more questions about your case down the road, you need to know who you can talk to.
Questions about what to expect
Security cases can take a long time if your case requires multiple appeals. Ask your lawyer “how long does it take” to go through the process and when you can expect a decision - when you can expect to receive benefit payments. Social
Though it’s wise to hire a lawyer early in the process, most commonly lawyers are hired for the Administrative Law Judge. Don’t be afraid to ask “When will I see a judge?”
Do I feel comfortable with this person?
The most important question to ask when hiring a Social Security lawyer is one you need to ask of yourself. Do you feel comfortable with this person handling your case?
To win your case, you’ll need to talk about the good and the bad of your medical conditions openly. Ask yourself if you think you’ll be able to trust that the person will listen and be you can open with them. Applying for disability can be trying - do it with someone you’re going to be comfortable with.
Learn more about Disability Alabama:
- Use Disability Alabama’s disability calculator for an estimate of your benefit. While you do not need any special information to complete the calculation you may want to take a moment to think about your average yearly income and current household income before using the disability calculator;
- We’re located in the historic Browne-Rice House in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (right around the corner from the Social Security office) but we travel across the state for hearings and appeals;
- If you hire us, your disability case is handled by an attorney who has practiced law in state and federal courts across three states; and
- Give us a call or send us a message. Let’s talk about the questions above and more.