What Are Disability Attorneys?
Disability attorneys are legal professionals who specialize in a single field of law. These attorneys generally handle claims for Social Security benefits for disabled individuals. The Social Security Administration denies more than half of all claims in the initial application, but many more are approved following an appeal. Although it is possible to represent oneself, many people choose to hire an attorney for help during this process. If you are considering this option, familiarize yourself with the process so you know what to expect.
Education and Experience
Like any practicing legal professional, a disability attorney must complete the necessary education requirements. This includes obtaining a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctorate. The attorney must also pass the bar exam in the state where he or she will work.
There are no additional educational requirements to specialize in disability, but many will have taken coursework in this field. Experience is critical to the success of the attorney you hire. He or she will have worked with the local Social Security office, and be familiar with the application and appeals process.
Ideally, the lawyer will be familiar with the necessary laws and statues, as well as understanding of the specific information that can improve your application.
How an Attorney Can Help You
Although you can file the initial application on your own, you may choose to work with an attorney or a non-attorney advocate in the next phases. Should you need to appeal your case, you may need an attorney later. At the federal level, an attorney is mandatory. The cost will be the same, so it makes sense to hire a professional from the beginning to give your case an advantage.
An attorney will help build your case by gathering medical information, talking with appropriate witnesses, and representing you before the judge at hearings. He or she can help you prepare for the hearing and ensure that details have not been overlooked. For someone who is significantly disabled, this can relieve quite a burden.
Cost for Hiring a Disability Attorney
A disability attorney works on a contingency basis. This means that he or she will not be paid up front, but rather when the claim is approved. Federal regulations limit this amount to 25 percent of a claimant’s past benefits. This amount will come out of your payments directly from the Social Security Administration. Some attorneys charge additional fees to cover the costs associated with medical records and other paperwork, which is why you should ask about these expenses before hiring someone.
Hiring a disability attorney is usually a smart choice. Most disability attorneys offer a free assessment of your case that can help you evaluate what to expect during the application and subsequent appeals. Visit Disability Lawyer for more information.