For many claimants, making the decision to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is not always easy. After all, the Social Security Program’s definition of a disability is “any condition that is severe enough to prevent you from working for 12 months or more.” So, by the time potential clients contact us, they have been facing difficult decisions related to how and if they can continue working in the future.
Along with those decisions, they have to consider how they will pay for their normal living expenses and how likely they are to be successful if filing for disability. Given that the Social Security disability process can take two or three years from beginning to end, prospective clients often want to know if they should engage a disability lawyer to help them work through this process.
We offer representation for individuals seeking Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. We recommend our clients work with a qualified lawyer for several reasons:
- A disability lawyer acts as your gatekeeper. We offer free evaluations to interested parties. During the course of these evaluations, we help people identify whether their claim has a reasonable basis for moving forward. When you consider that there are hundreds of thousands of unsuccessful disability claims filed annually, it’s good to know early on if you don’t have a strong case. A good disability lawyer will help you evaluate that on the front end so you can make better decisions going forward.
- A disability lawyer saves you time (and frustration). Dealing with the Social Security Administration can be a frustrating process for many claimants. From filing your claim, to compiling evidence, to submitting information and following up on your claim, it is important to stay on top of your claim. When you work with a disability lawyer, you will also work with their case management team whose job is to keep your claim organized and on track. They will let you know what they need from you and when they need it. They will also follow up with the Social Security Administration to make sure there aren’t mistakes or delays with your claim.
- A disability lawyer knows how to categorize your past work. Your disability lawyer helps the Social Security Administration really understand your past work. This is important because oftentimes, claimants may under-sell what they’ve done in the past. Sometimes, claimants will only talk about the physical demands of their job. But, it’s also important to understand the mental requirements for your past work. When the Social Security Administration is evaluating why or if you can’t work in the future, you want them to have the best possible picture of what you can and can’t do, and why.
- A disability lawyer’s fees are capped and paid on a contingency basis. Unlike other lawyers, you don’t pay a disability lawyer to represent you by the hour. Instead, he or she is paid 25% of any past due benefits (sometimes called back pay), that you are awarded if your claim is successful. In addition, that 25% is capped so your lawyer cannot be paid more than $6,000 for your claim. There are times when a claim is successful, but the client doesn’t receive any past due benefits. In that case, your disability lawyer doesn’t receive any pay for the work they’ve done, even if it’s taken years to complete. If a claim is unsuccessful, your lawyer won’t be paid anything either. This fee structure is a good thing for clients because people who are out of work and applying for disability can’t afford to pay up front.
No matter what kind of medical condition is preventing you from working, we advise everyone to work with a disability claims expert. With offices in Winston-Salem, Mount Airy and Lexington, our disability lawyers can represent you. We will give you honest feedback on your claim so you don’t waste time. Since most disability lawyers provide free case evaluations, we strongly advise potential claimants to seek an expert opinion before making the decision to pursue their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim alone.