The stress associated with an injury or disability that prevents you from doing your job can be overwhelming. Not only do you worry about the performance of your job, but you also must balance those duties with medical visits, treatments, and testing procedures. With the fear of your work performance impacting your income and rising medical bills, you may be left wondering what options are available. Fortunately, you may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability payments. Qualifying for these payments usually requires the assistance of a skilled and experienced attorney who can help increase your chances for approval.
Hiring such an attorney can be a difficult process, but knowing the right questions to ask can help you not only pick the right attorney for you but help them understand the needs of your case. Here are the top five questions you should ask your Social Security Disability lawyer.
How Are Your Fees Collected for Your Services?
An attorney should inform you upfront of the costs that you can expect with your case. Although the fees and costs you could incur may vary depending on your attorney, the Social Security Administration places a limit on the amount that a lawyer can charge. The cap is 25% of the owed benefit up to $7200, whichever amount is lower.
In many cases, you will not pay your attorney directly, but the Social Security Administration will deduct the fees for your attorney from your benefit before paying you. If your case is unsuccessful, however, and you need to go through the appeals process, the fees owed may change.
What Is Your Experience With Social Security Disability Claims?
Law is an expansive and varied profession, and some firms may practice in many different areas. However, when working with a lawyer who is going to assist with your Social Security Disability claim, you will want one who is knowledgeable about the technical requirements that are needed to argue your claim. They should be familiar with the following:
- How to investigate and obtain your medical records
- Social Security laws and regulations
- Litigating in front of an administrative law judge
- How to question, cross-examine, and interview medical and vocational witnesses
How Do You Handle Social Security Disability Claims?
Like most industries, practicing law is a unique experience for each lawyer. While there are some processes that will be consistent across all types of law, each attorney will have their own individual way of practicing their particular area of the law. This is true for Social Security Disability lawyers, and you want to be sure that their approach meets the needs of your case. Your attorney should be familiar with the tools available to them to build an argument for your case, including:
- Medical Source Statements: Utilizing the reports from a medical practitioner can attest to your limitations.
- Expedited Hearings: If you suffer from terminal illness, or are classified as a wounded warrior, you could qualify for an expedited hearing.
- Consultative Examinations: Consulting with medical professionals can speak to your diagnosis, prognosis, and the resulting restrictions.
- Vocational Evaluations: Working with an expert in the same vocation can address the requirements of your job and the impacts of your disability to perform that job.
Do You Assist With Appeals?
Not every SSD case will be approved, and yours may need to go through the appeals process. In fact, between 40% and 70% of cases will be denied. Having a lawyer who can help with your case throughout the entire process can ensure that you don’t need to start over if you need to file an appeal. Your lawyer may be able to find mistakes that were made by the judge, and their familiarity with the case can allow them to quickly adjust.
What Can I Do to Help My Claim?
This may be one of the most important questions because the end result ultimately impacts your life. You should expect to fully be involved and participate in the process. Knowing how you can help your lawyer and what you can do to help increase your chances of winning is important. From assisting with gathering necessary medical documentation to ensuring that you maintain regular medical treatments, your efforts are vital to the process. You need to remain open to suggestions made by your attorney.
Q: What Can You Not Say in a Social Security Disability Interview?
A: Maintaining the truth about your medical condition in the interview is the most important element to remember. You will not want to exaggerate any details. Common statements to avoid include:
- I am unable to find work.
- I am not under medical treatment for my disability.
- I engage in an active lifestyle at home.
- My pain is severe and unbearable.
- I have a history of substance abuse or a criminal past.
Q: How Do I Prepare for a Disability Interview?
A: Preparing for your disability interview should involve gathering the necessary evidence to answer questions truthfully and without exaggeration. You will want to be familiar with:
- The dates you have worked
- Relevant information about doctor visits, including dates, times, addresses, and phone numbers
- The names of any medications that you are taking
- Any information about medical tests that you underwent
Q: How Do I Pass a Social Security Disability Interview?
A: Passing your Social Security Disability interview is a matter of your preparation and listening to the advice and suggestions of your attorney. Being honest in your answers, while speaking only about the facts of your disability, can help you establish credibility with the interviewers. Be sure that you bring the necessary documentation with you, as that can help provide the evidence in your case.
Q: What Questions Should You Ask Your SSD Attorney?
A: There are many questions to ask, but some include:
- How high is your approval rate?
- What out-of-pocket expenses will I have?
- What kind of fee arrangement do you have?
- Does your practice focus on Social Security Disability?
These types of questions help you to determine the skills, abilities, and expectations of your lawyer. That way, you can be prepared to help them with your case and trust that they can represent you.
Sacramento Social Security Disability Lawyers
If you are suffering from an injury or disability that is preventing you from completing the duties of your job, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. At Gade & Parekh, LLP, our team can help by examining the facts of your case and explaining the options that you may have. Contact our offices today to schedule a consultation.