7 Prudent Questions to Ask Your Disability Attorney Before Hiring Them

Did you know that it’s more likely that you’ll be denied Social Security Disability benefits than have your application approved? Only about 36% of claims for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are approved, and many of those are only approved after an appeal or at a hearing. Not only are your approval chances slim, but the process is also quite lengthy. So how do you improve your chances? Hire a disability attorney.

Before you select one, however, be sure you know what to ask your disability attorney. Here are some questions you should ask when deciding who to hire.

1. Do You Have Experience With SSDI Cases?

As evidenced by the low approval rate, SSDI claims require a great deal of documentation and are often very complex. Any attorney you hire should have specialized knowledge of these cases.

Some of the things that are necessary for an SSDI claim include an analysis of your medical records, knowledge of the laws specific to Social Security, experience in front of an administrative law judge, and cross-examining witnesses.

Ask any potential attorneys if they have experience, how many hearings they have participated in, and how well they understand the process and presenting in front of administrative law judges.

2. How Frequently Do You Meet With Your Clients?

Some clients don’t really care to have many face-to-face meetings while others do. Think about what you prefer. Do you want an attorney who will meet with you often or would you prefer to communicate more via phone or email?

Choosing an attorney who will be in line with your needs as a client is important, otherwise, the process could be very frustrating.

If you choose a large firm with a high volume of clients, you might not actually meet your attorney until right before you go into a hearing. However, they may have more resources to help win your case than a smaller firm.  Ask yourself if you’re ok with that, and if not, seek out an attorney who has the ability to meet your needs.

3. Who Will Handle My Hearing?

Another tactic that large firms often use is to have clients meet with experienced, senior attorneys at the office but then send an inexperienced attorney or even a non-attorney representative to represent you at the hearing.

While it is possible that attorneys may have emergencies or other things come up that might require them to ask someone to attend the hearing in their place, this should be the exception rather than the rule.

Ask your attorney who will represent you at a hearing and how often they send substitutes to hearings. Also ask if they send attorneys or a “hearing rep.”

4. How Does Your Fee Structure Work?

There are limits on how much an attorney can charge for a Social Security case. The Social Security Administration limits fees to 25% of the settlement amount, up to a maximum of $6,000.

Typically, this payment comes directly from the Social Security Administration once your claim is successful. They will deduct the attorney fees from your settlement benefits and pay the attorney directly.

You may have to pay for other legal costs associated with your claim, though. If you need copies of medical records, evaluations by medical experts, or other preparation for your case that costs money, you will typically need to pay those fees. Some attorneys charge for them throughout the case while others may not charge until they win your case.

These are questions you should ask any prospective attorney and they should also be spelled out in any agreement you sign with the attorney.

5. Do You Handle Appeals?

Even SSDI cases that have an attorney handling them are denied. If this happens and you want to appeal, you’ll need to know if your attorney handles appeals. If they do not, it may be difficult to find a new attorney to take on your appeal.

An experienced attorney will help you decide what to do upon a denial. They can help you figure out of an appeal is your best approach or whether it makes more sense to refile for benefits.

Either way, many attorneys are reluctant to take on cases if they did not represent you at the initial hearing, so finding an attorney who will handle the entire process is the most beneficial to you.

6. What Is Your Approach to SSDI Cases?

Every case is different, with different medical issues, and as such, the strategy for each case should vary. SSDI cases are not one-size-fits-all. Ask your prospective attorney about their approach, how it varies depending on the case and the medical issue, and whether they favor things like on-the-record requests, consultative examinations, or expedited hearings.

An experienced attorney will know what to use in order to increase your chances of success.

7. How Do You Communicate?

This question goes along with learning about how often your attorney meets with clients. If they prefer to meet, make sure that works for you and your preferences. If an email or phone conversation is more their style, you need to be ok with that as well.

Make sure you understand how available they will be to you (whether that’s in person, via phone, or email) and what their general turn-around time is for messages or emails.

Ask Your Disability Attorney These Questions to Hire Someone Right For You

Ask your disability attorney these questions before you agree to work with them and this will likely save you many headaches down the road. As these cases could take a year or more, you will need to have an attorney you are confident in, as you will be working together for an extended amount of time.

Make sure you find an attorney who is right for your case to increase your chances of approval.

Our firm has experience with these cases and can represent you through every step of the process. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation. You can get real-time assistance with your case 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Related Posts

no fault state

Is Arizona a No-Fault State?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may learn new aspects of the law that you never had to know before. This includes complex legal terms such as “at fault state” and “no-fault state”. When it comes to an accident, the ability to prove fault is of paramount importance. If you can demonstrate […]

motorcycle accident

9 Questions to Ask a Potential Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

According to the most recent data from the Insurance Information Institute (III), around 83,000 motorcycle injuries occur every year. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, then it’s important to secure strong legal counsel. The next steps you take can determine the outcome of your claim. You want to make sure you’re receiving the […]

Phoenix car accident attorney

Top Signs You Need to Hire a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney

More than 41,000 people were injured in car crashes in Arizona in 2020. If you were injured in a car accident, you may be wondering whether you need to hire an attorney. Keep reading for the top signs you need a Phoenix car accident attorney on your side to win your case.  Disputed Liability If […]

1 Person Injured in Auto Accident on Interstate 280 Southbound [Daly City, CA]

Common Claim Mistakes to Avoid with a Phoenix Auto Accident Lawyer

Accidents happen. When they do, you need more than your auto insurance carrier to protect your rights. You need a Phoenix auto accident lawyer with experience. On July 27, 2021, the state of Arizona released a report that there were 98,778 motor vehicle crashes in the year 2020. Of these crashes, 28,610 had injuries, and 970 […]

Police Report Request Form

Police Report Request

"*" indicates required fields

Sweet Lawyers has my permission to help provide a free police report.*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Help Is Here

We have answers. Tell us about your situation.

Call (800) 674-7854 or request a callback below

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.