A Lawyer's Help is Often Needed to Obtain Disability Benefits
I'm often asked by disabled workers whether they need a lawyer's help to apply for SSD benefits. This is a question that may be answered differently by different lawyers.
I'm David Kapor, a Social Security Disability lawyer in Cincinnati, Ohio. While it is not necessary to have an attorney in order to file an initial application for Social Security disability benefits, I advise my clients to hire a lawyer (either myself or another attorney) up front.
There is always the possibility that a claim will be granted on initial application, in which case a lawyer's help should cost you nothing. Most attorneys undertake Social Security Disability claims on a contingency basis of 25 percent of any retroactive benefits with a cap of $5,300, whichever is less. In most cases, you would also be paid retroactive benefits if your initial application was denied and you had to go through a lengthy appeals process.
Early involvement by an attorney can ensure that you do not do anything in your initial application that could damage your case. If your application is denied (and unfortunately, most initial applications are) a lawyer can assist in processing and submitting the correct appeals and to ensure that it is timely filed. There are some statistics that show having an attorney increases the likelihood of a successful claim.
How to Choose an Attorney?
The stakes are high, so your choice of a lawyer should be done carefully. If you already have an attorney with whom you have an established relationship, you should ask him or her whom they would recommend.
Membership in the National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives (NOSSCR) is an excellent indicator that the attorney's practice is focused on disability claims. Attorney members of NOSSCR receive the latest updates on the Social Security Regulations and share practice tips for the successful resolution of claims.
In interviewing a lawyer to represent you in your claim, you may want to ask the following questions:
- How do you charge for your services?
- Are you a member of NOSSCR?
- How long have you practiced in this area?
- On the average, what percentage of your practice is limited to Social Security claims?
- How often do you attend Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars specifically directed to Social Security claims?
There are other resources available for an attorney referral such as your local Bar Association. However, NOSSCR also maintains a referral list of attorneys who are members that hold themselves out as experienced practitioners. You can contact NOSSCR for a referral by calling 1-202-216-0030 or visiting their Web site at www.NOSSCR.org.
Free Attorney Consultation: To discuss your disability case with me, lawyer David Kapor, call 513-878-1867 or fill out the contact form on this Web site. I have offices in Cincinnati, Fairfield, College Hill, Blue Ash and Tri-County.