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Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Requirements for Disability

Applications for disability

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Winning Disability Benefits

Common Mistakes after a Denial

Mental Disability Benefits

Denials for Disability

Appeals for denied claims

Disability Benefits from SSA

SSI Benefits

Child Disability Benefits

Qualifications and How to Qualify

Working and Disability

Disability Awards and Notices

Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys

Social Security List of Conditions

What Social Security considers disabling

Medical Evidence and Disability

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

SSD SSI Definitions

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Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

This section of the site is organized by topic. However, those pages that address the most commonly asked questions about the use of a disability attorney or non-attorney representative have been placed at the top.

Top pages

Using a Lawyer for an SSDI Disability Case
Here's one example of what I mean: "Ask the lawyer what his win rate is". I see this question all the time. But, honestly, no lawyer who wants your business is going to give you any answer that suggests anything other than a very high win rate, or a statement that indicates he or she wins most of his cases. So, in essence, this question is quite useless.

How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
All Social Security representatives, including disability attorneys and non-attorney disability representatives, are entitled to receive 25 percent of a claimant's back payment for a case that they win.

What does a Social Security Disability Lawyer or Representative do for your claim?
You are allowed to have a representative assist you on your disability claim at any point. On this page, we'll notate what disability lawyers and non-attorney representatives do at various stages.

How will an attorney help me win disability benefits?
How will a Social Security Representative or lawyer help you win Social Security Disability or SSI benefits? The simplest answer is by preparing a case and argument that is supported by objective medical evidence and which justifies either a listing level approval or a medical vocational awarding of benefits.

Can a disability attorney speed up my disability hearing case?
If you have representation on your social security disability or SSI disability claim, your disability attorney can attempt to speed up the scheduling of your hearing before an administrative law judge, or even eliminating the need for a hearing altogether. Generally, this would only be possible in one of several ways.

Functions performed by disability representatives and attorneys

Should I have to go to court or get a Lawyer to get approved for Social Security disability or SSI?
In actuality, an attorney is rarely needed at the disability application or reconsideration appeal levels. At the hearing, however, it is really just foolish to go unrepresented.

Disability Attorneys- Will they do your forms for you?
Some Social Security disability attorneys and non-attorney representatives help their clients file their initial claim. However, most attorneys and non-attorney representatives do not get involved with Social Security disability claims until the appeal process.

Will a Disability attorney try to Help You get Your Medical Records for your SSD or SSI claim?
Some representatives require their clients to pay the cost of obtaining the records up front, and this can be hard for disability applicants, who typically have an income that has already been significantly reduced, if not eliminated altogether, due to their medical condition.

How Long Does Your Attorney Have To File Your Social Security Disability Appeal?
If your disability claim has been denied, your attorney can file your appeal for you. You have sixty days from the date that is on the denial notice to appeal the denial. Additionally, Social Security does allow five days for mailing of notices etc.

Disability Lawyer Success Rate - Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
There are reasons why disability lawyers and Social Security representatives have a higher approval rate than disability applicants at their disability hearing.

Disability attorneys, Disability Representatives, and Fees

What Expenses Will A Social Security Attorney Charge In Addition To The Fee?
Incidental expenses could include but are not limited to medical records, vocational experts, phone calls, travel, copying, etc.

Do Social Security Disability and SSI Lawyers Require A Retainer? (Fees and costs)
Disability attorneys or representatives receive one fourth of any back payment of benefits that are due the disability beneficiary or their dependents (spouse or children) up to the maximum fee amount allowable.

Does Social Security pay the Disability Attorney fee?
First, a direct answer to the question: if you are represented and your case is won, in all likelihood, Social Security will deduct whatever fee is owed to your representative out of the back pay amount that you are owed.

How does a Social Security attorney get paid?
Attorneys and non-attorney representatives with fee withholding are paid by Social Security from the disabled individual’s back pay amount.

What is the maximum fee a Social Security disability attorney can charge?
How is the fee for representation determined? The fee that is charged by a disability representative is based on the amount of back pay that is won by a claimant.

Obtaining a Disability Representative or Attorney

Getting a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative for your case
Some lawyers handle a wide variety of cases, ranging from medical malpractice to worker's compensation to long term disability insurance claims. You do not want someone like this handling your claim. Lawyers who divide their practices between so many different areas of law seldom ever become true experts in the area of social security law.

When will a disability lawyer decide to take your case?
Disability lawyers who decline to assist someone based on one of these reasons are becoming more of a minority.

Should you talk to an Attorney before you file a Disability Claim with Social Security?
"Should you think of getting a lawyer before you have been denied for disability, or before you have even filed a disability claim?". The answer for many people will be: "No, wait until your claim has been denied at least once before getting a lawyer".

Should you hire a Non-Attorney Disability Representative instead of a Lawyer?
From the standpoint of the social security administration it does not matter if one's disability representative is a disability attorney or a non-attorney.

Disability Lawyers and Hearings

Disability Lawyers, Medical Records, and Social Security Hearings
Disability lawyers and non-attorney disability representatives do a variety of tasks when they handle a claim, and this includes doing the following to prepare a presentation of the case to a federal judge:

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Social Security Disability Hearing?
Although you are not required to have any sort of legal representation at a disability hearing, statistics show that those who have an attorney are far more likely to be approved for benefits than those who choose to represent themselves.

What if I go to a Social Security hearing without an Attorney or a Disability Representative?
Claimants who appear at hearings unrepresented and win their benefits will most likely do so because the medical evidence supporting their case is fairly obvious.

Choosing a lawyer or representative

Should you ask a Disability Lawyer About Their Win Rate and How Many Cases They get Approved?
If you are speaking with a possible representative to handle your social security disability or SSI disability claim, should you ask about their win rate? You can, but the answer would, most likely be meaningless.

How Do You Switch Your Disability Lawyer?
If you determine that you are going to switch disability lawyers or representatives, you should send a letter to both Social Security and your current disability lawyer stating that you no longer wish for them to represent your disability claim. Also, you should request that your current disability lawyer send a letter of withdrawal from your claim to Social Security.

How Do You Fire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?
You can fire your disability lawyer at any time if you feel your claim is not receiving the attention it deserves, and in some cases this is absolutely the best option.

Should you get a Disability Lawyer before you File for Disability?
The question becomes, should you get a disability lawyer before you even file for disability, or before you receive an answer on your application for disability? And the answer, as we pointed out, is often no. However, there are cases in which early representation is a good option.

Should you get Help from a Disability Attorney before the Claim has been Denied?
Here is a short list of considerations for those who are considering getting representation before their case is denied.

Is there a way to check the Credentials of a Disability Lawyer?
You can inquire as to whether or not a disability lawyer is board-certified; however, this is probably a great waste of time.

Additional pages on several of the topics previously addressed

Can a Lawyer Speed Up My Disability Case?
Sometimes, lawyers will request that the administrative law judge look at your disability file to see if they can make a favorable decision with the records in the file rather than having to wait for a hearing.

Social Security Disability Lawyers - Fees and Representation Information
Social Security currently limits a disability lawyer’s fee to $6000 or twenty five percent of any past due benefits, whichever is less

What Can A Disability Lawyer Charge For Their Services - Fees and Expenses?
n addition to the normal fee agreement amount, lawyers and representatives are allowed to charge their clients incidental fees. Incidental fees might include the cost of copies, telephone calls, travel, medical records, or vocational experts.

Why do I need an attorney for Social Security disability?
There are a number of good disability attorneys and non-attorney claimant's representatives who strongly endeavor to win claims that are being processed at the reconsideration appeal level. And, for this reason, early representation can make a valuable difference.

Social Security Disability Lawyers and 25% Back Pay
If an individual has no back pay or their back pay is less than the maximum amount, the attorney or representative can only collect 25% of whatever back pay is available to the disabled individual and their dependents.

The Cost and Expenses of a Disability Attorney or a Disability Representative
The second type of cost that may be owed to a representative by a claimant whose case has been won is incidental expenses. Usually, this includes the cost of obtaining medical records and statements from the claimant's treating physicians, both of which are types of evidence that are used to support the case.

Social Security Disability Attorney Qualifications and Expenses
A disability attorney is usually an individual who has chosen to specialize in handling social security cases; however, some disability attorneys are not true specialists and only handle the occasional social security case, incorporating such cases into their mix of work which might include personal injury, traffic, and malpractice cases.

Do you need a Lawyer at the Administrative Law Judge Disability Hearing?
Most disability applicants will need a lawyer at the ALJ disability hearing if they wish to significantly increase their potential to win their disability case.

Can I Do My Social Security Appeal Without Using A Lawyer?
Social Security does not require that a disability claimant use a lawyer for their appeal. In fact, Social Security disability representatives do not have to be lawyers.

The Social Security Disability Representation Fee and What a Lawyer is Paid
Social Security has raised the maximum allowable fee over the past 10 years from $4,000 to $6000. However, if you win, you do not necessarily pay the maximum.

If You Are Represented For Social Security Disability or SSI, When Do You Pay The Fee?
If you are not approved, they are not entitled to a fee for their representation. But while they may not be entitled to a representation fee if you have no back payment or are denied, they still may be entitled to collect payment for incidental expenses.

What Will a Disability Lawyer Do to Win a Social Security Case?
A lawyer who represents a claim from the outset will know what medical records are needed to support your claim, and may have more pull when it comes to getting these records back from physicians in a timely manner.

Does Being Represented On A Disability Claim Win The Case Faster?
Being represented does not necessarily win the case faster at any level of the Social Security disability process. However, representation may win an applicant disability benefits sooner.

If I File For Disability And Want An Attorney To Represent Me, Does Social Security Cover My Legal Fees?
If your representative does not have fee withholding, you are still obligated to pay their fee out of your disability back payment.

Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in North Carolina
Going to a disability hearing alone presupposes that a claimant has an indepth understanding of Social Security administrative law and procedure. And this is almost never the case.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria