What if I do not meet with my disability attorney before the SSD hearing?
This happens more than you might think. For the most part, Social Security business between claimants and their disability attorneys or representatives is handled via telephone and mail.
That is not to say that all disability claimants lack the opportunity to meet their attorney prior to their disability hearing. But it does occur frequently that a claimant's first meeting with an attorney is at the hearing location.
And, in fact, if you have decided to have a national firm represent your disability claim, the chances of your meeting your attorney prior to your hearing are even more remote. However, even if you choose to hire a local attorney or representative, the truth is that you will most likely not meet them more than once. Reason: the honest truth is that there is no need. After all, Social Security Disability decisions are based upon the objective medical findings in the file, your education, work history, functional limitations (that result from your disabling conditions), and your age.
Not meeting your disability attorney personally does not mean that the attorney will not be familiar with your disability case file. As long as your attorney knows your case and is able to present the merits of your claim at the time of your administrative law judge hearing, you may receive proper representation regardless of whether or not you have met your representative prior to the hearing.
And, actually, many would argue that reviewing your social security file, the records contained within, and the medical record updates is all your attorney needs to do in order to win an approval for you.
It may even be true that as many disability claims are approved for individuals who have only met their representatives for the first time at a hearing as those who have met their representative several times before a hearing has been held.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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