When will a disability lawyer decide to take your case?

On this site, we've discussed a number of aspects of disability claim representation, such as what a disability lawyer typically does on a case, what the fee for representation is, and to what extent having a representative can increase the odds of winning disability benefits.

These are typically the questions that claimants who are considering looking for representation will think to ask. However, most claimants never consider the possibility that they might have difficulty finding representation.

There are disability lawyers and non-attorney representatives who will decline taking a person's case because of one of the following:

1. The claimant has not filed a claim yet.

2. The claimant has not been denied yet.

3. The claimant has been denied by a judge (in these cases, the lawyer may ask to see a copy of the judge's decision letter before deciding whether or not to assist the claimant).

However, disability lawyers who decline to assist someone based on one of these reasons are becoming more of a minority. In recent years, those who represent individuals filing for disability have begun to realize that it can be unwise to arbitrarily avoid someone's case simply because they have not received a notice of denial yet. The fact of the matter is that most applicants do get denied; therefore, lawyers who assist claimants before the denial has occurred are providing a higher level of service.

One clear way of doing this is by lessening the chance that the individual will fail to file their needed appeal paperwork in a timely manner (missed appeal deadlines are fairly common).

Furthermore, lawyers who take on claimants prior to the actual filing of a disability application can help their clients submit paperwork that is better prepared and, in some cases, more likely to be approved at an earlier level, versus the need for a hearing at some point (claimants who do not win their cases early on and are put in the position of having to request a hearing will often find that their case gets stuck in the system for 2-3 years or longer).

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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