Since attorneys fees are set (and have to be approved by) Social Security, the bigger question in a Social Security disability case is the amount of the expenses. Since expenses are different in each case, clients often wonder how much they will owe.
What do I have to pay for? Copying? Faxing? Phone calls? Travel expenses? Administrative fees?!?
When should I hire an attorney to help me on Social Security disability benefits case?
Imagine you are skydiving for the first time. Would you wait until you are in the plane going up for your first jump before asking how to open the parachute?
You may already know that many attorneys will not take a case until the initial application has been denied. But that is not always the case!
You can hire an attorney at any time:
Before you apply. Some attorneys will help you apply and complete all the necessary paperwork and documents, online or offline.
After you apply. After the application is completed and you have a receipt for your application, the attorney helps you gather evidence for Social Security’s initial review of your case.
After the initial denial. This is when most people get an attorney. If you have been denied, the attorney helps you appeal the denial and build up your case for the hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ).
Once the hearing is scheduled / After the hearing has been continued.CAUTION
After the hearing denial.DANGER
Since I would not recommend learning how to skydive on the way up to your first jump, I believe you should hire a lawyer before steps 4 and 5.
Did you represent yourself at your Social Security disability hearing? If you were denied, you may find it is difficult to find a lawyer to represent you.
Sadly, this is a common problem. It is much harder to hire an attorney after you been denied.
It all comes down to TIME! You only have 65 day to appeal a hearing denial (5 days to receive the notice, and 60 days to get the appeal to Social Security). Note: the appeal must be received by the deadline. Postmarked by the deadline is not enough.
65 days is not a lot of time for a lawyer to do the following:
Review the hearing decision.
Review the exhibit file.
Review your treating providers (doctors).
Check for missing evidence.
Obtain missing evidence.
Review the medical evidence.
Prepare the legal argument for the appeal.
Keep in mind that lawyers often work with a person applying for Social Security disability benefits for more than a year to get their case ready for hearing. To take on a post hearing case requires compressing all that work into a month or less.
This is another reason to hire an attorney early on your Social Security disability benefits case. If you are working with an attorney before the hearing, they will probably help you if you need to appeal if you are denied at hearing.