Are you searching for an attorney to help you with your claim through the Social Security Administration (SSA)?
An attorney can be important as the process of claiming benefits is not always smooth.
Applicants who do not have a “cut and dry” case, or who suffer from disabling conditions that are not on the SSA’s special Listing of Impairments, may have trouble proving their case. Even if you think you meet all the criteria for benefits, your application may be denied.
In this situation, it’s a good idea to work with a Social Security disability attorney. An experienced attorney can help you gather evidence and put your application in the best light possible as you appeal your case.
You can’t afford to lose a claim for much-needed benefits. Use these tips to help you find the right attorney for your case.
Searching for Social Security Disability Attorneys
Finding an attorney is just like finding any other professional service provider, and one of the best ways to start is by asking for recommendations. Other people in your community have likely worked with attorneys in similar situations, so your community can be a good resource for you.
Here a few ways to search for an attorney:
Ask people who have been through a similar process
The best people to ask for recommendations are people who have been in a similar situation to the one you are in. These individuals understand what you are facing and will be able to help you find the right advocates and resources.
If you know anyone who has experienced the same legal hurdles you are facing, talk to them about the process and the lawyers they worked with. You may have met individuals with these experiences through rehabilitation centers, hospitals, work training, or other community activities.
Be sure to ask anyone who recommends an attorney the following questions:
- Do you feel that this attorney was a good advocate?
- Did the attorney answer your questions and explain things?
- Was it easy to communicate with this attorney, or did they take a long time to get back to you about messages?
- Did the attorney follow through on all their commitments?
If the attorney was able to help someone else in your community, there’s a good chance they will be able to help you as well.
Ask family members and friends
Some of the people you are close to may have experience with disability attorneys, even if you aren’t aware of it. They may be friends with a successful disability attorney or have a working relationship with someone who could help you.
In addition, friends and family members may be able to put you in contact with others who have been in situations like your own. Your network may be larger than you think!
Ask lawyers you have an existing relationship with
You may not have worked with a disability lawyer before, but you may have a previous relationship with a lawyer of another specialty, such as a real estate or divorce attorney. If you do, it would be a good idea to ask that lawyer for a reference. Most attorneys will be more familiar with other lawyers’ work than the general population, even if they are in different specialties.
Lawyers are generally very careful with referrals. If you have a negative experience, it could impact their own reputation as well as that of the lawyer they recommended.
Check with the local Bar Association
If none of the above methods give you any good leads, try the local Bar Association. Every state and county has its own Bar Association to provide support to the local lawyers and help the general population find legal professionals who can help them.
Since the Bar Association is made up of lawyers who chose to become members, you are unlikely to get a recommendation based on personal experience. Instead, you will probably get the names of several local attorneys who list the area of specialization you need.
Most Bar Association websites enable you to search for lawyers by area of practice. You can also contact the Bar Association by phone or email if you prefer.
Deciding Between Disability Attorneys
After asking around, you will likely end up with the names of several disability attorneys who may be able to help with your case. Now it’s time to meet with these attorneys and choose the one you think will be best for you.
Most lawyers provide a free initial consultation. During these meetings, you should ask questions about the lawyer’s experience with cases like yours. Meanwhile, the lawyer will determine whether they can take on your case.
In addition to relevant experience, here are a few characteristics to look for in a disability attorney:
- The attorney makes you feel comfortable. To effectively help you, your lawyer will need to fully understand your history and the problems you are experiencing. These things may be difficult to talk about, so it is vital that you work with a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable. You should not feel like you are being judged.
- The attorney can devote sufficient attention to your case. You need a lawyer who can give their full attention to your case. While lawyers who represent social security disability applicants tend to be busy, you can still gauge their attention from their communication. If they seem too rushed, or if you feel like you are not being truly heard and understood, you may want to choose a different lawyer.
- The attorney is local. Local attorneys are more familiar with the local court proceedings and state laws. They will know the preferences of any local judges who are involved in your case, which could help them choose the best evidence to present. In addition, they will not charge extra traveling expenses.
Before committing to an attorney, make sure you understand the fee structure. The attorney should provide you with a clear, fair, written fee agreement that spells out how you will be charged. Many lawyers do not charge a fee unless you win your case.
Hiring a Disability Attorney in Everett
Anderson Hunter Law represents social security disability claimants throughout Washington State. With over 100 years of experience serving our local community, our firm has the expertise you need for your case.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced disability attorneys.