Sufferers of disabilities often feel overwhelmed when navigating medical examinations, court hearings, and other processes required when applying for Social Security disability benefits. Hence, many individuals seek out legal representation to ensure a smooth process and a higher chance of a positive outcome. Unfortunately, not all SSDI attorneys are the same and clients often find themselves confused or dissatisfied with the legal process.
In order to find an SSDI attorney who has ample experience representing clients in similar positions, and who offers excellent legal services, there are a few important questions that will help prospective clients assess the attorney during an initial case evaluation. At Second Chance Lawyer, Merryl Jones prides herself on her proven track record of winning Social Security benefits for countless disabled individuals across Texas. Below we have listed the top five questions that can be used to gauge the competence of an SSDI attorney.
5 Questions to Ask an SSDI Attorney
1. How many Social Security disability cases have you successfully resolved?
Requesting the details of your attorney’s experience is an excellent way to assess their qualification as an SSDI lawyer. Many attorneys offer a variety of legal services with minimal experience in certain areas. At Second Chance Lawyer, Merryl Jones has advocated for thousands of claimants, and winning Social Security benefits in over 98% of the cases she has handled.
SSDI attorneys with a high level of experience know how to navigate the court system, appeal to the judges in their jurisdiction, and accurately convey the client’s limitations as a sufferer of physical or mental health issues. Experienced attorneys will also be able to advise on various complications that may arise during the application process such as disability overpayment or reconsideration requests.
2. What information will I be responsible for providing?
One of the most important elements of a successful Social Security disability case is proof of the client’s limitations. Your attorney should be able to answer these types of specific questions and go over proof of your disability using all of the evidence you will be required to gather prior to your hearing.
SSDI attorneys are responsible for conveying up to five key items that will need to be proven in order for the client to access disability benefits. First, you will need to prove that you are not earning or being provided with any more than the maximum income which makes disabled individuals eligible for these benefits. Second, you will be expected to provide proof of the medical impairment, which prevents you from earning substantial income. Additionally, clients are responsible for outlining and proving their limitations, and how they relate to their disability. This is further proven by providing evidence that the described limitations have directly affected your performance in a recent professional position. Finally, SSDI attorneys should relate the expectation for the client to prove that they lack work opportunities in the current economy.
Depending on the region you live in, these items can be proven using a variety of different methods and documentation. It is therefore the responsibility of the attorney to provide accurate information so that claimants are prepared for their disability hearing.
3. Who would be my primary point of contact throughout the case?
Reliable attorneys should exhibit organization and efficiency by assigning specific points of contact to each of their clients. If your attorney is not able to provide you with the names of specific members of staff who will be handling your case, this should be considered a major red flag. At Second Chance Lawyer, all clients can expect to meet with Merryl Jones personally, and use her as their primary point of contact throughout the entire case. Merryl is supported by two legal assistants named Amanda and Anita, who can also be reached in the event that the client has an urgent question or concern and are not able to reach Merryl at that time. Merryl maintains an open dialogue so that her legal assistants are well informed of the status of each of her cases, and so that her clients have additional individualized legal support.
4. How long should I expect the process to take?
Embarking on a Social Security disability case is a big step, and clients often wonder how long they should expect it to take before their case is resolved. An experienced SSDI attorney will be able to give you a time estimate based on past cases and local processing times. From the moment an initial application is submitted, clients can expect the process to take up to nine months before the case is resolved. However, if an application is denied during a disability hearing or prior to this stage, a second submission may take up to twice as long to be processed.
The best way to avoid extensive wait times is by working with an experienced attorney who will thoroughly prepare you for your hearing. With the help of a top-rated SSDI attorney like Merryl Jones, clients have a much higher chance of initial application approval.
5. What type of client-attorney relationship should I expect?
One of the biggest variants throughout law offices is the style of communication between clients and attorneys. At Second Chance Lawyer, our clients have the support of our entire legal team. We understand how stressful living with a disability can be, which is why we are dedicated to providing our clients with a high level of compassion and respect. Throughout the entire legal process, our staff is here to answer any questions you may have, provide a comfortable atmosphere, and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Our objective is to establish an open line of communication and remove the burden from clients throughout all legal proceedings. Additionally, Merryl Jones works on a 100% contingency basis, meaning clients are not expected to pay any legal fees until they receive their benefits.
If you are suffering from a disability that impairs your ability to work, Second Chance Lawyer is here to help. Schedule a free case evaluation today by filling out our online form or calling one of our Texas offices.