5 Warning Signs You Might Have a Lousy Disability Lawyer

5 Warning Signs You Might Have a Lousy Disability Lawyer

When you file for Social Security Disability (SSDI), it is a good idea to begin talking to a disability lawyer. Engaging the expertise of a Social Security Disability Lawyer early in your application process can help avoid some of the big reasons claims get denied later on.

One of the big challenges of finding and retaining a disability lawyer, though, is that there are many lawyers to choose from, and not all of them are as good as they could be.

So, when you hire a lawyer how do you know if you have a good lawyer?

Here are five warning signs that you might have a lousy disability lawyer.

Your Disability Lawyer is Not Available

Disability lawyers usually have a lot of cases they are working on so you may not always speak to your lawyer when you call. However, you should always be able to speak with someone at the lawyer’s office (secretary, an assistant, paralegal).

If they are unable to answer your question, your disability lawyer or someone who can answer your questions should return your call in a reasonable amount of time. If this is not happening, you may want to find a lawyer who will be more accessible to you when you have questions or concerns.

Your Disability Lawyer Makes Impossible Promises

Having a disability lawyer does not guarantee that you will win your case. A disability lawyer should never promise that they will win your case. They need to be upfront and tell you what chance you should have. Most disability lawyers will not take your case unless they feel there is a chance of winning, but again that does not guarantee it. A disability lawyer should also never promise you a dollar amount if you should win your case.

Your Disability Lawyer Doesn’t Follow-Through

If your disability lawyer says they are going to do something and they do not follow through, then this should raise some red flags. Their job is to help you gather the medical evidence and statements that will help make your case strong. When they say they are going to contact your medical professionals or third-parties to collect the evidence, they should be following through. You will not have a case if this is not done promptly.

Your Disability Lawyer Doesn’t Meet With You

Your disability lawyer should call you or meet with you in person a month or two before your hearing to prepare you for the hearing. They should review with you questions you may be asked during the hearing and help you prepare answers that will benefit your case not harm it.

Your Disability Lawyer is Not Respectful

A disability lawyer should be respectful of your situation and not make you feel ashamed or embarrassed about. They should be kind and understanding when you explain your situation and help you understand the process. They should also be respectful of your time.

This goes back to number one above (availability) as well as working with your schedule when scheduling meetings or phone calls.

You Deserve Better and It’s Not Too Late

If your disability lawyer is doing any of these, you should probably get a different lawyer. Filing for SSDI is already confusing and difficult enough without your lawyer making it complicated. When choosing a disability lawyer, asking questions before even meeting with them will help you find the right lawyer for you.  Here is an article that will help find a great disability lawyer.

How to Help Your Disability Lawyer Win Your Social Security Claim & Appeal

How to Help Your Disability Lawyer Win Your Social Security Claim & Appeal

When filing for disability through the Social Security Administration, here is a list of eight things you can do to help your disability lawyer win your claim.

Keep this list handy, in case anything on it changes. And if you are just now reaching out to a disability lawyer, here are some of the things you can expect you will need to provide

Provide Basic Demographic Information

  • Information about you
  • Birthdate, place of birth, and social security number
  • Your current and any former spouse’s name, birthdate, age, social security number, marriage date and dates of divorce or death
  • Dates of birth and names of minor children
  • Account number and routing number of your financial intuition if you want direct deposit of your benefits
  • Information about your medical condition
  • Contact information for someone who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your application, such as a family member
  • Information about your illness, injury, or condition such as detailed information about all doctors, clinics, or hospitals who have treated you (name, address, phone number, patient ID, and dates of treatment)
  • List of prescription medications and the prescribing doctor
  • List of what medical tests you have had done including names and dates and who requested them
  • Information about your work
  • Gross pay for last year and the current year
  • Contact information for current employer (last year as well)
  • A copy of your social security statement
  • Information about all jobs help the past 15 years
  • Information for any other benefits you may be applying for such as Worker’s compensation, disability from the military, etc.

Get Your Documentation In Order

  • Proof of birth such as a birth certificate
  • Proof of US citizenship or lawful alien status
  • US military discharge papers (if before 1968)
  • W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns
  • Medical evidence
  • Proof of any temporary or permanent worker’s compensation type benefits you receive

Sign Releases of Information

Sign a medical privacy release allowing your attorney to request any medical information you did not provide or any information your attorney needs to help your case. Your disability lawyer will also use this to request supportive statements from your doctors.

Prepare For Your Hearing With Your Disability Lawyer

Your lawyer will go over questions that could be asked of you during your hearing. Answer these as truthfully as possible even if you feel embarrassed. Your disability lawyer is not there to judge you; just to get as much information to help you win your case as possible.

Expect to be able to answer:

Questions related to your mood.

“How are you feeling?”
“Are you anxious?”
“Are you depressed?”
“Do your medications make you feel different?”
“Are there things you do not enjoy anymore?”
“How do you get along with people?”

Questions about treatment:

“Do you see a doctor for your disabilities?”
“How long have you been injured or sick?”
“Have you tried any treatment?”
“Do you take medications?”
“Do your medications have any side-effects?”
“Do you take any medication?”
“Do you take the prescribed dosage of all medications?”
“Do you have health insurance?”

Questions about employability:

“How did you know you were too sick to work?”
“When did you become unable to work?”
“Are you able to work now?”

Lifestyle Questions:

“Do you use alcohol or other recreational drugs?”
“Do you abuse any substances?”
“Are you seeking substance abuse help or assistance?”
“Have you been incarcerated?”
“What were you incarcerated for?”
“Do you take care of yourself?”
“Can you cook, clean, drive, and shop on your own?”
“Are there things you cannot do that you used to enjoy?”
“What is your average day?”
“Can you lift (common objects)?”
“How far can you walk?”
“Do you use stairs at home, in public?”
“Can you read?”
“Can you write?”
“What is your education?”
“What are your symptoms?”

Reach Out to Your Medical Providers

Ask your current physician to support your disability case and have him/her fill out a detailed statement or an RFC (residual functional capacity) form.

Pay Attention to Timelines

Respond as soon as possible to letters and notices and attend any medical exams scheduled by disability determination services (DDS).

Stay in Contact With Us

Check the status of your disability case on a regular basis.  Call into the office, let us know you are still around 🙂

Have Patience, Even When It Is Challenging

Always be courteous, patient, and kind to all the people working on your case including your local social security rep, DDS, and your disability lawyer – if possible.

Here’s another article you might find helpful after having read this one!

 How to win Your SSI Appeal Step-by-Step

Disability Hearing: Tips From a Disability Lawyer

Disability Hearing Tips From a Disability Lawyer

Are you ready for your disability hearing? You are going to be side by side with your attorney, in front of an administrative law judge. Experts will be commenting on your desire and ability to work. And, you will have many things on your mind.

What if they think I am faking my injury?
How will they make a decision?
When will I be able to move past this appeal!?
Is this Social Security nightmare almost over?

This period before your hearing is an uncomfortable time for most people. You are not alone in wondering how everything is going to proceed when you finally get your day in front of the ALJ. Here are a couple of tips to help you get yourself in a mindset that will reduce, though not likely eliminate, your anxiety.

Review Your Challenges & Barriers

At this point, you are bar-none the expert on knowing what your challenges are. How they impact you on a daily basis, and how you are unable to establish and maintain employment because of them. However, you should not be complacent and feel that you can “wing it” when asked.

Even before meeting with your disability attorney for your pre-hearing discussion, you should go over all the issues at least one more time by yourself. Take an hour or so and write down, exactly what challenges you face every day.

Start your review with thinking about how you get up in the morning, make breakfast, your daily routine, evening routine, leisure, chores, nightly routine, and sleep/rest.

This tip sounds simple, almost to the point of unnecessary, but often, we get so busy doing things that we forget the challenges we have to overcome to accomplish them. Taking a couple of minutes to review your day, and write things down, often results in a better personal understanding of your challenges, and puts you in a better frame of mind to recall them for others.

If you have been keeping a disability journal – you have 90% of this covered already.  You just have to simply review it.

Review Your Disability Claim

Now that you have considered your daily barriers, you should examine your disability claim. Make sure to look at things like, when you filed your disability claim. Who helped you file your disability claim? Also, what has the experience been like since you filed your claim?

Try to get a basic timeline put together of your current disability application status. Include application dates, appeals, doctors’ appointments, and even disability lawyer visits if that applies. All of these items are no-doubt already facts of the case, and readily available for both your disability lawyer and the judge, but you should strive to have an accurate and easily recallable understanding of how your disability claim has ended up at the hearing level too.

At worst, going through this exercise will be a bit of time out of your day. However, it might help you to be more effective in telling your story in context during the upcoming hearing, or in conversation with your disability lawyer before the hearing.

Show Up Early to Your Disability Hearing

If there was/is ever a time to be early for something this is it. It is very possible, your disability lawyer set up a prehearing conference with you, just to avoid this. However, regardless of why you should plan to be early, make it happen.

Plan for traffic to be the worst traffic in history. Plan for your vehicle to break down in your driveway. Realize that the bus will miss your stop. Understand that your alarm will break in the middle of the night while you are fast asleep. In the worst of all possible scenarios, how will you make it to your hearing?

Talk to Your Disability Lawyer

This last tip should be obvious, assuming you have a good disability lawyer. However, it is not uncommon to hear stories about claimants who meet their disability lawyer for the first time just prior to their hearing.

If you have a disability lawyer that has given you very little information or even ideas on how to prepare for your hearing, now is the time to be proactive. It may already be very difficult to change horses so far downstream, but that does not mean you have to be completely passive in regards to your disability claim.

Ask your disability lawyer, or their assistant, how you can best prepare. Ask them what info you should bring, whether you are going to be meeting with them, and what to expect. A great disability lawyer will not throw you to the wolves, they will prepare you for your hearing, and will help you so that you do not get blindsided during it.

If you are only now retaining a disability lawyer, keep in mind how well they communicate. We have talked about this before, and the particular threat of going to a disability hearing unprepared is a poignant example of why communication and working with a great disability lawyer matters.

Talk To A Lilac City Law Disability Lawyer Today!
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