Erisa Lawyer banner

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Finding the right disability attorney is critical

Wow! It has happened again. I met with a potential client who has a very winnable Social Security Disability Claim. So why didn’t she win? Well one of the reasons could be that the Social Security Disability attorney she hired decided 3 weeks before the claimant’s disability hearing not to represent the claimant any longer. So the claimant ended up at the Social Security Disability hearing by herself, with no representation.

Why is this so terrible? Because she had hired another disability attorney and this attorney dropped the claimant’s claim three weeks before the Social Security Disability hearing. The reason the attorney gave this poor woman for dropping her claim? Because she had attempted to return to work doing a different job. This should have been brought to the Administrative Law Judge’s attention and the attorney should have lauded this woman’s attempt to return to some other type of work. This claimant had been off of work for 18 months because of her disabilities, and attempted to return to work doing a different type of job. Why did she do this? Because the Social Security Administration had, on two separate denials, concluded based on their review of the medical records, this claimant should be able to return to work doing something other than her former profession. The claimant attempted it and because of her disabilities she could not do the work at a different type of job.

Not only did this other attorney drop the claim, she did not even bother to tell the claimant that she could ask for a postponement while she found new counsel. So this woman, with clear disabilities, and supporting medical records ended up in front of the one of the most difficult judges in the hearing office. One whose approval rate is far below the national average and who spent less than five minutes with the claimant before telling her he had heard enough and ultimately denied her claim.

Unfortunately, this poor woman found us after she received her denial and because of this our options are very limited. So, I urge everyone out there, when you are hiring a disability attorney, do not be afraid to question them regarding the way they handle their clients.

Remember, as long as you yourself are doing everything you can to win your Social Security Disability claim, you have an absolute right to expect that your attorney is going to be there with you through the hearing as well.

Your doctor knows more than you think

I have to admit – having worked for Mr. Davis for the last two years I have learned quite a bit about the medical field, and loads more about the Social Security disability process. I certainly know I haven’t heard it all yet (Kimberly Cole in our office probably has), but not too much surprises me at this point… except – what can end up in a client’s medical records. People don’t realize that a lot of the off-hand remarks they make to a doctor can often end up as part of their permanent record and in some instances could be detrimental to their claim. Continue reading

To treat or not to treat

One of the toughest questions I have to answer frequently from our clients is “How am I supposed to get medical treatment when I have no insurance, no income, and can’t even pay my bills?” This can be equally frustrating, more so for the client, obviously, but also for us as your representative, because the most crucial support for a Social Security claim is consistent medical treatment. We can receive a glowing letter from a treating physician, but if a person doesn’t have the medical treatment to back it up, he or she can lose a lot of credibility with a judge. Continue reading

Contacting your Congressperson to try to speed up your disability claim

Unfortunately, the process of getting disability benefits from Social Security can take a very long time. A question we are often asked is “Why are things taking so long? Why did I hire a disability lawyer in the first place?” An attorney is not able to pressure Social Security to expedite a claim. What an attorney can do is make sure that Social Security has everything they need to make a decision in a claim.

One option that is open to you is contacting your members of Congress. If you feel that your claim has taken too long and you are in dire need, try writing to them. While your Congressperson cannot overstep the SSA in stipulating an approval on your claim, a Congressperson has the authority to inquire your status from Social Security, which will place a flag on your file at the SSA office. While there is no guarantee this will expedite your claim, it’s worth a try. Be aware, though, it is not guaranteed that Social Security will speed up your claim, but they will be aware you have asked for a review by your representative.