You may be looking for an attorney in Atlanta to help with your disability claim and wonder: Do I really need one? Is it better to avoid the cost of legal representation?
You could file your Social Security disability claim without a lawyer. However, it can be a difficult and daunting process. And the chances of being initially denied are high.
According to the Disability Benefits Center, “Each year the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies approximately 60 to 70 percent of the initial disability claims that it receives each year.”
The Disability Benefits Center, a legal resource provided by the Better Business Bureau, cites various reasons claims are denied, including:
- Lack of medical evidence
- Claim forms that aren’t completed properly
- Failure to comply with a consultative exam
- The SSA determines your case is too weak
- Missteps in the process due to not seeking legal assistance
They added that “disability claimants represented by an attorney are three times more likely to have your claim for disability benefits approved.”
Additionally, fears over the cost of legal representation may be misplaced, since you are only charged a fee if you win your case.
Once you decide you need a lawyer, finding the right one can seem daunting as well. Should you seek the help of a local or national firm? When during the process is the appropriate time to hire representation? What are the next steps?
It can be stressful, but don’t worry. There are attorneys in Atlanta ready and willing to help.
Why Seek an Attorney in the First Place?
A dedicated disability attorney can provide crucial assistance when filing a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The right disability attorney can also handle a claim with the Veterans’ Administration or a claim for workers’ compensation.
If you’re seeking representation by attorneys in Atlanta, the team at Affleck & Gordon is an experienced group of legal experts who can help build your case and act as your professional liaison for your hearing, appeal, or reconsideration. An initial consultation is free. And, in most instances, a fee will only be due if you win your case.
This is how attorneys play a crucial role in your claim filing process.
The communication benefits of working with an attorney to file your claim are twofold.
- We communicate about your claim for you to the SSA, VA, or statewide board for workers’ compensation. Since attorneys are familiar with the process, we can ensure they have the accurate information they need from day one. This means a lesser chance for your claim to be denied.
- We communicate about your claim with you to ensure you understand the legal filing process each step of the way. We want you to have the right tools at your disposal to win your case.
Our ability to clearly communicate technical legal details about your claim as an intermediary is important to your success.
Building Your Claim File
When seeking an attorney in Atlanta, the earlier the better. While it is still possible to seek legal assistance mid-claim or even after a claim has been denied, you receive the most benefit from going through the entire filing process with representation.
An attorney will work to link your medical records to your claim file in a way that coincides with the rules and regulations of the law. Whereas, if you file independently, establishing this link when building your file will be more difficult.
Claims Are Taken More Seriously
Attorneys have the experience and knowledge of what an administrative law judge may be looking for and what legal issues need to be fleshed out with your case. Without an attorney, you may not recognize when to address these potential issues and jeopardize your claim.
The SSA also tends to take claims more seriously if you have an attorney. This shows you’ve taken steps to ensure that your claim has been thoroughly prepared by legal experts.
I Need an Attorney in Atlanta, but Don’t Know What to Look For
Once you decide to hire an attorney, the first thing to do is seek a case evaluation. This evaluation is free. Remember, it’s best to seek the help of an attorney in the very beginning of the process if possible.
While cost can be a consideration, it shouldn’t stop you from seeking legal help. Attorneys collect a fee if you win your case and receive your past-due benefits, or backpay.
Another major consideration is to hire a local firm. Here’s why.
Local Judges Have Specific Needs
Each judge may have her or his own style of dealing with disability claims.
Local attorneys will be familiar with:
- Specific information a judge looks for in your file
- Different styles and preparation
- Different types of evidence
- What aspects of a claim to draw attention to
- A judge’s preferences on testimony
Relationships Between Local Judges and Attorneys in Atlanta
A major draw of hiring a local lawyer is that judges, court reporters, and attorneys work together regularly and have formed working professional relationships. This means they understand what each is seeking from the legal claim process and how to navigate that on a personal level.
Additionally, administrative law judges get to know local attorneys’ reputations. If an issue arises, a judge may be more patient and flexible with an attorney they know to be ethical from past interactions. Whereas, an unknown lawyer or a claimant without a lawyer may not be given that same consideration.
If you’re filing an SSI or SSDI claim, get in touch with Affleck & Gordon for a free case evaluation. This is a no-risk opportunity for an attorney to discuss your options moving forward with the claim.
Even though you should seek a lawyer before you file your claim, don’t be afraid to do so in the middle of the process or even following an initial denial.
Bring your documents, medical records, and a written summary of your case with every detail you can think of. It’s better for your lawyer to determine which details are important rather than leave something out.