Should I get a lawyer before my first application or wait until I have been denied before contacting a lawyer?
Jonathan Ginsberg responds: Millie, I generally advise people to wait until you have been denied before hiring a lawyer. First of all, as a practical matter, there is not much a lawyer can do prior to the initial denial. During this initial application consideration, your Social Security adjudicator will request copies of medical records from your doctors and review this evidence with the help of an in-house Social Security medical or mental health expert.
Secondly, if you are approved, you can avoid paying 25% of your past due benefits to a lawyer, since most lawyers charge a 25% contingency fee.
As a disability lawyer, my main job is to "translate" medical problems into specific work limitations. There are a number of good Internet resources that can help you with the forms. I have written a book about how to fill out the forms and I have released several of the forms I have developed to win cases in my book, called the Disability Answer Guide. You might find my book helpful at the initial and reconsideration stages.
If you are denied and feel that a lawyer would be helpful, you can request a case review from me by clicking on this disability case review link.
Bottom line – I see nothing wrong with trying to win on your own. If your case is good and you work hard on the forms, you may not need to give up 25% of your past due benefits.
[tags] social security lawyers, disability forms, filing for disability, starting the disability process, social security disability application [/tags]
Jonathan Ginsberg represents Social Security disability claimants in Georgia. In practice for over 29 years, Jonathan publishes a widely known disability blog, a podcast and several disability web sites. In 2004, Jonathan published a "how to" book about Social Security disability called the Disability Answer Guide. Jonathan lives with his wife and 2 children in Atlanta.