In 2016, the Social Security Administration (SSA) received nearly 2.5 million applications for disability benefits. Many applications are denied at least once and are often denied twice, contributing to a wait time of a year and a half just for disability benefits hearings in Evansville. Combined with the time you wait for your initial application and request for reconsideration to be processed, you’ll likely spend more than two years trying to get approved for disability.
Facing this backlogged process while dealing with disability can be a frustrating, confusing challenge. However, you have options. You don’t have to go through this alone. A qualified Evansville attorney can help increase your chance of being approved and take the burden of filing your claim off your shoulders.
But how do you know if you can even afford to pay a lawyer to handle your case? As it turns out, getting professional help with your claim may be more affordable than you might guess.
Selecting the Right Attorney for the Job
Because the lawyer you hire to handle your Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) claim will likely work with you for over two years, it’s important to find someone who not only knows the law, but also knows and respects you. You should never feel threatened or neglected by your SSDI attorney, but you should also make sure any friendly voice on the phone is qualified to handle your case.
A few thoughtful, revealing questions will help you determine if a lawyer has the right experience and the right attitude.
Questions to Ask an Evansville Social Security Lawyer
- How many years of experience do you have with Social Security disability claims?
- Are you a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR)?
- Will you help me fill out all the forms necessary to file a claim?
- Are you the same lawyer who will help me in the appeals process, or will I be transferred to someone else?
- How does your firm usually get cases — through referrals or through advertising?
- Will I be coached in preparation for my hearing?
- Will you contact my medical providers to ensure my records are up to date?
- How often will you check the status of my claim through the SSA?
A qualified lawyer will have extensive, hands-on experience handling SSDI claims, will help you or handle all record-keeping and filing themselves, and will be well-referred by past clients. Evansville attorneys may not be able to answer every question perfectly, but how they respond will help you discern who cares about you versus who cares about being paid.
Social Security Disability Attorney Fees
The SSA has placed a cap on the total amount a law firm can charge for representing a person applying for disability benefits. The maximum amount they can charge is 25 percent of your past due benefits benefits or $6,000; whichever is smaller. Two examples may make this clearer:
Example 1: You file a claim and are awarded $1,400 per month plus 12 months of past due benefits (which total $16,800). Since 25 percent of $16,800 ($4,200) is less than $6,000, your lawyer can charge up to $4,200 for his or her services.
Example 2: You receive awards of $1,200 per month plus 24 months of past due benefits (totaling $28,800). In this case, 25 percent of the benefits ($7,200) is greater than $6,000, but your attorney still can only charge up to $6,000 according to the SSA’s guidelines.
Help from an Evansville Disability Lawyer
Whether you’re waiting for a hearing or are just starting to file your SSDI claim, Hensley Legal Group can help. Our compassionate Evansville Social Security disability attorneys have handled many cases and can help you make sense of this complicated, drawn-out process. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation.