Social Security disability lawyers in Michigan understand how the system works and can apply their knowledge to your case. Even so, you will need to retain a person who is competent and who will go above and beyond the minimal requirements for you. Many lawyers will meet with you at no charge to go over the process with you and to ask you some basic questions about your case. However, you should ask him or her questions as well to find out if the attorney is a good fit for you.
Questions to Ask
Review the following questions and choose the some or all of them to ask an attorney that you are thinking about hiring.
- Are you a licensed lawyer? The Social Security Administration lets client advocates represent you even if they are not licensed attorneys. However, you will find many benefits if you hire a licensed lawyer. For example, an attorney will probably know the laws better, especially those that apply to your case. In addition, they can handle cases in federal court while a non-lawyer cannot. Finally, a lawyer will likely charge you the same fees as the person who is not a lawyer, so you are better off hiring a person with the legal experience that you need.
- Do you have training and a background in disability law? Since the field is so specialized, you will want to hire someone with experience in disability law. Most disability lawyers belong to the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, and they receive ongoing education and updates in disability law as legislative changes are made.
- Do you meet with physicians for consultation exams? These exams might not be necessary in every case and can run upwards of hundreds of dollars. However, these can be a key factor in certain circumstances, so discuss your attorney’s willingness to set up a CE if necessary.
- Do you draft on-the-record requests? An OTR request means that the judge will approve your case without a hearing, especially if you have substantial proof of your disability. While this option is not appropriate in every case, your lawyer should be willing to consider this avenue when appropriate.
- Will we communicate on the phone or in person before my hearing? If you were already denied, it can take 12 months or longer to go before an administrative law judge. You will need to provide your lawyer with regular updates on your health. While you can conduct much of your communication on the phone or via email, you will likely want to meet in person at least once before your hearing.
- If the case goes to federal court, can you represent me? If the attorney cannot represent you, he or she should recommend at least two other individuals who can do so.
- Where is your office? An out-of-state lawyer will probably not be able to meet you until the actual day of your hearing. While he or she likely provides competent representation, you will want someone with a local office. In addition, you can ask our disability lawyers Michigan other questions that might be relevant to your case. We will not be upset by your inquiries and believe that your interest shows that you are invested in your case.
Fees for SSD Attorneys
An SSD lawyer is paid 25 percent of your past-due benefits with the maximum set at $6,000. He or she is only paid from the past benefits, so if there are none, then the lawyer is not entitled to a fee. Even so, he or she can file a fee petition with Social Security in order to secure some type of payment.
You do not need to pay him or her up front unless the lawyer requests a minimal amount to cover basic costs in your case. The attorney’s payment is taken from your back pay check before you ever receive any money. However, if your case is denied, you might need to pay an additional fee to appeal your case. Ask your lawyer if you will need to pay for incidentals or case-related expenses which might include postage, document fees, copies of medical records, travel expenses and other miscellaneous expenses. Clarify how much you need to pay and if you will need to pay if you lose the case. Ask about the typical amount that other clients pay so that you can be prepared ahead of time.
Call Our Social Security Disability Lawyers in Michigan at (888) 282-0719
Marc J. Shefman, one of our disability lawyers Michigan, welcomes your questions about his practice and philosophy in handling your case.