SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
Proudly Offering Legal Services You Can Trust
Robert P. Young “Robbie” has many years of experience helping people with social security disability claims and devotes a majority of his practice to these type of cases. Robbie Young will meet with you personally to discuss your case and will fight for you to help you get the benefits you deserve.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR A SOCIAL SECURITY CASE
WHEN OR SHOULD I HIRE A LAWYER?
This will vary on a case by case basis. If you need help with forms and making sure deadlines are met, then you need an attorney from the beginning. You definitely need at attorney at the hearing level. You do not know the questions you need to ask at a hearing. You do not know what information and documents you need to obtain. If you are denied at a hearing, you will need an attorney to be able to appeal. Statistically, you are more likely to be awarded benefits at the hearing level if you have an attorney than if you do not. My advice is if you are denied at the application level, you should definitely hire an attorney at that point. However, some people should obtain an attorney before ever applying.
HOW SHOULD I CHOOSE AN ATTORNEY?
There are three different types of social security practices.
First is the dabbler. The attorney just does a few of these type of cases here or there. It is difficult to really know the ins and outs of social security law if you do not handle a volume of cases. Many of these attorneys are taking these cases to try and get related personal injury or workers compensation cases. You wouldn’t hire a heart doctor to treat your back. You shouldn’t hire a divorce or personal injury lawyer for your social security case. The second type is the factory mill. The attorney is trying to handle a large volume of these cases but spends no time on any given case. His or her staff does all the work. Many times the attorney does not even meet with the client until the day of the hearing to prepare for the hearing. Many times the client doesn’t even know who the actual attorney will be at the hearing. The third type are practices like mine. I spend lots of time with the client and fully prepare the client for the hearing. If the attorney does not handle a volume of social security cases and you do not meet and discuss your case in length with the attorney at the first visit, go somewhere else.
Second, is the attorney a member of NOSSCR and does he or she regularly attend NOSSCR conferences? NOSSCR stands for the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. NOSSCR sends out regular publications of changes at social security. Attorneys have to obtain yearly legal education hours. These are obtained at various conferences and seminars. My experience has been that the education at NOSSCR conferences are high quality and have education for the experienced attorney while other seminars and conferences tend to be aimed at beginning social security attorneys. I am a member of NOSSCR and attend NOSSCR conferences.
Third, does the attorney appeal some cases to Federal District Court? Some attorneys do not do this. Not every case has substantial enough evidence to appeal to Federal District Court, but if you are denied at a hearing and have substantial evidence, then you want an attorney who will appeal it to Federal District Court. I regularly appeal cases to Federal District Court.
Fourth, is the lawyer local? You want someone with an office that you make an appointment with, walk into their office, and talk with face to face. I do not personally recommend one of the 1-800 numbers that are advertising nationally.
Fifth, is there helpful information on their website about social security or is it just a calling card.
Sixth, at the initial client consultation, did the attorney talk to you about what testing social security wants to see for your type of problem(s)? Many clients who come in to see me are partially being denied because they have not recently had a test done that social security wants to evaluate the severity of their problems. Without the test, social security will assume the problem is mild or moderate rather than severe. If the attorney does not discuss with you what you need to do to build your case, then go somewhere else.
Seventh, ask the attorney why they handle social security cases. Were they just hired by a firm that does social security or do they have personal reasons for getting into this area. I handled many different types of cases when I first graduated from law school, but it was social security cases that I truly enjoyed. The good feeling that I was helping someone out when they were in a very bad point in their life, and the appreciation that clients have for all I do for their case I find very motivating. Additionally, I have a sister and a former secretary that had to go through this process. I understand that seeing someone on a good day isn’t how you should judge someone. It only takes several bad days a month to keep most people from working.
Eighth, what do other clients say? Do not listen to whether the attorney won or loss the case. This really does not tell you anything. Instead, ask former clients how they were treated and how much time the attorney, rather than staff, spent with them discussing their case.
Ninth, are you comfortable? Has the attorney explained the social security process to you and taken the time to answer any of your questions?
HOW MUCH WILL AN ATTORNEY COST ME?
You will find that most all attorneys charge 25% of the back pay plus costs. This is because attorneys may be paid directly by social security if they charge this amount. So there is no attorney fee unless your case is won. Costs may include the amount paid by your attorney to get your medical records, mailing costs, mileage, photocopy costs, etc. Different attorneys include different expenses in this amount. My office typically only requests reimbursements for medical record expenses and expensive mailing expenses, not first class stamps. Make sure it is clear to you what costs you will be liable for at the beginning of the case.
SHOULD I APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY?
If you are not working and believe you cannot work, then apply. What do you have to lose? However, you must be prepared to undergoing lots of treatment and testing to try and prove your case.
SHOULD I APPLY FOR AGE 62 EARLY RETIREMENT?
Yes. However, you can also apply for disability at the same time. If you have already filed for disability and turn 62 during the appeal process, you can file for early retirement then. Most people will receive an additional $200-$300 a month every month for the rest of their life by pursuing disability instead of settling for early retirement.
HOW WILL MR. YOUNG HELP ME WIN MY CASE?
Mr. Young will give you advice on what testing needs to be done, what kind of specialists you need to see, how often to get treatment, what needs to be documented at your doctor’s visit and who to document it to, etc. Mr. Young will update your medical records prior to the hearing and will take care of getting those records into your electronic case file. Mr. Young will provide forms for your doctor to complete. Mr. Young will provide a detailed list of what any letter from your doctor needs to include. Mr. Young will personally prepare you for the questions at your hearing. Mr. Young will develop a theory for your case on why the judge should find you disabled. Mr. Young will cross-examine the vocational expert and/or medical expert at the hearing. Mr. Young will assist you in completing all appeals in a timely manner. Mr. Young will help you understand how social security is determining if you are disabled and the procedure and time frames in making that determination.
401 S. 3rd St. | Paragould, AR 72451 | P.O. Box 123 | (870) 236-7673