Can I file a claim on my own or do I have to hire a lawyer to file a claim for me?
You can file your own claim and do not have to hire a lawyer, but, and this is a big "but", you would be much better off hiring an attorney to help you file. There are a number of advantages in doing so. An experienced Social Security disability attorney is familiar with the technical lingo used by Social Security - the "buzz" words - and is also able to explain your claim in language which Social Security undersands. We have our own forms for filing which are much better than what they use and our's emphasize the areas of your claim that need more descriptive infomation not normally requested by Social Security but extremely helpful to a claim. As a result, we have for the past several years been able to obtain benefits for many of our clients who never had to appeal even once and many others who were awarded benefits after only one appeal. Statistically, your chances of winning are greater if you have an attorney representing you than if you do not.
Do I have to be poor to obtain Social Security benefits?
No, you do not, and such benefits are not part of any federal or state welfare program. You should not feel ashamed in applying for benefits, since you paid an insurance premium out of your salary each month to protect you and your family in the event you were to become unemployable. Since you paid for it, you are entitled to collect benefits if you cannot work. It is not now and never has been a charitable venture. You paid for it, and if you can't work, you are legitimately entitled to receive it during your time of need. That's what you paid for, and it is available for you when you need it.
My disability claim has been denied so what should I do now?
Call us immediately for legal assistance, or another experienced Social Security attorney to represent you since you only have 60 within which to appeal. If you don't file an appeal within the 60 days, you cannot continue with it and will have to file a new claim and start all over again. We can help you with regard to the paperwork that needs to be completed, signed and filed in order to protect your claim - and make sure that your appeal is filed on time.
Do I have to be permanently, totally disabled for life in order to obtain Social Security disability benefits?
No, you do not. Social Security benefits are given to many individuals who are off work for at least one year, but who reach a point when they can and in fact do return to work. At that time, their benefits can be discontinued, subject to being reinstated again if they are, once again, unable to work. The important thing to remember here is when in doubt as to how long you may be off work, go down and file anyway. If it turns out to be a year or more, you will be glad you did. Social Security gives those who are off work for a year or more and return to work later a period of benefits called a "closed period."
Do I really need a lawyer to handle my case in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge?
Absolutely. Matters such as objections to evidence, preparing briefs with citations to rules, regulations and cases, and direct and cross examinations of expert witnesses such as doctors and vocational Experts is not something that can be left to non-lawyers. There are some non-attorney representatives who do represent disability claimants, but their lack of legal training is a definite disadvantage to hiring them. The fees paid are the same as they are regulated by federal law, so if you are going to pay for legal representation, you might as well have an experienced Social Security attorney working for you, not some non-lawyer who can't appeal on your behalf all the way to Federal Court.
How much do I have to pay a lawyer to represent me before Social Security?
The standard fee set by federal law is 25% of back benefits with a current maximum cap of $6,000.00 which from time to time is adjusted by the Social Security Administration. Your attorney and you must sign a fee agreement in conformity with federal law which must also be approved by the Administrative Law Judge. All attorneys are paid the same, with the exception that some will occasionally charge on an hourly basis which is very complex and which many attorneys feel is actually disadvantageous to claimants because it can result in someone paying an attorneys fee which is greater than the 25% contingency and $6,000.00 cap. If you don't win, you do not have to pay us. Dabney & Dabney Mesquite represents all of our clients on a contingent fee basis for 25% of back benefits with a maximum charge of $6,000.00 regardless of how large your accrued or back award may be.
1079 East Riverside Drive, Suite # 203, St. George, Utah 84790
Tel (435) 652-8500, Toll Free (800) 457-5525, Fax (435) 652-8599