Saturday, February 27, 2010
For some of you choosing a Social Security disability lawyer might simply come down to first website you find or commercial you see on TV. Some people are looking for a large disability firm, while others prefer the personal touch of a smaller firm. In terms of importance to give yourself the best chance to win your SSD or SSI claim one of the most important decisions you can make is, whether or not to get a lawyer to help you with your claim. If you have decided that you want a disability attorney for your SSDI claim, then you will have to determine who to hire. To make this decision, you should consider what is important to you. One thing you should know is that many of the biggest Social Security disability representative companies out there are not lawyers. So if you want to be represented by a lawyer you may first want to check if the company you are considering is actually a law firm or if they are a disability advocate company. Is it important to you to be able to speak to the lawyer or representative who will be handling your case during the long process? This is important to many people and yet it can be very difficult to find a Social Security Disability lawyer or law firm, in this field, where you can actually talk to your lawyer if you need to. This is one of the biggest complaints of claimants that are represented. Social Security Disability lawyers are extremely busy and have many clients; however you should have the right to speak your lawyer on important issues about your case. This does not mean that you should have access to speaking to your lawyer directly whenever you want, calling to often will actually prevent your lawyer from being able to spend the time your case and other cases need. If you have something important to speak your lawyer about and if you call and the person who answers cannot address your question to your satisfaction, you should be able to leave your name and number for your attorney and expect a callback. I get a lot of e-mails from my website and not getting callbacks appears to be a bigger problem with large firms and non-attorney companies then it is with small to medium-sized law firms. This is a very general statement and not true in all cases, because I have certainly received e-mails from people who do not receive callbacks from small law firms as well. The toughest question to answer for you is, how do you know if you will be able to have contact with your lawyer once you sign the paperwork to be represented? There is no easy answer, but you could try calling the lawyer or firm you are interested in and tell them you are considering hiring them, but that you would like to speak to the attorney that would be handling your case first. If you can't get a lawyer to call you back even before you sign-up this should give you some idea of your accessibility to the lawyer or representative if you were to hire them. If the lawyer does callback, you can simply ask them if he or she is the lawyer who will be the one handling your claim and if you can expect to see him or her if you have to go to a SSD or SSI hearing. It is not uncommon for the lawyer who is available at the time to call you back even if that is not the lawyer that is going to handle your case, but they should be able to tell you which lawyer is your main representative. There will always be people who just want to sign up with the biggest most well known non-attorney companies or law firms. There are also those who prefer to be treated as an individual and not as a number. You can learn a lot by reading the non-attorney companies or lawyers writings on the web. Is the website or pages very generic and bland with no real answers? Do the website or pages appear to be written by someone who knows what they are talking about, and appears to care about their readers by providing real helpful information? When you are reading website information about Social Security disability law is the author of that information easily known or do they appear to be hiding who they really are? Many websites that show up very high in search engine results have almost no useful information because they are written by companies that specialize in high rankings and have little or no actual knowledge of Social Security Disability law. Most law firm websites and non-attorney websites are written by third parties as I described. So if you are trying to get a feel for a particular lawyer or representative try to find something they have written which can sometimes give you some insight into the type of person they are. I hope this post helps you if you have decided to hire a lawyer for your Social Security disability claim by giving you some ideas as to how to find the right fit for you. If you want more information on how to find a lawyer for Social Security Disability visit my page on the topic.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
One of the most common disabilities claimed on Social Security disability applications is for back conditions. Some back conditions are herniated discs, arthritis, lumbar fracture, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. Many times, back conditions are just a part of your claim but on this page I will talk about disability for those whose primary disability is there back and the secondary symptoms from the condition and who are under 50 years of age. In SSD and SSI claims where the only disability is a back injury how old you are and the type of work used to do play a very significant role in determining your chances of success. If you are under 50 years old and you do not meet or equal a listed impairment, then you will have to be able to show that your limitations from your back condition would prevent you from even being able to do a significant number of sedentary jobs. This means jobs that require you to lift very little weight (10 lbs at most) and you are sitting most of the time. To give you an idea of the types of jobs Social Security will frequently say someone with the back condition can do: they often consider jobs such as surveillance system monitor, ticket taker at the movie theater, greeter and other jobs of this sort. Often times, even the inability to sit for long periods of time is not enough for Social Security to find you disabled. Believe it or not there are many jobs that allow the worker to sit and stand as they need to. Pain and the effect of prescription medicine such as narcotic pain medication and limitations they impose on one's ability to concentrate and memorize things is supposed to be considered by SSA when they determine if a younger individual with back problems is able to work. In practice, the decision makers at Social Security appear to disregard or minimize these limitations on one's ability to work. However, if you have these limitations it is very important that you say so, and that it is supported by the medical evidence. Back disability cases for younger individuals are difficult to win no matter how severe your back condition is. In these types of cases you should strongly consider hiring a lawyer to help you with this type of claim. I am not saying they cannot be won, but you will need a good theory as to why you are disabled which is supported by strong medical records and opinion evidence from your doctors. If you feel you meet or equal a listed impairment it is very important that you take a copy of the listing to your Dr. to see if they also feel you meet or equal a listed impairment. If they do, then you should ask them for a report explaining which listing (here you will find SSA medical listing for back conditions), why and what evidence supports that conclusion. Many people with back problems who have suffered with chronic pain frequently develop depression as a result. Unfortunately, many of these people don't take their doctors advice and seek the help of a psychiatrist to treat the depression. I often hear comments like "my Dr. told me I have depression and should be under the care of a psychiatrist, but I'm not crazy I'm just in a lot of pain." I know many of you reading this and saying that sounds like me. This is not a good approach to take for your own medical health or for your disability claim. If you truly have depression as a result of chronic pain you should seek treatment. I am not suggesting that everybody who has a back problem should run out and see a psychiatrist to help their disability claim. This is not only the wrong thing to do in general, but is probably not going to help your claim because a psychiatrist will probably not find you to be depressed or have any limitations from it. In these claims, it is also important if you use an assistive device for walking. I do not have enough room on this page to try and explain how to win your disability claim for a back condition when you are a younger individual, but the purpose of this post was to make you aware of the difficulties of this type of claim so that you get the help you need to give yourself the best chance to win. For more information on Social Security disability back claims visit my website which goes into more detail about how you can help yourself and this type of claim.