Monday, March 31, 2014

Why hire a lawyer?

1) An experienced Social Security Claimant’s Representative – lawyer or not – will dramatically improve your chances for success, in my opinion.

2) A lawyer will stand between you and the grinding government machine. It takes the weight off your shoulders so you can focus on your health.

This can be a long, long process – typically 18 – 24 months. Yet, approvals at the initial level can take as few as three months.

Four real client examples from my practice:

ONE: One 32 year old man had been in a wheel chair for a year before he lost his leg. He had been a very successful journeyman building scaffolding for bridges. He filed a month before the amputation and was denied at the Initial level. He gave up and did not file an appeal. (Way too many people do that.) Two years later, after he lost everything, he came back and was approved with my help in 6 months – and, he got those two years of past benefits.

While there are no guarantees in any of this, it is obvious that his case should have been approved initially – since later, they gave him the two years of back benefits.

TWO: A well-educated medical professional came to me having just been diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer. She had the capacity to deal with this on her own. However, she chose to have me help her so she could focus on her health. It took three months.

THREE: A 35 year old man who needed a double lung transplant could barely breathe – obviously enough. It was a strange disease and he was denied at the Initial level having already filed on his own. I helped him file the appeal and it was approved in four months. (He eventually got involved in a clinical trial at UCSF and so far has not needed the transplant.)

FOUR: A 38 year old man had uncontrolled diabetes. He could lift 50 pounds without any problem; but, he couldn’t keep a job because he kept getting sick. Then he lost his medical care and had no insurance to buy the medication.

Diabetes impairs the body’s ability to heal. Even minor infections can turn deadly in uncontrolled diabetics. He filed on his own, and was denied. He filed the Reconsideration appeal, and was denied. He went to a hearing before the Judge and the Judge told him that he had a right to a lawyer and if he wanted one, the Judge would give him time to do so.

Eight months later, the Judge approved his claim. He had been dealing with the process for roughly 30 months.

 #veterans  #socialsecurity #disability #fairfield #vacaville #suisun #lawyer #city_attorney #attorney #solanocounty

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Do I really need a lawyer?

1. Do I need a lawyer?     
No. You can do this on your own. You can have a friend or family member help you. 
There are non-lawyers who do this kind of thing on a professional full time basis.
The Government does not require that a representative be a lawyer.

Social Security Disability law is not something that law schools typically teach. It isn’t like contracts, personal injury or criminal law which are required law school subjects in ABA accredited schools.

To really learn this, you need to have a “mentor” who has done it a long time: someone who can show you first where to find the law and then how to use it. You also need to keep up with current developments through organizations like the National Association of Social Security Claimants (“NOSSCR” that hold two, three-day seminars a year that draw thousands of practitioners from all over the country.

Hiring a lawyer who has no experience is like hiring Aunt Bea – she will probably mean well, but may not know much more than you can learn yourself simply from reading Unlike Aunt Bea, however, the lawyer will charge you a fee.

If you can read, you really can do this on your own – just like you could write your own will; do your own taxes; build a back yard BBQ or wire your new family room.

#socialsecurity #health #fairfield #vacaville #solanocounty #SSN #disability #lawyer #mediator