Our firm has had extensive experience in dealing with Social
Security Disability cases over the years. Jay Causey and Sue Andrews belongs to the
National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives,
which issues monthly updates on developments in the law on administrative
processes, and lobbies Congress on behalf of claimants. In addition,
we restrict our practice to medical-legal matters, so we are in a
position to coordinate a Social Security disability claim with any
other insurance-related matter.
How can an attorney help me with my Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability has evolved into a very complicated area
of the law. There are literally hundreds of laws and regulations,
and thousands of cases construing them, which will determine whether
the facts of your particular case will result in a finding of "disabled".
Court cases, legislative changes and administrative revisions occur
on a frequent basis, and these may impact your eligibility for benefits.
An attorney knowledgeable about these laws and regulations, and the
system in general, can help to increase your chances of obtaining
What does a hearing involve? Is it a formal court proceeding,
and is the Social Security Administration represented by an attorney?
These hearings combine formality and informality. The testimony of
all witnesses is taken under oath, but medical reports can be offered
into evidence, instead of having a doctor testify, and both the claimant
and attorney are allowed ample opportunity to provide all facts relevant
to the disability in question and to express opinions. The Administration
is not currently represented by an attorney in these hearings. However,
the Administrative Law Judge who hears the case may subject you to
lengthy and detailed questioning. Additionally, the judge may call
a medical or vocational expert to help interpret the evidence in the
case. The proceedings are recorded by an administrative assistant
so that an official record is made.
After the hearing, how long will it be until I receive a
decision and, if the decision is favorable, when will I begin to receive
Judges widely vary in their decision-making timetable, in part because
of differing caseloads. A rough estimate for a decision is one to
two months from the hearing date at the earliest, and sometimes up
to six months, particularly if additional evidence is submitted. You
will receive the decision, as will your attorney. A favorable decision
is sent on to one of the Administration's processing centers for the
computation of your benefits and you should not expect to receive
any benefits until a separate Certificate of Award is issued, usually
two to three months after the favorable decision. You will generally
receive any retroactive benefits shortly after the award certificate
issues, and current benefits, if appropriate, will begin at about
the same time. Regrettably, there is virtually nothing we can do to
speed up the payment process.
What attorney fees should I expect to pay?
The Social Security Administration has set limits to the fee structure
attorneys can use in their contracts of employment. With this, the
fee charged by all attorneys is fairly standardized. Social Security
will withhold 25% of the retroactive benefits and will forward that
fee, less a handling fee, directly to the attorney. This payment is
for the attorney's fee only, and does not include the reimbursement
of costs incurred. This remains a matter between you and your attorney.
In any case, regardless of the size of the retroactive benefits awarded,
the fee may not exceed $5300.00.
Please feel free to contact our office for more information.