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Author Topic: Lawyer Question  (Read 2621 times)

Mark

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Lawyer Question
« on: December 31, 2009, 01:24:26 pm »
How much of your backpay is your lawyer allowed to receive?  Does it matter how much work he does?

Trajector Media

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Re: Lawyer Question
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 01:20:10 pm »
Your lawyer gets either 25 % of your past due benefits up to $5,300.  Unless of course you work out something else with them which is unlikely. 

The most they can get legally is the 5,300 however it is unlikely they will settle for less. 

I have heard often they usually wait until the first denial before they take the case though I did not use an Attorney so I do not have personal experience with this. 

Anyone have any different experience?
I speak from experience not expertise.

junior

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Re: Lawyer Question
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 03:02:03 pm »
I have a lawyer and i have not even received my first decision yet.they call dds every month around the 10th to get up dates then they call me but like i said my wife also calls once a month and basically she gets the same information that the lawyer gets.I got the lawyer because i read some where that you chances are better getting a approval with one than with out one.I dont know if i am going to have to pay them if i win my case at the initial level.can anyone help. ???

Trajector Media

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Re: Lawyer Question
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2010, 04:01:02 pm »
I agree with you that it is better to have a lawyer in most cases.  I was simply being stubborn I think.  Which most of the time is really stupid.  I think I just got lucky and spent tonssssssssss of time researching everything I could and did the right things at the right times. 

I know that Attorney's know how to fill out the paperwork properly.  They know what the Judges are looking for.  One big thing is they know and understand something called the RFC forum or the Residual Functional Capacity form. They also know how and when to present it.  This was something I didn't understand or know anything about.

This form is filled out by your Medical and/or Psychiatric Doctor and are used by Disability to help make a decision in your case. 

The medical one has questions on it such as:

    * How much weight can you lift and carry?
    * How long can you stand, sit or walk?
    * Do you use any devices to help you move around?
    * Can you reach, push, pull, ect.?
    * Can you use foot controls?
    * Can you climb, crawl, crouch, kneel, ect.?
    * How bad is your hearing and vision?
    * Do you have any environmental limitations, like height or cold or heat?
    * What are your limitations?

It then asks the Doctor for supporting information for everything that they list above.

Mental RFC forms will address questions such as:

    * Your ability to remember and perform simple and complex instructions.
    * Can you make simple and complex decisions?
    * Can you interact appropriately others?
    * Can you respond to changes in a work setting?
    * Do you have any other issues affected by your impairment?

Then they ask the Doctor to back this up with documentation.

When I applied for benefits I did have to see both a Medical Doctor and a Psychiatrist. I did not get a chance to review their findings until I was sitting waiting for my hearing at the Administrative Law Judge Hearing Office almost 3 years later. 

I had about 45 minutes before my hearing to look through a file about 300 pages thick.  I immediately sought out that file and found that the Medical doctor had found me disabled at the very beginning of this process.  However for some reason someone behind the desk in the Social Security office decided I was not. 

So when I went in to see the Judge I made sure to point that fact out.  Now had I hired a Lawyer in the beginning perhaps they would have had access to my file and I would have known that and been able to use that in my argument when I appealed my case in the very beginning, I have no idea.  Either way it seems ridiculous that their very own Doctors found me disabled yet their caseworker did not. 

I was told by my friend, the Judge, you can also present an RFC form filled out by your Doctors as well during your case and it does have a lot of weight.  It is just something else that can help.  You are not limited to only the RFC Form filled out by the Doctors that they send you to. 

As for not having a Lawyer, I will note that when I walked into my hearing with the Judge he didn't seem pleased at the beginning and looked directly at me and said are you sure, young lady, that you wish to proceed without an Attorney.  I said yes Sir.  He asked why.  I told him that I could not afford to pay an Attorney if I won as I was so far behind in everything and I came to simply be honest and if I lose then there is nothing that an Attorney can say that would change that. 

He then told me that I might want to rethink that and come back with an Attorney.  Again, I said that i did not.  He then said, ok but at any time I could stop the case and tell him I wish to return with an Attorney.  He was pretty adamant that I should not be there representing myself.  However, I think that because their own Doctors found me disabled and I had a lot of Medical documentation things for me turned out ok but in most cases I think Judges frown on people representing themselves. 

Lastly you asked about paying your Attorney if you get approved at the initial level.  I don't think you have a choice.  If you signed a contract it's a done deal.  The going rate is 25% of your back pay up to $ 5300.  They get paid from Disability.  Most of the time they get their check before you do.  You do not pay them Disability does it on your behalf.  I would check the contract you signed and see if there is anything there if you have no backpay coming regarding payment.  Usually they do not take a case on until after you have been denied once but I am sure they get something.  Besides by the time you get your first check, even if you are approved right on the first filing, you will likely be owed some backpay I would think.
 
I hope this information helped.

I speak from experience not expertise.