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How to Find the Best Social Security Disability Lawyers in Alpharetta, GA
Most of us work for decades, paying into the social security system. You may not even be aware that you’ve been paying into it, but people with full-time employment are generally required to do so. Ideally, you’ll never become disabled, and you’ll be able to work for as long as you wish. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. This is where Social Security Disability benefits come in. While it sounds like it should be easy to access money that is essentially yours—you’ve been paying into the system for decades—the government can make it quite difficult in some circumstances.
At Morgan & Morgan, it’s our goal to make this complicated process as simple and stress-free as possible for you. We have dedicated and experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyers in Alpharetta, GA who can assist you. Whether you’re applying for benefits for the first time, or you’ve been denied and need help with an appeal, we can help. We take all of our cases on a contingency fee basis, so you never have to worry about paying us unless we recover compensation for you. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Why You Need Social Security Disability Lawyers in Alpharetta, GA
Many people think they can apply for Social Security Disability benefits on their own. In some cases, this is true. However, it can be an incredibly complicated and lengthy process. Even if this is your first time applying and you aren’t dealing with an appeal, having an experienced attorney can help. A lawyer can make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines and they will ensure that you submit all the relevant and necessary paperwork. When you find a firm that works on a contingency fee basis, you don’t have to worry about paying any money out of your own funds, which means that anyone has the ability to get the assistance of an attorney if they so wish. When you hire an attorney to handle your claim, you may be able to save a significant amount of time if you aren’t initially denied your claim. You won’t have to repeat the whole process again, this time being represented by experienced Social Security Disability lawyers in Alpharetta, GA
Approximately 66 percent of the applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied when they are received. On appeal, more than half of those are eventually approved. It’s clear that the Social Security Administration operates on a deny first, investigate later framework. For this reason, having an experienced attorney can be invaluable.
How to Find the Right Lawyer
Finding the right attorney is a very personal decision. It can be intimidating to find the right lawyer, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Consider the following before you hire someone.
1. When Do You Need an Attorney?
One of the decisions you need to make is whether you want an attorney to help you with the initial application process, or if you want to take a shot at it yourself and then find an attorney if your claim is denied. It’s a good idea to at least set up a few free consultations with attorneys before you file the initial application. This way, you have a head start if you need to find a lawyer quickly to help you with an appeal.
2. Always Get References
Before hiring Social Security Disability lawyers in Alpharetta, GA, it’s always a good idea to see what past clients have to say about them. This could be through references that the attorney provides you, it could be from people you know who have used this lawyer in the past, or it might just be from looking at reviews online. Always be wary of the reviews you see on a lawyer’s website. Chances are, they were handpicked. What lawyer is going to put bad reviews on their website? Instead, look at Google reviews. Check Facebook pages to see if clients have said anything of importance there. Make sure you do your homework.
3. Know What You’re Looking For
Do you prefer to hire a large firm or a small one? Does it matter to you if when you call, you can only speak to a paralegal, as opposed to your lawyer? If you want to be very involved in the case, you should let your lawyer know this upfront. Attorneys all have different styles, so this is something you should discuss. Most lawyers are open to input from their clients, but some might be more bothered by it than others.
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Who Gets Social Security Disability Benefits?
These benefits are intended for people who are coping with a disability that will last for 12 months or more or will result in death. Additionally, you must have worked for five or more years out of the last ten. While it might sound like it’d be simple to get benefits, that’s not always the case. The Social Security Administration might disagree that what you have is actually considered a disability. It’s important to note that if your application is denied, you only have a limited amount of time to file an appeal. If you miss the deadline, you could be out of luck. This is why it’s smart to consult with and find experienced Social Security Disability lawyers in Alpharetta, GA before you apply. This way, you can speak with them right away if your claim is denied, and they can start working on your case immediately.
What Are the Stages of the Appeal Process
The following are the stages of the appeals process:
- Reconsideration. If your initial claim is denied, your claim will be reviewed by a disability examiner. They will decide if they are going to approve or again deny the claim.
- Administrative Law Judge. You have the option to present (or have your lawyer present) your case in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). At least fifty percent of claims that have been previously denied are successfully approved at this stage.
- Appeals Council: If your claim is not approved by the ALJ at this point, you can appeal to the Appeals Council. They will review the ALJ’s decision.
- Federal Courts: If your claim is denied by the Appeals Council, you can then file a civil case in federal court.
Can I Hire Social Security Disability Lawyers in Alpharetta, GA Lawyer at Any Time?
Anytime you do business with the Social Security Administration, you are permitted to have a representative – an attorney or a non-attorney. Once you appoint a representative, they can take the following actions on your behalf:
- Obtain information from your Social Security file
- Assist you in getting medical records or other information to support your claim
- Attend interviews, conferences, or hearings with you
- Request a reconsideration, hearing, or Appeals Council review
- Prepare you and your witnesses for the hearing
What Happens if I File a Lawsuit in Federal Court?
If you appealed a denial of your social security benefits and the decision was not reversed, and you disagree with the denial, you can take one final action—filing a civil suit in Federal district court. This is the final level of the appeals process.
In order to file the claim, you need to file it in the district court of the United States in the judicial district where you reside or where your principal place of business is located. When you file a civil action in Federal court, you are required to send copies of the complaint you filed, as well as the summons that was issued by the court.
Keep in mind, if you wish to file an appeal in Federal court, you must do so within 60 days of receiving the notice of the Council’s decision in the appeal. If you miss this deadline, you will need to start the application process all over again. It could take years for you to get to this point of the application and the appeal process, so missing the deadline would be a very unfortunate error.
The judge who presides over your case will make one of the following decisions:
- Uphold the decision made by the Social Security Disability Appeals Council;
- Remand your case for further review by the Social Security Administration; or
- Grant your Social Security Disability benefits
Do I Have to Pay to File in Federal Court?
Yes, there is a filing fee. However, if the filing fee will be a hardship for you, you can request that the courts waive the fee. This request must be made in writing. There is no guarantee that the request will be granted.
Morgan & Morgan Can Help You Get the Benefits You Are Entitled To
We know how stressful it can be to be disabled and not get the benefits that you’re entitled to. The process of receiving Social Security Disability benefits can be complicated to navigate, so we want to do everything we can to help you. We have many experienced Social Security Disability lawyers in Alpharetta, GA who we can put you in contact with. We have recovered more than $15 billion dollars in compensation for our clients. We always work our hardest to do whatever it takes to get the maximum recovery and the best possible outcome for everyone we represent. We have all the resources of a big firm with the personable feel of a smaller “boutique” firm. Don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free consultation.