If you become disabled and need the help of a lawyer or disability advocate to help you apply for Social Security disability—or appeal a disability denial—finding someone you feel comfortable with can feel overwhelming. Not only do you need to locate possible representatives that you could hire, but you'll also need to meet, or at least talk to, one or two representatives to find one who's a good match for you.
This article will cover where to find qualified disability lawyers and advocates and how to choose the right one to help you with your Social Security disability claim.
The first step in the process of getting legal help with your Social Security disability claim is finding qualified representatives who can handle your case. There are many resources you can use to find a lawyer or advocate, including the following.
If you have an existing relationship with a lawyer, you can ask that lawyer for a reference to another attorney who has experience with Social Security disability law. Lawyers are generally careful when giving referrals, because if you have a bad experience with the recommended lawyer, it could harm both lawyers' reputations.
Someone you know and trust might have experience with disability lawyers or advocates without your awareness. A family member or friend might know a disability lawyer through a friendship or work relationship. If you can find a family member or a friend to recommend someone they trust, it can help you to feel at ease with that lawyer.
Setting up a free consultation is probably the quickest way to find a lawyer and figure out if you qualify for disability benefits. You'll just need to enter your zip code and answer a few questions about your situation. Our partner, Premier Disability Services, will contact you to arrange a free consultation to see if one of their lawyers can help you win your case.
Every state and county has a Bar Association, which is an organization made up of those in the legal profession. The Bar Association provides services and support to lawyers and to anyone needing a lawyer.
Generally, there is a section on the Bar Association website where you can search for lawyers by their areas of practice. Keep in mind that the lawyers recommended are members of the Bar Association, and the referrals generally aren't based on personal knowledge of the lawyer and their abilities.
Lawyers.com and Avvo.com are two websites that are part of the Nolo family and provide free lawyer directories. These directories allow you to search by location and area of law and list detailed information about lawyers. You can visit the "find a lawyer" pages at lawyers.com or avvo.com to learn more.
When you're injured or recovering from an illness, you might meet other disabled individuals during treatment or rehabilitation sessions at places like:
When you ask someone who's been through the disability process before, you can learn about that person's first-hand experience working with a particular lawyer, disability firm, or disability advocate. You can get helpful, objective information by asking:
Once you have the names of some lawyers or advocates who could help with your disability claim, you'll want to talk with each of them before choosing one. Set up appointments to meet with them. Generally, representatives will agree to a phone call with you for free to speak with you about your claim and to decide if they're able to take your case. But first, you may need to talk to staff members, who will ask you basic questions about your eligibility for benefits.
You'll want to ask about the lawyer's experience with Social Security disability cases and with cases like yours. Below are some things you should look for when hiring a disability lawyer or advocate.
Learn more about what to discuss and the questions you should ask when you sit down with a disability lawyer for a free consultation.
As you go through the process of finding a disability representative, it's important to understand the role of a disability lawyer. Your lawyer's job isn't to tell you what you want to hear. Instead, your lawyer's there to provide you with a realistic view of the pros and cons of your claim and to use their knowledge and skill set to help you to get Social Security disability benefits, if possible.