Selecting an attorney for your Social Security Disability case is an important decision. You worked for years to earn the right to receive income replacement in the event you became unable to work, and need to make sure the Social Security Administration understands why you are entitled to your benefits.
Most likely, you have never been through this process before. For that reason, it can be confusing to select a representative. Some people may retain an attorney who only “dabbles” in Social Security Disability. Others may hire an impersonal national law firm that assigns a “non-attorney representative” to your case. But wise claimants hire an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability. Here is why the third choice is best:
The Dabbler: A General Attorney
The Dabbler may be a very good, trustworthy attorney. Maybe they handled another legal issue for you in the past, like a will or divorce. Or maybe the attorney has several jury trials under their belt. That’s great - we need attorneys who handle these matters. However, someone who only “dabbles” in Social Security Disability is not the right choice for your case.
The biggest mistake The Dabbler makes is to focus on making an emotional argument to your judge. The Dabbler thinks that all that is necessary is to present your impairments and limitations in a sympathetic way and thinks the judge will just “do the right thing.”
What the Dabbler doesn’t understand is that the judges hear literally hundreds of these stories every year, and the national average for approvals at the hearing level is under 50%. Most cases are denied the first time. Judges only approve cases in which the applicable rules and regulations indicate an approval. Keller & Keller’s attorneys are well-versed in important rules like the Listings of Impairments and Medical-Vocational Guidelines and will make arguments on your behalf which not only have emotional appeal, but which are solidly grounded in a legal theory which a judge can apply to approve your case.
The Non-Attorney Representative
Non-attorney representatives are professionals who represent people applying for disability. The requirements for a non-attorney representative are set forth via the Social Security Administration and these advocates are widely utilized by large, national law firms. Though allowable by the SSA, non-attorney representatives are not held to the same ethical standards as attorneys. Your communications with non-attorney representatives are not subject to the same confidentiality protections as your communications with attorneys. The non-attorney representative model was intended to maximize profits for the company by hiring lower-cost representatives. It was not designed with your best interests at heart.
While the non-attorney may be intelligent and have a better grasp of the important rules than The Dabbler, there is one important thing a non-attorney representative cannot do - appeal your case to federal court.
Most judges are sincere and want to make the right decisions. However, without the threat of a federal court appeal, all the non-attorney representative can do is to throw your case upon the mercy of the judge. Keller & Keller’s Social Security attorneys will take a case as far as necessary to obtain the right result for a client.
The Social Security Disability Attorney
Keller & Keller’s Social Security Disability attorneys all specialize in Social Security Disability cases; it is what they do – all day, every day. They know how to make the rules-based arguments that appeal to judges and are prepared to appeal your case to federal court if a judge makes an unfair decision.
In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell writes that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in a given field. Our attorneys have that, and then some. The Non-Attorney Representative didn’t spend hours in a law school library grappling with difficult materials. The Dabbler hasn’t spent 10,000 hours working on Social Security cases. Your case is important, and you deserve an expert with more than 10,000 hours under their belt.
While we have handled literally thousands of cases, all of our clients are special to us. Our attorneys will tell you that they still remember clients from years ago and are happy to hear from them if they call in with a question or to refer a friend or family member. We love hearing about the positive way our legal services have impacted our clients lives.
At Keller & Keller, we have been fighting for our clients since 1936. Let our power and experience fight for you.