When you first suffered the illness or injury that left you unable to work, you probably thought applying for disability would be a fairly straightforward, do-it-yourself process. However, whether you have been denied or have simply become overwhelmed by the process, you are now considering hiring an attorney to represent you. Many of our disability clients are meeting with a lawyer for the first time in their lives and they are often nervous and unsure. While there is nothing you absolutely have to do before your initial consultation with us—we are happy to explain everything!—we offer this guide to your first meeting to help put your mind at ease.
Your Free Initial Consultation in New Mexico
At Keller & Keller, we offer a free initial consultation to all of our disability clients. In this meeting, we will explain the disability process and ask you a few questions about your situation. It is not necessary that you bring anything with you, but the more prepared you are to answer these questions, the better able we will be to determine your eligibility. You may want to write down what you know about the following:
- Your education, training, and work history, including start and end dates for jobs you have had over the last 10 years
- What you do at your current job, particularly tasks that are physically demanding
- Whether you have paid into Social Security
- Your medical diagnosis
- A list of your current medications, ongoing treatments, and upcoming procedures or surgeries
- The names and addresses of every doctor you have seen since you stopped working
- A description of your physical limitations, including an estimate of how long you are able to sit and stand, how much weight you can lift and carry, and any other activity relevant to your line of work
- A list of questions you have for us—no question is too basic or too complicated!
We realize that this is a lot of information and you may not have easy access to all of it. Again, in our first consultation, it is not necessary to have gathered all of this information before you come, but the more you know about your disability and work history, the better.
What We Will Do for You
If we believe you have a legitimate claim for disability after our initial free consultation, we will schedule another meeting to discuss your claim in more detail. At that point, we will tell you what you need to bring, which will include much of what is listed above. We will need to confirm that you have paid into the system and have enough work credits to qualify. We will also need to make sure that your condition meets the qualifications set forth by the Social Security Administration as a disabling condition. Finally, we will need to prove that the condition makes it impossible for you to continue in your previous position or in a similar position. We will request your medical records and may send you for additional medical testing.
If you have a hearing, our attorney will review the questions you are likely to be asked and make sure you are prepared to answer them. We will gather the medical and vocational evidence needed to support your claim. We likely will not meet with you until four or five weeks before the hearing, but are happy to answer any question you have at any time.
You Will Not Pay Until We Win
We do not require any up-front payment from our disability clients. You will not owe us anything until you are approved for benefits and back pay. We will make sure you understand our fee structure before we take your case so that there are no surprises. If you are facing a Social Security disability application, do not hesitate to call us for a free consultation. We are here for you when you are facing an uphill battle.