5 Things to Consider When Finding a Social Security Lawyer

Hiring a representative (lawyer or advocate) for a Social Security case in Tallahassee or anywhere in Florida or Georgia can be a difficult and important decision. Representatives can speak to Social Security on behalf of their clients, research Social Security law and policy, give advice, and represent their clients are hearings before a Social Security Administrative Law Judge.  The following five questions are good to consider when deciding to hire a representative:

What are your goals?

Many people hire a representative to help with an application for Social Security Disability benefits and some cases can involve a large number of medical records and take a long time for Social Security to decide. Representatives handle a broad range of Social Security matters such as applying for retirement or survivor’s benefits, other public benefits issues, family law matters, estate planning, mental health law or issues a claimant may encounter once they are already receiving benefits. Be sure to identify your goals and ask a potential representative about their experience with the type of problem you are having.  In my Tallahassee office, I meet with people regularly who have ancillary matters related to how their social security (SSI or SSDI) benefits will affect their family law, elder law, or Long-Term Disability insurance claims with which I am experienced.

Should you hire a representative?

If you are applying for disability benefits and have complicated problems, are denied benefits for which you believe you qualify, or want more personalized advice, you may want to consider hiring a representative. The Social Security Administration has added many features to their website that make more straightforward cases easier. But it is often dealing with such a large, understaffed, and overworked bureaucracy.  A hired representative can talk to Social Security on your behalf, which can be especially important if you have trouble communicating or traveling.  Additionally, a disability lawyer in Tallahassee, FL, such as myself can provide significant guidance as to how to ensure the evidentiary record is developed to present your best case if and when your case makes it in front of a Judge.

Is the representative a lawyer?

Non-lawyers can handle almost every issue with a claim for benefits, but they cannot represent clients in federal court. It is important to discuss the training of any representative in the law in general and in particular, about Social Security law and policy.  There is only one Tallahassee social security disability lawyer recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a Rising Star who is AV-rated by Martindale Hubble and rated Superior by Avvo.com.  In fact, for the past two years, Matt Liebenhaut is the only Social Security Disability attorney in Florida recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a Rising Star.

How does the representative get paid?

In most cases, the client and representative will sign a fee agreement that explains the payment process. Most representatives work on a contingency fee basis, meaning the client only pays if they win benefits. Fees are often paid directly out of back benefits, which is money Social Security determines is owed to the claimant for the months before they came to a decision. Social Security will review the agreement, pay the representative, and give the rest of the money to the claimant. It is always wise to review and discuss a fee agreement before signing it and to save a copy in case questions arise at a later time.  Almost all representatives are paid 25% of the backpay they recover for you, capped at $6,000.00.  Almost all Florida and Georgia lawyers practicing social security disability have the same payment terms- 25% of backpay recovered for you, capped at $6,000.00 with you paying nothing unless they win your case.

Is there a representative who can assist you?

Not all representatives take every case that comes through their doors- sometimes they do not have the time or expertise to meet your needs, or they do not believe there is sufficient evidence to argue your case. Matt Liebenhaut is a Tallahassee disability and family law attorney at Liebenhaut Law, where treating clients with kindness, respect, and professionalism is our guiding principle. Mr. Liebenhaut ensures to take the time to get to know his clients, hear your concerns and keep you informed.  Call or click today for a free disability case evaluation with a Tallahassee Social Security Disability Attorney.