20 Aug Why You Should Hire A SSDI Lawyer For A Disability Claim
You may have heard horror stories about veterans just like yourself having problems getting benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. You are probably asking “Should you hire a SSDI lawyer? How do you pick a SSDI lawyer? How much does a SSDI lawyer cost?” We will explain and answer those questions here and break down everything you will need to know about hiring a SSDI lawyer to help you with your disability claim.
With The VA, Should I Hire A Lawyer?
It is always a personal choice, but there are a few things to know. The real reason to hire an attorney is if you believe that they can help you get a better result from the VA on a disability claim that has been denied, or not rated high enough for your liking. That’s it. There is no other good reason.
Secondly, current law prevents a SSDI lawyer from charging you for any assistance in filing an initial claim for VA disability benefits. The ssdi lawyer can only charge you for help when you challenge a VA decision on your disability claim.
Most SSDI lawyers do not work for free. If a lawyers says they will help you file a claim and then charge you for it, they are breaking the law. That said, for someone who needs help filing your claim, you should contact a veterans service organization for free help.
It’s important to find a SSDI lawyer who knows about VA claims and will represent your interests. Here are some of the best questions to ask an attorney.
- How long have you been practicing veterans law?
- When did you last attend a veterans law training?
- Will you represent me all the way through my appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims?
You can use the National Organization of Veterans Advocates (NOVA) website for help in finding a lawyer.
The cost of a SSDI lawyer is always going to vary. Typically these fees will be paid directly out of the any lump-sum payment you get from the VA.
For example, say you filed a disability claim on Jan. 1, 2016 but were denied. On Jan. 1, 2017 you hired a SSDI lawyer and signed a contract for a 20 percent contingency fee. On Jan. 1, 2018, the VA granted you a 100% disability rating retroactive to the original date of filing (Jan. 1, 2016). The retroactive amount is the 100% monthly payment for the period between Jan. 1, 2016, and Jan. 1, 2018 (two years), which is approximately $80,000. The attorney’s fee would be 20% of the $80,000 or $16,000.
Make sure to always read the contract with your lawyer so you know exactly what the agreement is and how the entire process will be working. Any SSDI lawyer who does business nationwide by representing veterans versus the VA isn’t about to lose their accreditation by trying to rip off one veteran
Communicate With Your Lawyer
The first thing you need to know is that you probably won’t find a SSDI lawyer who is local to you. Also, the best fitting lawyer for you most likely will not be local either. Veterans SSDI lawyers work at the federal level so as long as they are certified by VA to represent veterans, you can choose any lawyer. You may never meet your lawyer face to face. They will do all the work for you by mail, email and on the phone if need be.
When choosing a SSDI lawyer make sure to have multiple choices. You should talk to at least 2 or 3 before you sign any contract. Choose a lawyer who is prompt to respond to your questions and eager to discuss your case, someone eager about defending you. If you are shuffled from one paralegal to the next and you aren’t able to speak with the SSDI lawyer, move on to someone else and don’t look back. You will find the right SSDI lawyer eventually.
Free Legal Help Is Always Available
If you are hesitant about paying out a lot of cash for a SSDI lawyer, you should know that free, or pro-bono, legal assistance is widely available to help veterans. The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) provides free legal assistance to veterans appealing a denial of disability benefits to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program provides free representation to veterans who are appealing any case that was rejected by the Board of Veterans Appeals. This includes decisions denying disability benefits. Request help using their contact form or call them at (888) 838-7727 or (202) 628-8164. The GI Hotline is a network of twenty veterans service groups that provides legal assistance with discharge upgrades (as well as other legal issues for veterans and active service members). Call them at (877) 447-4487. Law School Clinics. Some law schools offer veterans free legal assistance from law students who are supervised by attorneys and/or paralegals. Check if a law school in your area has a free legal clinic for veterans.
Legal Rights And Benefits Knowledge
Always keep your eyes open, be aware and get what you are entitled to and deserve. Make sure to keep up with all the legal benefits available to you as a service member, veteran, or spouse by signing up for a free Military.com membership, which will send all the latest information straight to your inbox, as well as give you access to up-to-date legal benefits and more.