Picking a disability attorney

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Chloe, Sep 17, 2002.

  1. Chloe

    Chloe New Member


    I recently had a psychological evaluation at the request of the SSA agent handling my disability claim. The psychologist said that she knew what kind of tests I needed to reveal the mental problems that I stated I'm having; however, she could only do what the SSA had asked her to do and that was not going to show what I needed. She said that if I was denied, not to give up. I should get an attorney and have the necessary tests administered. Then I asked about selecting an attorney since I am new in the area -- near Altoona, PA. She said that the SSA prefers to work with certain attorneys and that they (the SSA) could give me names of attorneys if I called them. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me. Any opinions?

    The information I had at the onset of this crazy FM stuff indicated that I should not get an attorney until "if and when" I was denied SSA disability benefits the first time. Maybe that was bad info?
  2. Chloe

    Chloe New Member


    I recently had a psychological evaluation at the request of the SSA agent handling my disability claim. The psychologist said that she knew what kind of tests I needed to reveal the mental problems that I stated I'm having; however, she could only do what the SSA had asked her to do and that was not going to show what I needed. She said that if I was denied, not to give up. I should get an attorney and have the necessary tests administered. Then I asked about selecting an attorney since I am new in the area -- near Altoona, PA. She said that the SSA prefers to work with certain attorneys and that they (the SSA) could give me names of attorneys if I called them. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me. Any opinions?

    The information I had at the onset of this crazy FM stuff indicated that I should not get an attorney until "if and when" I was denied SSA disability benefits the first time. Maybe that was bad info?
  3. Milo83

    Milo83 New Member

    I was told the same thing..Don't get an attorney until (&if) you are denied first time around..The attorney later even told me that himself..He said, in most cases, people are denied the first time around regardless of an attorney or not..You are not too far away from me - near Allentown, PA here...Is Altoona near Pottsville..That is where my attorney was from........
    Take Care..........Donna
  4. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I hired my attorney before even filing. He told me that I would be turned down and that the review would be negative as well. Waiting until you have been turned down two times is not the best way to approach this. My attorney has been working hard getting my medical records, having me keep a log of my appointments and medications, and having my docs fill out a questionnaire in which they state that I am disabled according to the SS's own Listing 1.02.

    When the hearing is finally set, he will get a copy of SS's case against me so we can find any weaknesses in my case and fix them before it goes to court. This cannot wait until the hearing date is set. Most lawyers just wait and see SS's case five minutes before the hearing. That is too late.

    Start interviewing attorneys now who specialize in disability cases. A good atty. should have a high win ratio (50 percent of all SS cases are granted without any work on the atty's part; a good atty. will have a ratio in the high 80's low 90's). If your atty. tells you to see a particular doc, do it. That means that doc knows how to document your illness. Patients who suffer from depression and seek therapy and patients who take narcotics stand a higher chance of winning.

    Realize from the start that this procedure has nothing to do with fairness or logic. It's a game that SS plays. You need to find an atty. who can beat SS at its own game. For anyone who has tried to live an ethical and honest life, taking this point of view is difficult but necessary in order to win. I'm not suggesting that you do anything unethical, but playing SS's game does leave a bad taste. Honest people expect to be believed; SS treats people as though they are all slackers. Logic would dictate that a person like me would have nothing to gain by leaving my high-paying job to try to exist on SS's paltry payments. Logic, unfortunately, has nothing to do with winning SSD.

    Waiting and hoping is the biggest mistake people make. Half will get their SS anyway and half will not. Getting an attorney will vastly increase your odds of being in the winning category. Good luck.

    Love, Mikie
  5. JannyW

    JannyW New Member

    for your words of wisdom. I got my denial letter on Monday, started drafting a letter to SSA (to attach to my reconsideration forms) that nite, and am getting the forms for the doctors to complete. I've been debating about an attorney, mostly because my partner didn't use one & got approved 2nd time out ... but she doesn't have fibro either. I'll probably start making calls later today.

    Your comment about SSA treating everyone as though they were slackers really hit home ... after reading the letter I was really angry. They listed all the things I supposedly can do for myself and told me I could still work. Problem was ... all of the things they listed are things I CANNOT do anymore. Makes you wonder what they looked at. Anyway, after reading this letter I felt like pond scum for about 30 seconds ... then I got mad.

    More determined than ever ...
    Jan ^v^




  6. teach6

    teach6 New Member

    Mikie has given you wonderful advise. Another place to look for an attorney is a local support group. Ask people there who have won their disability cases for the name of their attorneys. That's what I did.

    I had already heard that he was great at winning CFIDS cases. Then he came to a meeting and made a presentation and let us ask questions. I discovered that the one reason I had held off hiring an attorney was not a valid one. I called him the next week and he is now helping me with my case.

    He sent me to a specific psychologist to have a neuro/psych exam. This guy was wonderful and knew all the right things to do to document my cognitive problems.

    He also wants me to send all papers I prepare for SSA to him for approval before sending them to SSA. One of my goals this week is to finish some that have been sitting on my table for too long, due to a family crisis.

    Good luck with your case.

    Barbara
  7. kckitty

    kckitty New Member

    forget what the flaks at the ssa office said about not needing a lawyer . they must be on commission to lead people away from attorneys.I have an appt to fill out the form that I will be taking to ssa to register but he is going to look over my answers first. you can downlead alot of stuff at www.ssa.gov including the form you will need when they answer questions. when yo get a lawyer call around for the ssa disability lawyers not disability lawyers who help when you have signed up for long and short term disability-Metlife has screwed me royally regarding my claim. its been over a year-now I have an attorney working
    on it ( a different lawyer) you dont pay unless they get $$$ for you. some ssa lawyers wont help until you get denied but one guy felt sorry for me cuz I take morphine for pain. he said he didnt know anyone who took morphine unless they had cancer- which I dont have but I must have a very high tolerance for narcotc drugs. as much as I hate the shrink she is the only one to write me scrips for morphine,. percocet, etc.
    good luck-dont go in blind download the form and check it out. it takes an average of 104 days before you hear anything and I am living off my 401K which is going to run out next year.
  8. Nana2Andromeda

    Nana2Andromeda New Member

    I was denied three times and I got a lawyer. I just got the called yesterday......I have been approved, going back two years.

    Good Luck
    Donna
  9. NANCEA

    NANCEA New Member

    I was turned down 2 times and was approved the 3rd, time. The 1st. time I was turned down the letter they wrote me made me feel like dirt. I was hurt and dissapointed, then after a few months I got mad! I reapplied and was turned down again. Then I really got mad and wrote a letter several pages long and told them exactly how I felt. I was approved the 3rd time. I did it on my own. I received 3years back pay. I think they try to break you down thinking you'll give up. Don't let thm get to you. With these DD you have to fight all the time if you don't you'll get walked on.