Important Questions to Ask a Social Security Representative
When someone is denied Social Security benefits, they usually have a lot of questions. It is very important that, once a person is denied, he contact a Social Security attorney as quickly as possible. A Social Security attorney should be able to answer questions about your case and the appeals process.
However, a Social Security claimant should also ask their Social Security Representative these important questions about the terms of their representation and qualifications.
- Are you an attorney?
A Social Security representative is not required to be an attorney. In fact, there are companies that market themselves as "Social Security advocates" or "Social Security representatives." Many of these companies market nationally, and may hire both attorneys and non-attorneys. When a Social Security claimant hires one of these companies, he may be assigned a representative who lacks the training and certification of a licensed attorney. Nonetheless, a non-attorney will charge you the same rate as an attorney!
At McCroskey Law, all of our Social Security representatives are attorneys. As a matter of principle, we do not hire non-attorneys to represent our clients in Social Security hearings.
- Will you show up at my hearing, or will my case be reassigned?
Some Social Security representatives view cases as "volume business." A claimant may meet with a Senior Attorney for their initial interview. However, once the claimant signs on the "dotted line," his case is transferred to another representative, who may be a non-attorney, or is less-experienced. Even worse, the attorney may refer the case to a completely different law firm, and demand a referral fee.
At McCroskey Law, what you see is what you get. If you hire one of our Social Security experts, you can rest assured that the same attorney will represent you at your hearing. There are rare cases where one of our attorneys has to transfer a file at McCroskey Law. However, we will give you adequate notice of the transfer and an opportunity to speak with the new attorney. Your case will never be reassigned to a non-attorney, or an attorney without Social Security experience.
- What do I owe you?
Social Security fees are regulated by Federal law. In other words, all Social Security representatives charge the same rate. However, the Social Security Administration does not regulate case costs.
Case costs are what the attorney spends to develop your case. This may include the cost of medical records, mileage, and independent medical exams. Some Social Security representatives demand a retainer up front before they will represent you. Other representatives may demand reimbursement of their case costs whether you win or lose.
At McCroskey Law, you are responsible to pay your case costs only if you win your case. We have the financial strength to advance your case costs while you wait for a hearing. We never require clients to repay us our case costs if we lose a case.
- How familiar are you with my Social Security hearing office?
National firms may have fancy advertising. However, fancy advertising doesn't outweigh local expertise in the courtroom. A Social Security attorney should be familiar with the expectations of the judges in the local hearing offices. Some judges expect the attorney to file a written brief before the hearing. Others may value the testimony of a treating doctor, or the guidance of a functional capacity evaluation.
At McCroskey Law, our attorneys have years of experience in West and Mid-Michigan. Our attorneys are familiar faces in the local Social Security hearing offices. We also realize that each Social Security case is unique. Our Social Security experts will tailor their arguments to your case, and to the expectations of your judge.
If you have been denied Social Security benefits, contact McCroskey Law for a free consultation.