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John Robert Heard

John Heard’s Answers

1 total

  • I am filing for disability right now, would now be the time to seek a lawyer or after I receive disability?

    Shortly after I had my daughter I was diagnosed with severe anxiety, and major depression. I also have had diabetes for 13 years now, I had signed my parenting rights over because I was tricked into doing so, I want to get my daughter back, I live...

    John’s Answer

    You asked: "I am filing for disability right now, would now be the time to seek a lawyer or after I receive disability?"
    I have been representing Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants for 40 years. Based on that experience I would urge you to hire a lawyer sooner, rather than later.
    You will be filling out forms for the Social Security Administration, and providing a lot of information about your medical providers, your prior work, your activities of daily living (ADLs), etc. If you don't do that correctly, your answers could make it more difficult to win your case on the initial application and on appeal. There is a good chance you will have to appeal, since the national allowance rate on initial application is only 32%.
    The fee your lawyer will charge you is typically 25% of your back award. If you win your case at the initial application level or on reconsideration (the first appeal), your back award will be much less than if you have to go to a hearing. That is because it is taking a very long time to get hearings scheduled these days. (It is currently taking 14 months in the West Des Moines, Iowa hearing office). If you hire a lawyer while your case is still at the state agency at the initial application or reconsideration level, you will get your benefits much sooner and pay a smaller fee than if you have to go to a hearing.
    A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report showed that claimants who are represented have a better chance of winning their benefits: http://www.ssdisabilityassistance.com/pdf/GAO-report-withholding.pdf

    So, I would urge you to find an experienced Social Security disability lawyer to help you file your application, and to represent you in case you have to appeal. Good luck.

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