For an attorney, here are some leads - get one who knows what he is doing (not necessarily a TV ad lawyer). You may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact your local legal aid office if you cannot afford an attorney.
You may also contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is www.nosscr.org.
In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. While I do not see any certified lawyers in Nevada, here are some California certified lawyers:
The letter you likely received is a form letter - they almost always say they will review a claim for a possible favorable decision, but having been denied once, that is not likely to happen. And, as for needing an attorny - I recommend having an attorney at hearings. Reading a book for an appeal is one thing (congrats to you) but cross-examining a medical expert or vocational expert is a totally different matter. And SSA is working hard to deny even more claims (approval rates have dropped from 60% =/- to about 40% in the past 12 to 18 months), so you wil need and want all the help you can get.
Best of luck to you.
The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Yes, retain counsel without delay. What you won at the Appeals Council is the right to present more evidence. The reason legal assistance was not available for the appeal could well be that no attorney wanted to be limited to arguing the evidence that had been submitted. An adept attorney will prepare in earnest for the remand hearing. Too many (including attorneys who should know better) don't recognize that you can't pull the rabbit of a benefit award out of the hearing hat without stuffing it in first. Adept attorneys don't just go to the hearing and let the client talk. They work with treating physicians and others who know the claimants impairments and submit proper evidence. Your efforts have earned a do-over.
One detail to be managed with a new attorney is entitlement to the attorney's fee. Your new attorney will want to confirm that your first attorney has released any claim to any ultimate fee.
Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.
This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
You definitely need to look for an attorney ASAP. An experienced social security attorney is probably going to belong to NOSSCR, so start your search there.
Good luck and congratulations on winning your appeal.
DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.