Q: How can an average person know how successful a disability lawyer has been in getting people approved for SSDI?
This is a great question! The average person will have difficulty being absolutely sure how many cases their attorney wins. Issues that will offset this is how often an attorney will accept social security cases. Some choose to accept every case that comes in the door. This does not mean they are less skilled, but they will lose more cases than the attorney that carefully picks only cases that have a high expectation of winning.
The best attorneys will do only social security disability in their practice. The only exception to this is the companies that handle thousands of cases a year and the attorneys only do a little work on the case. The attorney should always be the one representing you at the hearings. Ask if that always happens. If not, they aren't really the ones doing the work and your case will sometimes be handled by people who know very little but are getting trained on your case!
There is no data on individual disability attorney wins Social Security cases that I have found, but there is data on how a disability attorney or representative can improve your chances of being allowed disability benefits. In the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report GAO-18-37: Published: Dec 7, 2017. Publicly Released: Jan 8, 2018, GAO found that disability claimants who had an attorney or other representative to help them were allowed benefits at a rate nearly three times higher than those without representation. See https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/688823.pdf. This data shows how important it is to have a disability attorney help you with your case.
One way to locate a successful disability attorney is to find out his or level of expertise in Social Security law. Review the attorney profiles of those who practice Social Security disability on Justia and other reliable websites. See what articles or presentations the attorney has made that shows he or she really knows this area of the law. Consult with a disability lawyer to answer any questions you may have to evaluate the level of service that will be provided to you. A successful attorney will be readily be able to identify relevant legal issues in your disability claim and find an approach to address it. It is a very good idea to hire a disability lawyer before you file your initial disability application with Social Security.
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