Can We Talk? You Bet We Can

handshakeOn many disability law firms’ web sites, you click on a chat box and carry on a virtual conversation with a faceless representative at that firm. But keep this in mind:

  • Is that person a lawyer? Probably not (especially if the word “advocate” is in the company title).
  • Will I get to see a lawyer? Sure you will — a few minutes before the hearing.
  • Can I at least talk to a lawyer? Probably not. These firms have more important things to do than talk with a client — or at least think they do.
  • How do I hire these firms? Through the mail, most likely. You sign the contract and send it back. No handshake, no eye contact.

At our law firm, you see an attorney at your first visit. This may be considered “hand holding” by firms who rely almost entirely on the Web for their clientele. And that’s just fine with us. We are here — to hold your hand if necessary. That is part of our job. In fact, you will probably see an attorney multiple times with our firm.

We are a local business. You can come right into our office. Many national Internet companies farm cases out to local attorneys shortly before the hearing. That means you won’t meet the person representing you until the day of the hearing. And remember, these companies’ “representatives” are not necessarily attorneys.

Many of these firms lead you on, then drop you before the hearing, leaving you to fend for yourself. Plenty of our clients came to us because they ended up in that very situation. We very seldom withdraw on cases before the hearing unless the client has failed to cooperate or their chances are VERY weak.

We aren’t in the numbers game — getting as many clients calling as possible, then taking only the very strongest cases. This is known as “cherry picking.” We are NOT cherry pickers. We interview you and tell you at the outset whether or not you have a winnable case, rather than having someone with no disability background give you the brushoff on the phone.

Disability is serious business. It may take a long time to obtain results. Do you really want to take your chances with an unknown individual who may be many miles away? Many firms boast in their ads that they are national outfits. We boast that we are a local outfit. It may sound convenient to never have to go into an office when filing your disability appeal, but we hear many people who lost their cases complain that they never got a chance to speak with their representative or spoke to them right before the hearing. We try to prepare our clients well before their hearings. It takes more time, doesn’t get us any more money, but we think it’s worth it — for our clients and their cases.

Still considering hiring a national firm? Think about it. Then let’s talk.

 

 

 

 

Kidney Disease and Disability

Close up of social security applicationChronic kidney disease may be more common than you think. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in 3 Americans run the risk of enduring kidney problems for a variety of reasons: diabetes, hypertension or family history among them. More than 26 million people already suffer from it, but many of us don’t realize it because symptoms often don’t manifest themselves until the disease has progressed to a certain point.

Grounds for disability?

For Social Security Disability purposes, kidney problems are considered part of the genitourinary class of impairments. While having kidney disease doesn’t always guarantee you will be considered disabled, you may be awarded benefits if you can show that the limitations it causes keeps you from working. Kidney disease often causes bone pain or neuropathy, resulting in discomfort too great for someone to hold a job; fatigue; swelling; or shortness of breath. SSA Disability also may be granted if your failing kidneys have caused congestive heart failure or stroke. And like any disability claim, non-medical factors such as your age, skill and education will be taken into account.

What about dialysis?

If you receive dialysis treatment at least three times a week (and have been undergoing dialysis for 12 months or anticipate continuing it for 12 months), you automatically qualify as disabled under Social Security regulations. Ditto if you’ve had a kidney transplant. A transplant recipient will be awarded 12 months of disability, but benefits will be reviewed after one year, looking at things like kidney rejection, infections, side effects of medication and the condition of other vital organs. So even if you are awarded benefits, it’s important to keep a history of your post-transplant treatment. Also, depending on the medical evidence, SSA may decide you were considered disabled due to kidney disease even before the dialysis or transplant occurred, resulting in a larger sum of back benefits.

Where’s the proof?

As with all disability cases, the proof is in the medical records. It’s important that all treatment be considered: hospital stays, doctor visits, lab work, biopsies. Providing a clear, consistent, reliable history of physician visits is crucial to winning a claim for disability for a kidney disorder.

Help is here when, and if, you need it

If you have CKD and have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, we can evaluate your claim and see what, if anything, went wrong and if there are grounds for appeal. If you have not yet applied, we can also tell you whether you can make a good case for benefits. Again, if you meet the criteria for automatic disability, you may not need our help — but we’re here if you do.