As children, we were all told the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In case you need a reminder, it’s the one where a precocious child breaks into the home of three unsuspecting bears, and tries out all their stuff. When the bears return they either eat her, chase her off, or help her find her way home, depending on how much your parents want to scare you that day.
Kids love the story because it is thrilling to think of exploring a bear family’s home, but they also identify with Goldilocks and her quest for things that are “just right.” Children are naturally curious, and their explorations often lead them to things that are too hot or cold, big or little, hard or soft before they find something “just right.”
At some point we all lose our interest in Goldilocks. We may even stop looking for things that are “just right” and just settle for whatever we can get. While that may work well for some things, it is a bad way to pick an attorney to help you make a claim for disability benefits. Finding a disability benefits attorney that is “just right” is worth the extra effort. Here are five tips to aid your search.
A lot of people have a family friend or acquaintance who is an attorney, or have worked with an attorney in the past. Consider reaching out to that attorney and asking them for a referral.
Attorneys, like doctors, tend to have one thing they do a lot of. If someone we know needs help with an area of law we are not as familiar with, we can reach out to our network and find another attorney that does that kind of work all the time.
Be wary of attorneys that suggest they can handle your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application or appeal if that is not the type of work they typically do. Just because someone is a good family law attorney, or helped you purchase a piece of property, does not mean they can quickly learn how to handle disability benefits cases.
Even if you do not know any attorneys you can reach out to, you can still seek a referral. Chances are you have a family member, friend, or colleague who has dealt with the Social Security Administration in the past. Lean on them for support, and advice during this difficult time.
The best thing about this tactic for finding an attorney is that your friends and family are going to give you a candid assessment of the lawyers they have worked with. If they thought someone did a bad job for them, they aren’t going to sugar-coat it.
If you have never worked with an attorney before, and your friends and family don’t know an attorney they would recommend, you may want to contact a state or local bar association for a referral. These groups of attorneys can connect you with one of their members in your area.
It seems like everything can be done online these days, and that includes finding an attorney. However, you should be wary of sites that claim you can fill out an application for disability benefits or file an appeal by clicking a few boxes on their webpage. Online forms are no substitute for personalized legal advice and the help of a seasoned attorney.
The tips above will help you find one or more attorneys, but they will not tell you if you should hire the attorneys you find. In order to figure out which attorney to hire, you should take advantage of the free consultation most if not all disability benefit attorneys in New York City offer.
Put on your Goldilocks hat and find one that is “just right” for you by treating their conversations with you like a job interview. Seek out someone who has knowledge, experience, and gives you the sense that you can trust them with the intimate details of your disability.
Don’t feel like you have to hire the first attorney that agrees to take your case. You should shop around until you find an attorney that you think would do the best job, and that you feel most comfortable with.
If you need assistance filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or appealing an application that has been denied, the Seelig Law Group is here for you. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your case.