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What is a Free Consultation in a Northern Minnesota Social Security Disability Case?

Okay, maybe this seems like a really silly question. However, if you are considering calling a lawyer about a social security disability case,  you probably want to make sure that you are not going to receive a bill, at any time, for anything.  Free should mean free, right?

I can’t speak for any other law firm, but at Bradt Law Offices, a free consultation for your social security disability case means just that – A FREE CONSULTATION.  I don’t know how to say it any more clearly.

A consultation might mean a simple phone conversation to discuss your claim. The phone call is free.  No charge.

If we discuss your claim on the phone and decide to schedule a meeting, the meeting is also free.  No charge.  We can meet in our office, in the hospital or at your home.  Free.  No charge.

In all seriousness, I hope that I have made my point.  If you contact us about your claim, you will never be charged for a phone call, a meeting or any other type of consultation about your claim.  It makes no difference whether we take your case, or not.  If you hire us, we will pay the necessary expenses to obtain medical records and reports, expert opinions, etc.  You will only be asked to reimburse us if we win your case. Unless you have a very unusual case or we make different arrangements with you, you will never get a bill from us or be asked to pay us any money out of your own pocket before the successful end of your case.

Contingent Fee Arrangements for all Social Security Disability Claims

In Social Security Disability cases, attorney fees are set by law and we only get paid if we win.  Not only are the fees contingent on our success, but our fees are controlled by law and must be approved by a Social Security Judge.   Attorney fees are 25% of any back benefits we recover for you, up to a maximum fee of $6000.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Experienced Legal Advice

If you have any questions, at any time, about a possible Social Security Disability claim, please don’t be afraid to call or e-mail us.   We are happy to help and will always give you an honest opinion, based on 28 years of experience helping injured people all across northern Minnesota and on the Iron Range.

Oh, and one more thing – the coffee is free, too.

Was this post helpful?  Did it answer your questions?  If you would like to contact us for a free consultation or to send us an email, CLICK HERE.

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What Happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing?

If you have applied for Social Security disability benefits and are reading this article, then your claim has probably been denied. If that’s the case, you are definitely in the majority, because most disability claims are initially denied.

After receiving your initial denial, you may have already requested a reconsideration and been denied again. Now it’s time to request a hearing, which will be held before a Social Security Administrative Law Judge (referred to as an ALJ).  So what happens at one of these hearings?

First of all, you should understand that yours will be only one of several hearings that the Administrative Law Judge will hear that day.  Therefore, the hearings are relatively brief, typically lasting one hour or less.

Where Will the Hearing Be Held?  For claims here in northern Minnesota, hearings are generally held at the Federal Courthouse in Duluth. There may be some exceptions where your hearing is scheduled for Minneapolis, Bemidji or some other location, depending on where you live.  Until just recently, hearings were also held in Hibbing.  The hearing may be held in the presence of a “live”  ALJ, or, by videoconference. Presently, many of the northern Minnesota hearings are being held by videoconferences conducted by judges out of the St. Louis Social Security office.

What Happens at a Hearing?  The judge and your representative will discuss some preliminary matters, such as when you are claiming that you became disabled and what medical exhibits and other evidence are in the hearing record.  The Judge will then ask you some questions about your employment history, the nature and extent of your disabling conditions, your medical treatment and your typical daily activities.  When the judge has completed his or her examination, your representative will then have the opportunity to ask you some additional questions to supplement or clarify any of the issues in your case.

Who Else Is Present at a Hearing?  Whether the judge is in the courtroom or appearing by videoconference, the other persons typically participating in a hearing will be you, your representative, sometimes a vocational expert and sometimes a medical expert.  Some judges always have medical or vocational experts, or both, at the hearings.  Each judge has his or her particular preference, so there may or may not be experts present at your particular hearing. Once your testimony is finished,  the vocational and/or medical experts will provide testimony in response to questions from the judge and your representative. Their testimony will deal with your functional limitations, medical impairments, employment history and ability to perform particular jobs or types of employment.

When Will You Get a Decision?  Sometimes, the judge will issue a favorable decision during or at the conclusion of your hearing.  Or, the judge may offer you a “deal”,  by determining that you are disabled in exchange for you changing your claimed disability date.  If that happens, your representative can explain your options and advise you whether you should accept any proposed deal from the judge.  Usually, however, you’ll have to wait for a written decision, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

What Can Bradt Law Offices Do for You?  If we represent you in a Social Security disability claim, there are a number of things we will do for you.  We will gather your medical records and submit them to Social Security to make sure that all relevant and available records are considered in your disability claim.  We may also ask your doctors for specific reports or disability forms that we can submit as well.  We will meet with you before the hearing and provide you with an outline of the types of questions you may be asked at the hearing and prepare you to respond to those questions.

We appear with you at the hearing, make sure that you understand your claim and the process, answer any questions the judge might have about the claim and cross-examine the medical or vocational witnesses on your behalf.  Finally, we only get paid if we win.  Our fees are 25% of any back pay you receive if you are found to be disabled.  We don’t receive any percentage of your ongoing or future benefits.

If you have any questions about a pending claim, or if you are simply considering whether to file for Social Security disability benefits, please feel free to contact us for your free consultation. We are always happy to review your claim and give you our honest opinion about your chance of success.

Was this post helpful?  Did it answer your questions?  If you would like to contact us for a free consultation or to send us an email, CLICK HERE.

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This blog/website is intended to provide general information and is not intended to substitute for individual legal counsel on any specific problem. No attorney-client relationship is created or intended to be created by use or viewing of this blog/website. Any visitor seeking specific legal advice should contact an attorney. Any links provided from this site, other than to Bradt Law Offices, are for informational purposes only. We have no control over and make no warranties as to the accuracy of information contained on any linked sites. The information presented on this website is based on the laws of the state of Minnesota. Anyone viewing this website who resides outside of the state of Minnesota should be aware that the laws in their state may differ. Every effort has been made to present accurate and current information on this blog/website. If you have a question about the accuracy of any of the information presented here, please contact Bradt Law Offices at 218-327-1235.