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Ssdi Attorney Wants Me To Pay Expenses

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I got denied for SSDI, and rather than deal with it anymore I called a few lawyers. I just got the paperwork from one of them, and in the contract I have to agree to pay for all expenses:

"In addition to attorney fees, I agree to pay my attorneys for reasonable expenses that they pay in my case. These may include long-distance telephone calls, medical records, photocopying and the like. I will get a bill for these expenses and I will pay these expenses when invoiced, billed or notified of a charge. I agree to pay expenses whether my case is won or lost."

I've never used a lawyer on a contingency basis before. Aren't these expenses part of the attorney's cost of doing business? And who pays long distance telephone charges anymore?

Plus, they sent me a stack of papers to fill out. I kind of thought that was why I was using an attorney, so I wouldn't have to do all this anymore. I already went through a lengthy phone interview with them....

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Find another lawyer! Most lawyers take their cut out of your retro. There are plenty out there so dumb this guy.

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Thanks, John. I just called Allsup, and they won't take me because it's been so long since I worked. They flat out told me I don't qualify for SSDI.

So now I'm wondering if this attorney is just looking to milk me for a while, then even if they lose my case they'll have been getting money all along from me.


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I got denied for SSDI, and rather than deal with it anymore I called a few lawyers.


What did SSA state was the reason for your denial of SSDI ?

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  • HadIt.com Elder

When applying for SSD you have to be sure and use the date you last worked and not the filing date. Many make this mistake get denied and lose out on earned benefits.

As far as the lawyer asking you to pay expenses he probably thinks that they have a long shot.

You can negotiate by setting a limit.

I would call the lawyer and ask what is the typical amount and if reasonable say that you will pay up to X amount but no more.

Good Luck

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Sorry for the denial Hedgey, but 2/3 of us are denied on the first go-round.

Definitely skip that lawyer; there are others who won't ask for money regardless.

We need to know reason for denial to help more.

You can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to see if you're eligible for benefits by your pay history.

Chin up! :smile:

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Carlie, the disapproval letter says that I failed to show that I was disabled before 2003, which would have been 5 years since I last worked.

Pete, I did use my last date that I worked. The lawyer told me that the SSA probably disapproved me automatically because I was outside the 'normal' limits for filing.

I'll call the attorney and ask about what the expenses usually come to, etc. See how she responds.<br><br>Edited to add:<br><br>Kelly, sorry I missed your post.&nbsp; I guess the basic problem is that I stopped working 12 years ago, and should have filed before the end of 2003.&nbsp; I did see a doctor for my mental health problems during the 5-year period, that's why the lawyer agreed to take my case.<br><br>I hate trying to figure out if I can trust someone... it's agony for me. :(<br>

Edited by hedgey
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Well, I just called the attorney's office and talked to the legal assistant who's supposed to be handling my case. She says there's "no telling what the expenses might amount to, but that they usually aren't that high." She also said that I need to hurry and get the paperwork signed and back to them, and that I'll need to go to my doctors and get my records myself.

Crud, that's what I was hoping the attorney would take care of. I'm not good at talking to people, and I'm sure not good at going places, and I get totally sick just thinking about asking someone for something. It doesn't matter if it's rightfully mine. That's why I didn't file in the first place, and why it took me so many years to get into the VA system and even file a claim with them. :unsure:

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I have to agree with Bravo, Hedgey. Look for another attorney. Whenever they are vague and want you to do the work, there is a good chance they will do little, charge you for the max they can and make you do the labor. I had that problem with setting up a living trust for my Dad with the attorney he had chosen.

Have you checked them out with the Bar Association to see if there are any filings against them? How much success have they had with SSD's like this? Any references they can give?

Have you asked fellow veterans if they know of good attorneys? Maybe at a Veteran organization or center?

What about at a senior citizen center? Maybe there are people there who can steer you to someone.

It sounds as if you don't like or trust these people either. That is not a good mental attitude to have if you want them to handle the case. :) You won't rest easy if you have to do their work and watch every move they make.

I hope you can find someone in whom you can have confidence.


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  • HadIt.com Elder

Many County or State Bar Associations maintain lists of recommended attorneys for various specialities. Many of these same organizations also have referral-capability to find you even pro-bono legal assistance. Some Countys have Legal Aide as do some Bar Associations (google legal aid).

A lot of the legal aide programs will charge very little or none and are filled with young, very capable, attorneys that are really quite good. They may very well charge the same percentage rate that is allowed by the SS Administration (20 - 30%, something like that.........).

Check 'em out>

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  • HadIt.com Elder

It's not unusual for them to request you to cover out of pocket expenses. Generally items such as routine phone calls and copies are included in their fee. They should be the one's getting your records but you could assist, which could expedite them receiving them. I recommend you go to www.nosscr.org and find someone, in your area, certified by NOSSCR. I had excellent service w/the atty I found thru them. Less than 8 months from the time I signed until the ALJ awarded my claim but this was back in 1999, and I was awarded 7 yrs retro.


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Thanks for all the advice, everyone. PR, I've gone to the NOSSCR site and will call for a referral.

I think what I dislike most about this law firm is that I began by working with a paralegal who was very compassionate and patient with me while I blundered through my situation and she took my information. She said that she would be working with me and that she had a great deal of experience dealing with PTSD and vets. Then that was the last time I spoke to her because they passed my case to a young girl who is clearly impatient and abrupt with me. When I asked about the possible costs, she sighed before she explained that there was no way to tell... made me feel like I was asking a tween how to work an Ipod and they were weary of dealing with dotty old farts.

soooo.... if I can find another attorney to take my case, I'll be leaving this one behind.

Thanks again, everyone.

Hmmmm.... I wonder if it will help my case that my VA progress notes repeatedly mention that I've been suffering from PTSD for years and that I have been unable to work because of it. Guess maybe, but maybe not. IDK. Those notes all start in 2008, well past the due date.

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