What to Do if You Are a Disability Attorney
or Non-Attorney Disability Representative and Want Chermol & Fishman to
Win a Case for You in Federal Court.
Who do we help and where?
Our firm works with attorneys and non-attorney representatives across the country on a daily basis to bring federal court appeals in disability cases (SSD/DIB – Title II & SSI – Title XVI) after the Appeals Council has denied a request for review. We do not believe you will find another firm in the nation with a reputation like ours in the disability community. We will litigate disability appeals in every jurisdiction throughout the entire country. Never say “I wish you were in my area,” because we already are (and we are winning there 🙂 ).
How do we get started?
It is very simple really. We ask that you follow the procedure below and we will always get you a response back by email:
- Work exclusively by email (not by phone calls or fax) and include the claimant’s last name in the subject line
- Send the email to [email protected]
- Attach the ALJ decision to the email
- Attach the AC denial to the email
- Attach the AC brief to the email or include a statement that none was filed
- Do not put the claimant in touch with our office until we have said YES to the case
How fast will you get back to me?
Within one week, we will reply to you by email with YES, NO, or MAYBE. About 95+% of the time we can say YES or NO based on the above materials alone. Rarely we will ask you to send us the administrative record or hearing audio via dropsend.com or some other large file service.
Do you take every case?
Absolutely not. The vast majority of cases are not worth taking to federal court. But we will explain our NO any time we decline a case. There is a lot to learn from that feedback alone and it costs you nothing to send us a case for review.
What happens if you say YES?
We tell you why we said YES and we ask you to both give us contact information for the claimant and explain to them we will be calling and that they need to cooperate quickly. Once the claimant signs with us, we do a federal debt check. As long as that debt check comes back clean (which it does the vast majority of the time), then we file the complaint in federal court. If the debt check does not come back clean then we will not go forward with the case.
Then what happens once you take the case?
Well we win of course. 🙂 (That is a joke. Federal court appeals are hard due to the deferential review standard and we can never guarantee you any results). On a more serious note, SSA files an answer usually within about 120 days and within 30 days of that we generally file our opening brief. Our opening brief convinces SSA to send the case back just under about half the time. If SSA defends, then generally we file a reply brief. From the time briefing is completed the federal court will usually rule within about 6 months to 1 year, although it can take longer.
What happens once you win the case?
We notify you and send you a copy of the federal court remand decision. From this point forward (unless you are in the Philadelphia area) we hand the case back to you. It is yours to handle on remand. The only thing we ask you to do is to send us a copy of any ALJ decision that you get on remand as soon as you get it. This is important because if the case is denied again upon remand a decision needs to be made within 30 days (not 60 days) as to whether an appeal should be filed with the Appeals Council or whether it would be better to skip that level and go directly to federal court again. It is also important to get us a copy of the ALJ decision on remand so that we can help assure that everyone gets paid their fees more quickly.
So how do you get paid?
When we win in federal court, we are paid EAJA fees by the federal government. So it costs you and the client nothing in most cases to use our services. We want you to maximize your fees. Cases that were previously worth nothing now become worth $10,000.00 to you or more if you structure your fee agreement properly. The only additional fees we may seek in cases where there are a very large amount of past due benefits is 406(b) fees.
406(b) allows us to ask the federal court to award us up to 25% of the past due benefits. However, we never request 406(b) fees in a way that would reduce your fee or require the claimant to ever pay more than 25% in total of past due benefits amongst all of their representatives. We want it to be a win-win-win situation for everyone involved. But the bottom line for you is that it costs you nothing to work with us. There is really no good reason for you not to work with us as our many longtime referral sources can tell you. We look forward to making you money and helping some of the most needy people in our society.