Page updated October 8, 2012

maintained by:
Lisa Nachmias Davis
Davis O'Sullivan &
Priest LLC
Attorney
s at Law
129 Church Street
Suite 805
New Haven, CT

06510
203-776-4400
Fax: 203-774-1060

sharinglaw.net

FINDING A CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY
TO HELP WITH SOCIAL SECURITY CLAIMS AND APPEALS

 

To skip down to the attorney list, CLICK HERE.
DISCLAIMER and EXPLANATION:  It is often hard to find attorneys who feel able to handle the specialized area of Social Security law, in part because the Social Security Administration has special rules for how attorneys can get paid.  To help individuals with disabilities, their families, and those who help them but would prefer to refer such cases to others rather than handling them directly, I have prepared this list.  This is NOT AN ENDORSEMENTin any way.  This is no more than a list of some attorneys who practice in this area that I have contacted, and who have said they would be willing to be included.  (If an attorney is reading this and wants to be included, write to me.)  NOTE:  Social Security Disability law limits what attorneys can get paid. These days (2009 and later) You may see a lot of paid advertisements on TV by attorneys who will handle Social Security Disability work.  I'm suspicious of these ads.  To me, they suggest attorneys who do this work in volume and are less likely to give you individualized attention.  I could be wrong, but it stands to reason that if the attorneys can afford to spend a lot on advertising for work that has limited legal fees, they can only stay in business by doing a large volume of work at low cost. 
How Can You Afford Help?  I have first listed those sources of legal help that are FREE.  These are legal services sources and (from time to time) law school clinics.  However, even if you cannot obtain free services, you should know that in many (not all) cases attorneys will only expect to be paid IF you win, and then ONLY from any "lump sum" you receive when you win.  (This is a generalized statement and you will make your own individual arrangement with the attorney.)   In general, attorneys are LIMITED by law as to how much they can charge to help with a Social Security case.  You should also know APPEALS are often successful. 
Can Family and Friends Pay the Fees?  Yes, although generally, Social Security must approve any fee arrangement between you and an attorney that is outside certain standard amounts.  However, if the person paying the fee has absolutely no legal obligation to pay your fee, and simply chooses to hire an attorney to help you, it may be that the attorney will not have to get Social Security approval, at least if no hearing or appeal is involved.  (For those attorneys (many) who do not agree, I refer them to Social Security Ruling 85-3 and can only state that this is what I have been told repeatedly by Social Security personnel.)  Either way, it may be very useful to get an attorney's help in advance if establishing the facts for a difficult case.   
What if you have to do this on your own, at least to start with?  Since many attorneys will only handle appeals after you are denied, you are often left to "go it alone" for the application process.  You may go to the Social Security Administration office nearest you in person (bring a book -- the wait can be long) or call to schedule an appointment, or you may be able to apply on-line.  The application will ask for the name, address, etc. for all medical providers you have seen, and for your employer information.  My recomendation is that you be "pro-active," and not simply wait and hope that your doctors will say the right things when asked.  "Disabled" means unable to engage in "substantial gainful activity" also known as "SGA" (note: for 2010:  this means inability to earn $1,000/month, or $1,640 if blind) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months, or (B) blindness; and the term “blindness” means central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens."  There is a lot of other fine print, and this is not to be taken as legal advice about whether you, in particular, are entitled to benefits -- but IF you are "going it alone," DO make sure your physician knows this standard and ideally, writes you a letter that says you meet the standard, as well as providing the medical records when Social Security asks. You can even get your own records and provide them directly. You should know that there is a "waiting period" of 5 months of disability before Social Security Disability Income benefits (SSDI) can be paid to you.  SSDI is the Social Security benefit you get if (1) you have worked and paid into the "system," or (2) you are the 50+ age widow(er) of someone who has worked, or (3) you are an adult child of someone who worked, you were disabled prior to age 22, and your parent is disabled, retired, or deceased.  For #2 and #3, you would give the Social Security number of the person who worked.  During the waiting period, or if you don't qualify for SSDI, you may be able to qualify for SSI, which is for disabled people who don't get SSDI (or less than $674/month) and have assets below $2,000/month.   Social Security will check to seek if you qualify for both/either.  


1.  FREE LEGAL HELP 

  Connecticut Legal Services
Members of various offices help with these cases.
Start by calling Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320
     or
Atty. John P. Spilka
153 Williams Street
New London, CT 06320
860-447-0323
fax 860-443-0109
jspilka@connlegalservices.org
2. PRIVATE ATTORNEYS (listed alphabetically by TOWN)

Hamden Atty. Robert S. Reger
Rolnick & Reger
2832 Whitney Ave. Ste. A
PO Box 185650
Hamden, CT 06518
203-248-5444
fax 203-288-8777
Hartford Atty. MaryAnne A. Charron
Gordon Muir and Foley LLP
Ten Columbus  #5Blvd.3
Hartford, CT 06106-5123
860-525-5361
fax 860-525-4849
mcharron@gmflaw.com
Hartford Atty. Winona W. Zimberlin
2 Congress 
Hartford, CT 06114
860-249-5291
Fax 860-247-4194
wzimberlin@lawyer.com
New Haven Atty. Melissa A. Buckley
Buckley & Buckley
234 Church Street
New Haven, Connecticut 06510
(203) 624-2424
mab@buckleyandbuckley.info
New Haven Atty. Betty G. Levy
234 Church Street
New Haven, CT 06510-1818
203-782-0225
fax 203-624-8341
bglevylaw@aol.com
New Haven Atty. Andrew I. Schaffer
Jacobs, Grudberg, Belt & Dow, PC
350 Orange Street
New Haven, CT 06511
203-772-3100
aschaffer@jacobslaw.com
Newington John M. Stober
Attorney At Law
705 North Mountain Road
P.O. Box 310979
Newington, CT 06131-0979
860-953-5687
jmstober@cox.net

Norwalk Atty. Charles A. Pirro, III
Pirro & Church, LLC
50 Washington Street
P.O. Box 844
Norwalk, CT 06856-0844
203 853 4999
Fax: 203 853 9429
mail@pirrochurch.norwalk.ct.us
Stamford Atty. Bernard L. Shapiro
Atty. John J. Siegel

Shapiro & Siegel PC
162 Bedford Street
Stamford, CT 06901-1915
203-327-2273
Fax 203-425-3929
ssdssi@hotmail.com
Torrington Atty. Michael F. Magistrali
400 Prospect Street
Torrington, CT  06790
Telephone:  (860)626-0777
Fax:  (860) 626-0779
michael@magistralilaw.com
Wallingford Ann Farrell Leslie
Farrell Leslie& Grochowski
375 Center Street
Wallingford, CT 06492
Telephone:  203-269-7756
ALeslie@WallingfordLawyers.com
Willimantic Atty. Sheldon A. Mossberg
90 South Park Street
P.O. Box 165
Willimantic, CT 06226-0165
860-456-1202
fax 860-456-1054
smossberg@attymossberg.com
Willimantic Atty. Howard B. Schiller
55 Church Street
P.O. Box 699
Willimantic, CT 06226-6990
860-423-1656
fax 860-423-9609
h.schiller@snet.net
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Lisa Nachmias Davis
Davis O'Sullivan & Priest LLC
129 Church Street Suit 805

New Haven, CT 06510
Phone: 203-776-4400
Fax: 203-774-1060
davis@sharinglaw.net