We believe in every person’s essential humanity, and that for anyone who seeks our help, it is our responsibility to assist them on the path to the improvement and restoration of their dignity, self-respect, health, and financial independence. We will suggest ways to achieve these goals. We will treat everyone with compassion and respect, and do our best to understand each individual’s unique life story, in order to work with our clients to share that story in an effective and compelling way.
We are confident, based on over 35 years of experience, that by doing these things, we can achieve positive results for those whom we are privileged to serve. We believe there are more important things beyond simply “winning” a case, and that effective, persistent, and professional representation is the key to overall success.
WHAT WE DO
We concentrate on representing people in Maine who, due to physical or emotional injury or illness, cannot work because they are disabled. We do so in three areas of law, Social Security, Workers’ Compensation, and the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. It is possible, though very rare, that one person can have a claim in all three areas at the same time, and more common that one worker will have a Social Security or Maine State disability claim along with a workers’ comp case. We will attempt to provide coordinated assistance on all related claims.
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
Over 90% of what we do, and have been doing for the past 31 years, is representing people before the Social Security Administration [SSA], to assist them with their disability claims.
Law Office of Michael A. Bell
621 Main St.
Lewiston, ME 04240-5938
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We represent adults, individuals from the age of eighteen up until the age of 65, who seek Social Security Disability Insurance [SSD], Supplemental Security Income—Disability [SSI] for adults and children, under their own Social Security numbers [accounts], as well as Disabled Adult Children [DAC] and Widow’s disability claims under the accounts of parents or deceased spouses.
We do so at every level before the SSA, from before an application until all administrative review has been completed. We represent people who will have their hearings scheduled in Portland and Augusta, Maine. There are four levels of administrative review. As a last resort, which we rarely have to utilize, we also take cases on appeal to the federal court in the District of Maine.
We are happy to take cases on referral from whatever source, but it must be clear that it is the individual claiming benefits that we represent. We never represent the person or agency or long term disability insurance company that may have provided our name. Finally, we no longer do Social Security overpayment matters, but we do represent individuals previously found eligible, whose disability cases are being reviewed and benefits are being terminated.
MAINE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
We also provide representation to injured workers in the State of Maine whose job injury claims, physical or mental stress related, are heard before the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board [WCB] in Lewiston, Maine. We do so from mediation to hearing in Lewiston, to get wage and medical benefits that are due, and protect workers in their dealings with insurance companies and employers, should the need arise.
MAINE STATE RETIREMENT SYSTEM
We also represent Maine state and municipal employees who are covered by the Maine Public Employees Retirement System [MPERS] in their claims for disability based on physical or emotional injury or illness that prevents them from “permanently” performing their job. Representation can begin before application, and is provided through hearings before Hearing Officers and the MPERS Board of Directors.
WHY WE LIMIT OURSELVES TO SOCIAL SECURITY, WORKERS’ COMP, & MPERS
We have found that by limiting ourselves to concentrate in these three related areas of law, we can provide our clients with the best and most expert service, delivered in the most direct and personal way. Laws change, and it is necessary to keep up with the changes for our clients. By attempting to master only a few related areas of the law, we can stay a small size. We leave it to other firms to handle a much more general practice. However, we will always help our clients find an attorney who does other kinds of cases, just as we will help to find them find the right medical specialist to meet their health care requirements.