Social Security Disability Reps

I just got a phone call  (actually a robocall) from someone claiming to be with a company saying that I had recently inquired about drawing Social Security disability benefits.  Now, I’ve been drawing benefits since 2007.  So I asked her who she was and what her company did.  She said they could help me qualify for up o $2,000+ in benefits.  I told her I was already drawing benefits.  She said that someone in my household had recently made this call and could I put that person on the line.  I said that there was no one else eligible in the house for them.  After the robot processed this information a couple of times, she hung up.

I called Social Security to inquire how this company got its information.  The person answering said they had no idea–there wasn’t any activity on my claim since my trial work period decision had been made.  She did say they were a legitimate company that represented people who filed claims

I’m here to tell you that you don’t need ANYONE to help you file your claim.  No one knows your condition better than you, so you are your own best advocate.  You may say, “I don’t understand the rules, though,”

Guess what?  Neither do most of the lawyers that claim to help with filing applications.  I know them because I worked for them for seven years.  But I only know the medical side of it–I know very little about the financial side, that being a determination made by a Social Security employees rather than a Disability Determination Services employee. If you do sign up for a representative to help you file your claim, you forfeit 25% of your benefits to that person unless they waive that right.   That’s a steep price to pay someone who is often actually not very helpful. SO don’t be fooled by a lawyer or especially a private individual who claims to be able to help you get benefits. You can do it on your own.

6 thoughts on “Social Security Disability Reps

    • I really do consider these guys one step below ambulance chasers. I feel like they prey on people in a desperate situation. This opinion, of course, is only my personal experience–plenty of people are approved the first time they apply without a lawyer or advocate. Someone else’s situation may be different. But I do not see their purpose or added value.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve often heard folks say – you have to hire an attorney to get benefits. I then believed that attorneys knew something about the inner workings that most don’t. It’s possible. Many of those who have said this have been somewhat incapable or lacked the skills or where-with-all to advocate for themselves. I don’t think it’s worth it to forfeit that much. I say do your best to represent yourself. Good thing you didn’t fall for the okey-doke over the phone!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I believe in myself and I believe in lawyers. Here’s the thing. Some people cannot properly gather and present a case in front of a judge and toss back every curve ball thrown by that one person who will sit there and look at your medical and say you can work. I know because I have experienced it first hand with a loved one. She represented herself the first time and lost. When she let a lawyer handle her case, she won just because the lawyer has the experience in firing back those balls where my family member didn’t have the eloquence required.

    In my personal case, I lose my temper. I would be questioned and end up arrested, so I need someone who can explain my situation calmly, professionally, and with bang.

    But at the same time, I have seen people successfully rep themselves. The problem is, I’ve also seen people be denied benefits because you are “capable of looking after your best interests” even if you’re sitting there with medical proof that you can’t work. It just all depends on who is the judge and how compact your medical history is.

    But definitely NEVER fall for anything over the phone. I scouted my attorney and chose him because I know my limits and know he will do a better job speaking for me granted my conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a point that someone may not have the energy, wherewithal, etc. to act in their own interest. But a family member or other private individual can be appointed as a “third party” NOT a ‘representative”, to aid that person. I was also thinking mostly about the initial, reconsideration, hearing, CDR, and ALJ levels. Going to circuit court is another level of appeal and a lawyer may be of some value there. Curious, Zoe, did your lawyer take his cut of your back payment and future benefits? Or not?

      Liked by 1 person

      • My case is a bit different. I was on disability for six years (no denial initially, just straight approval) and they ceased my benefits after a review [because I wasn’t medicated or documented for a few years and they see that as “you’re fine now.”]

        I hired an attorney because I don’t want to go through the hassle of getting all my medical records or building a case. My bipolar is too aggressive to handle a courtroom and the agoraphobia means I probably won’t even be able to attend the hearing. My lawyer has also helped me get me seen by doctors, through his connections, without having to pay them now (these expenses will then be considered out of pocket medical expenses which SSA / Medicaid will cover for me once I’m back on it.) This part is crucial for me since I need to keep a treatment now that I’m in a major depressive / suicidal phase, so I’m very grateful he helped me find a willing psychiatrist (a rare thing in my town.)

        My family situation is one where I’d rather trust a lawyer with my entire medical record than my family, so I suppose this is also why I chose a lawyer over the help of a loved one to be that third party person.

        Yes, he will get a cut from my benefits. 20% of whatever is owed to me by the end of whatever stage I get the benefits. If he doesn’t win my case, he gets nothing per our contract.

        Liked by 1 person

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