Discussing Social Security Disability in forums Part I
Forums, like blogs, are interesting and sometimes informative places to visit on the web. And this applies to social security disability. In other words, you can find a lot of helpful information on the SSDI (and SSI) process in forums. The flip side of the coin, however, is that you can also find a lot of information this is either A. Partly incorrect, B. Dubious in nature, or C. completely incorrect. Here are a few comments that I found on just a single thread of a forum.
1. "Attorneys should provide representation above that of a non-attorney".
My response: When it comes to representing social security disability and SSI claims, a qualified and experienced non-attorney will outperform an inexperienced and unqualified attorney any day of the week. Phrases like qualified and unqualified, of course, are very subjective. When do I really mean when I use them in this context? This is what I mean---you don't want a representative, attorney or non-attorney, who will fail to to do the necessary legwork required to prepare your case for a hearing. Believe it or not, there are disability reps out there who will show up for hearings without having gathered your medical record updates, without having attempted to obtain a medical source statement/RFC from your treating physician(s), and without having viewed your file. Such reps are in the minority, of course. But they do exist in both the attorney and non-attorney incarnation, and you don't want them handling your case. How do you avoid such reps? That can be difficult because, truthfully, any rep can seem golden at the outset. But here are a few clues.
1. Reps that never seem to know the status of your claim -- Disability lawyers and non attorney representatives should always know the status of your disability claim, even if the status is simply "pending" (i.e. pending at the initial claim level, pending at the recon/review level, pending a hearing request).
2. Reps that never ever return phone calls -- Most disability claimants inevitably have some question regarding their case or about the disability process. And it is certainly not too much to expect that a claimant who is represented should receive a call back if they have attempted to contact their representative and have been forced to leave a message.
Reps that never have a clue about the status of a disability claim and at the same time consistently fail to return calls give off a vibe that can only be described as: dump them and find other representation.
Part II of this post will appear soon.
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