10 Questions When Hiring a Social Security Disability Advocate
You’ve decided to get help with your Social Security disability claim. Whether you’re just preparing to apply for SSDI benefits or you’ve been denied and want to pursue an appeal, it’s important to have the right Social Security disability advocate at your side. That means you’ll want to gather some information before you make a decision.
Choosing Your SSDI Advocate
Here are some of the key questions to ask:
1. What disability advocacy services do you provide?
If you’re hiring someone to help you secure Social Security disability benefits, the services on offer may seem obvious. But, that isn’t always true. For example, many Social Security disability lawyers don’t want to get involved in a case until it reaches the hearing phase. That means you’re on your own putting together the initial application and filing any appeals if you are denied like a request for reconsideration or request for hearing. If you make a mistake or miss a deadline Social Security will deny your case and you could have to start the whole process over costing months or years in delay
Having help from the beginning can improve your chances of approval earlier in the process and keep your application moving forward more efficiently. So, it can be to your advantage to work with a Social Security disability advocate who is willing and able to help you put together a strong application.
2. How much experience do you have with Social Security disability cases?
At Disability Help Group, disability advocacy is all we do. Our advocates are familiar with all stages of the disability application and appeals process. Some organizations offering help with SSDI appeals spread themselves thinner. For example, a general practice law firm that does Social Security disability appeals may only see the occasional SSDI case, while also juggling injury cases, criminal defense, estate planning, and other services.
When you work with one of our disability advocates, you can rest assured that your team is fully immersed in the issues that matter most to you.
3. How do you charge for your SSDI advocacy services?
If you’re applying for disability benefits, your income has likely been interrupted and you may be concerned about how you’ll pay for the assistance you need. Asking about how payment works right up front can put your mind at ease and free your attention to focus on how best to move forward with your SSDI application or appeal.
Fees for attorneys and advocates in Social Security disability cases are regulated by federal law. Disability Help Group only gets paid if you win your case. There is never any fee unless you get approved. The maximum fee by law is 25% of your retroactive benefits capped at a maximum of $7200. Retroactive benefits are the financial benefits that build after you file your claim and are waiting for a decision. The only way Disability Help Group gets paid $7200 is if your retroactive benefits total $28,800 or more!
4. What will you need from me to get started?
Depending on where you are in the process, your disability advocate may need communications you have received from SSA, releases, medical records, check stubs if you are currently working or worked recently, and other information and documentation. Ideally, you’ll have the opportunity to ask this question when you’re scheduling your free consultation.
The more information you’re able to provide the advocate in advance or at your consultation, the better equipped they will be to answer your questions and tell you what to expect moving forward.
5. How will we work together on my SSDI claim?
One reason many people seek help with their disability claims is that the process can be stressful and overwhelming. Knowing what to expect can eliminate some of that stress. And, talking about the process in advance will allow you to choose a Social Security disability advocate you’re comfortable with and who manages cases in a way that makes sense to you and feels manageable.
You’ll also want to find out whether and how often you’ll need to meet with your advocate in person, and where you might have to travel to do so. Some Social Security disability advocates can work with you exclusively or almost entirely by phone or video chat, cutting down on or eliminating the need to travel.
Disability Help Group represents clients all throughout the United States. We are able to help our clients get approved for disability using cutting-edge technology and communications. We have state-of-the-art systems that retrieve your medical records electronically and submit them to Social Security. At the hearing level, we have real-time access to the Social Security electronic file. Since the pandemic of 2020, Social Security has been conducting hearings almost exclusively via phone or video. Our technology has seamlessly integrated into these new hearing formats. With all this innovation our advocates are able to counsel you and prosecute your case without you having ever to leave your house.
6. What are my chances of receiving SSDI?
It’s important to have realistic expectations as you embark on your quest for SSDI benefits. An experienced disability advocate can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your claim, what has happened in similar cases in the past, and how you can improve your chances of success. But, that’s just one reason to ask about your chances.
Another is that you want to work with an advocate you can trust. No advocate or lawyer can guarantee you a particular outcome. If they claim they can, think twice before choosing to hire them.
7. How long will it take to resolve my SSDI claims?
Like the question above, this one doesn’t have a definite answer. But, an experienced Social Security disability advocate will be able to tell you the average time to resolution at each stage. An experienced advocate can also help you take steps to keep your claim moving forward as quickly as possible, such as ensuring that there is no missing information when you submit your application and gathering medical documentation efficiently.
8. How will you prepare me for my ALJ hearing?
Much of the disability application and reconsideration process involves answering questions online and providing medical documentation and other evidence in written form. But, if your initial application and request for reconsideration (where applicable) are both denied, the next step is a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
A higher percentage of claims are approved at the ALJ stage, in part because of the opportunity to offer witnesses and to testify yourself. Another possible reason for the higher success rate is that SSDI applicants are more likely to hire an advocate to assist them at the hearing stage. If you’re hiring an advocate for the ALJ hearing, make sure to ask about how they’ll help you get ready to make the most of that opportunity.
9. What do I need to know to avoid hurting my SSDI claim?
As in most areas of life, what you don’t know can hurt you. An innocent mistake could harm your Social Security disability claim. The mistake may have to do with consistent medical care or trying to work too much or some other area. An experienced advocate who is gathering information from you can point out any red flags and tell you what you need to do to protect your claim as you move through the process.
10. Where can I find reviews from your past SSDI clients?
Every Social Security disability advocate or attorney will tell you they can do a great job for you. One of the best sources of reliable information about the quality of the service provided, how easy the advocate is to work with and other important variables is what past clients have to say. You’ll find reviews from many satisfied clients right here on our website.
Contact a Social Security Disability Advocate Today
The best way to get answers to these and other questions is to schedule a free consultation right now. Contact us or call (800) 800-3332 or fill out the contact form on this page.