The Truth About Misleading Claims Made by SSDI Attorneys
Finding the right Social Security Disability Insurance
(SSDI) representative can help you get through the Social Security process faster and awarded benefits sooner. You have the option of hiring an attorney representative or a non-attorney representative, such as Allsup.
It's also important to know all the facts before making this important decision for you and your family, especially since this process is new to you and it can be confusing.
Below, Allsup sets the record straight on several claims:
1. An attorney told me that I want an SSDI lawyer because they have a higher percentage of favorable decisions at the hearing level, or level 3.
Truth: You should know that Allsup obtains favorable decisions for 90 percent of those we represent at the hearing level who complete the process with us. An Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) study indicated that attorneys win 67 percent of cases represented at the hearing level, versus only 52 percent for non-attorney representatives. However, the non-attorney statistic includes a wide range of representatives, including family members and part-time advocates.
2. Is it true that I need an attorney because they can appeal adverse decisions to federal court?
Truth: You should know that Allsup provides such effective representation at the initial, reconsideration and hearing levels that all but a very small percentage of our customers' claims get to the federal court level. However, Allsup maintains long-term business relationships with specialized outside legal counsel to appeal adverse decisions to federal court on behalf of our claimants. Of these, about 98 percent are either sent back to hearing level or awarded. Fewer than 1 in 100 claims (1 percent) handled by Allsup are pursued to federal court.
3. Some say to choose an attorney because their fees are approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and paid to them directly from the SSA.
Truth:You should know that Allsup's fees also are approved by the SSA. The SSA will remove the amount of the fee you owe to your attorney, send it directly to your lawyer and send you what's left. Allsup chooses to be paid directly by the customer, and most customers ask us to electronically withdraw their fee from their account after the retroactive benefit comes to them from the SSA.
Important note: Fees for any representative are regulated by law and capped at 25 percent of the retroactive amount you receive, so it's extremely important to consider the additional advantages of Allsup's representation when compared to attorney representation. It is also important to consider that Allsup, unlike many attorneys and other representatives, does not charge you for expenses related to your claim, such as collecting medical records, travel, faxes, postage, photocopying and telephone calls. Generally, Allsup customers also get their award faster - and that means you get income sooner and may pay lower representation fees.
4. Don't I want an attorney because they have gone through rigorous legal and professional training and operate based on a code mandated by bar associations?
Truth: You should know that both non-attorney representatives and attorneys are held to the SSA'srules of conduct and standards of responsibilities, a violation of which can lead to being barred from representing individuals before the SSA.
Allsup senior claimant representatives, many of whom formerly worked at the Social Security Administration and state Disability Determination Services offices, have an average of 17 years of SSDI experience. Allsup maintains an extensive and ongoing training program to ensure its representatives, as well as its other claims staff, are well-trained. Allsup experts regularly attend industry-sanctioned conferences and professional development programs.
Allsup places utmost priority on ethical business practices, regularly enacting and performing accountability and monitoring activities at all levels of the company to ensure fairness, security and successful representation on customers' behalf.
Furthermore, Allsup has been awarded an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as part of its Standards for Trust program, recognizing Allsup's level of business integrity and best practices that demonstrate honesty and fairness to customers. The company also is a previous BBB Torch Award winner for its world-class service on behalf of people with disabilities nationwide and recognized as a 2010 BBB International Torch Award Finalist for Marketplace Excellence.
In Allsup's nearly 30 year history, no claimant representative has ever been sanctioned, much less barred, from representing claimants by the SSA.
5. Some say that attorneys develop professional rapport with administrative law judges (ALJs) who are also attorneys.
You should know that Allsup has found (in its nearly 30 years) that most ALJs seek and develop a rapport with those representatives who are Social Security Disability
experts and who thoroughly prepare and document their cases - placing a priority on knowing the individual's case, attention to detail and accurate documentation of the individual's SSDI claim for benefits.
For nearly 30 years, Allsup's claimant representatives have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate a high level of professionalism and a dedication to presenting well-documented cases.
Allsup's 90 percent award rate at the hearing level indicates its representatives have excellent rapport with most ALJs.
6. A lawyer said I can apply on my own because it's easy to do, and I don't need a lawyer unless I get denied and have to file an appeal.
Lawyers typically do not handle SSDI applications
. Applying for SSDI benefits
is a complex and time-consuming task. It's not so easy to tackle on your own. Keep in mind, about 65 percent of all initial disability applications are denied, often after months and months of waiting.
Allsup, however, takes people at all levels of the process, including your application. Currently, at the initial application (level 1), Allsup helps 52 percent of its customers receive their SSDI benefits.
In addition, approximately 50 percent of Allsup customers who go to the hearing level, never have to attend the hearing in person. Allsup's experts achieve this by thoroughly documenting customers' claims based on medical evidence, preparing a brief and requesting an award based on the record.
Generally, Allsup customers get their award faster - and that means you get income sooner and may pay lower representation fees.