SSI and Disability Advocacy
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Q: What kinds of disability services do you provide?
A: We provide attorney representation in Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) appeals. We provide information, advocacy, and referral on other disability-related matters such as benefits reductions and cessations, continuing disability reviews, and recoupments.
We regret that we are currently unable to provide assistance with initial applications.
Q: How do you decide whether or not an attorney will take my case?
A: When determining whether or not to accept a case, we will consider the severity of the claimant’s disability, in addition to staff availability and caseload.
Q: What does it mean if you decline to take my case?
A: We may decline to take a case for many reasons. If we cannot represent you, it does not mean that you don’t have a strong claim.
If we are unable to provide representation, we will give you a list of other law firms and organizations which may be able to assist you.
Q: What will I have to pay for attorney representation?
A: Community Advocates charges the statutory fee for disability claims representation. Attorneys’ fees are limited, by law, to 25% of any retroactive benefit payment, not to exceed $6,000.00.
No fee may be collected if the claim is denied.
Fees are deducted from the claimant’s retroactive benefit award and are paid directly to Community Advocates by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA determines the amount of the fee to be paid, and the claimant has the right to appeal that determination if desired.
Q: What can I expect of my attorney?
A: Your attorney will provide comprehensive, diligent, and zealous representation at every stage of the appeals process (although we do not generally represent claimants in Federal Court).
Your attorney will gather the evidence Social Security needs to decide your case, file all paperwork and forms necessary to process your claim, argue your claim in front of the Administrative Law Judge should your case go to hearing, and ensure that your case is processed as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, it can often take up to two years to have a hearing scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge.
In certain circumstances, your attorney may be able to write a brief to the Social Security Administration requesting a decision be made without a hearing, which can significantly reduce the waiting time for a decision.
Whether this can be done depends upon the nature of your disability, your age, work experience, and other factors.
Moreover, your attorney will ensure that while you are awaiting disability benefits, you are connected with appropriate supportive services as needed. These services include information, referral, or advocacy related to housing, utilities, and/or health insurance; free or low-cost health care providers for the uninsured; economic support; and/or other legal matters.
Finally, you can expect that your attorney will always treat you with dignity, fairness, and respect, and that he or she will communicate with you in a clear and timely manner.
Q: What will my attorney expect of me?
A: Your attorney will expect you to communicate with him or her on a regular basis. We request that you notify your attorney immediately if your contact information changes, if you are working, or if you no longer wish to pursue your disability claim.
Additionally, we request that you keep your attorney informed of any changes in your condition, diagnoses, medications, or providers.
Q: How do I request representation?
A: Please print, fill out, and return this form if you are an adult. Please print, fill out, and return this form if you are a parent or guardian seeking assistance on behalf of a minor.
These questionnaires constitute requests for representation only. No employee of Community Advocates will be acting as your appointed representative until a signed Appointment of Representative form (SSA-1696) has been submitted to the Social Security Administration.
Any information provided by you (or any person or entity acting on your behalf) to Community Advocates for purposes of assessing your disability claim will remain confidential and will be returned to you upon your request.
Q: Do you represent children?
Q: Do you help file initial applications?
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