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Cincinnati Area Insurance Companies Try to Choose Your Social Security Disability Attorney for You – Is This Good or Bad?

The following post is part of our Law Student Blog Writing Project, and is authored by Dayna Wilson, a law clerk at Lawrence and Associates, who is pursuing her Juris Doctorate at Chase College of Law.

If you suffer from an illness or injury that leaves you unable to work for an extended period of time, and you have long-term disability (LTD) insurance, there are some circumstances where your LTD coverage may affect the process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The LTD contract that you signed most likely contains a provision that requires you to apply for SSDI benefits while you receive your LTD benefits. Because this LTD contract requires you to apply for SSDI benefits, your LTD carrier will probably refer your case to a SSDI advocate firm or attorney whom they work closely with. This referral may be confusing to you because the LTD carrier may not clearly explain why they are making this referral. Because this process is not thoroughly explained, you might unsure how to move forward with this unfamiliar advocate group or attorney.

During this difficult time in your life it is important to keep in mind your ultimate goal – to be covered and protected – and to relay that goal to the LTD carrier’s advocate group or attorney who you have been referred to. This blog will explain your options for your SSDI case when you have LTD benefits, as well as, what you should do if your LTD carrier refers you to an advocate group or attorney so that you can ensure your goals are being met.

What You Should Do If Your Long-Term Disability Insurance Company Refers You to an SSDI Advocate Group or Attorney?

If your LTD carrier refers you to its own advocate group or attorney, keep in mind that you are not required to retain this specific advocate group or attorney. You are allowed to hire any representative that you want to assist with your SSDI case. All Social Security representatives charge the same type of fee for their representation. The LTD referral is no cheaper than any other attorney in your area.

Sometimes the LTD carrier will tell you that the group or attorney that they are sending you to does not cost you anything up front, keep in mind that this is also the case with a local attorney of your choice. All representatives charge the exact same rates under Social Security’s rules. The only difference between an attorney of your choice and your LTD carrier’s attorney is that the LTD’s attorney may send your LTD carrier a cut of their fee as part of their referral arrangement.

Your Long Term Disability carrier’s ultimate goal when referring your SSDI claim to this advocate group or attorney is to get you approved for SSDI as soon as possible. This is most likely also your goal. Your LTD carrier wants you to be approved for SSDI because, if you are approved for SSDI then your LTD benefits will terminate. This is the case whether or not you use the advocate group or attorney that the LTD carrier suggests.

Do You Prefer a Greater Cincinnati Area Law Firm, Where You Can Meet Your Attorney Face to Face?

The advocator group or attorney that your LTD carrier refers you to will most likely be a large national group or firm. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but there are things to be considered. Chances are with a large national group or firm you will never meet your attorney/ representative until the day of the hearing. This can make for an impersonal process, which can make you feel like just another name on a list and can potentially result in the representative or attorney leaving out essential information in your case. Meeting with your attorney/representative prior to your hearing is important so that your attorney/representative can fully prepare themselves, and you, for what to expect during the hearing. A local attorney/representative is more likely to go over your file and prepare you for the questions the judge will ask you at least a few days prior to the day of your hearing. This more personal experience can help you feel confident and prepared going into the hearing.

Searching for the Right Social Security Attorney.

Remember, you have the right to choose your own attorney. Do not feel like you have to use the attorney or representative that the LTD carrier suggests. The Social Security Disability application process can be overwhelming. You should find a disability attorney who you like and trust. No matter who you decide to retain, be sure to communicate your ultimate goals and interests to your attorney. Retain an individual who makes you feel confident and comfortable with their legal representation. A good Social Security Disability attorney will ensure that you have a fair hearing. It is important that you choose an attorney who is familiar with the Social Security laws so they can offer you the best chance at getting your claim approved. It is important that you do not sign any forms or contracts that your long-term disability carrier sends you regarding the SSDI process until you have researched the firm and you are confident that they are the right fit for you. If you decide not to use the representative that the LTD carrier suggests, and instead hire someone else, be sure to inform your long-term disability carrier in writing that you have retained an different attorney and provide the LTD carrier with your attorney’s name and contact information.

Make Sure You Ask The Right Questions

Finding an attorney willing to take your Social Security should not be very difficult. However, finding a qualified disability attorney can be a tough process. Whether you use the representative that the LTD carrier suggests or someone of your own choosing, you should ask the right questions to determine whether the attorney truly has your best interests in mind. The first question you should ask is how accessible the attorney will be. Some social security attorneys handle large volume of cases, because of this, an attorney may not be able to provide adequate individual attention to your case. This should be one topic of your conversation. If your attorney understands your concerns and needs in the beginning, future misunderstandings can be prevented. Next, make sure the attorney has experience in the field of Social Security. This will ensure the attorney understands the nature of the Social Security Disability claim process. Finally, make sure you and your attorney get along. You want to trust your attorney and you want to make sure they have your intentions and goals in mind. The process will run much more smoothly if you hire a representative who will work hard for you, no matter if they are part of a national or local organization.

If you feel like a local firm is a better fit for your needs, Lawrence & Associates may be able to help you obtain the benefits that are owed to you by the Social Security Administration. We are strong advocates who focus on individual attention and stand up for your right to recover the benefits you’ve worked hard for. The Social Security Disability process can be exhausting, but with us you will have a personal experience with a local attorney for the same rate as a national organization recommended by your LTD carrier. We’re Working Hard for the Working Class, and we want to help you!