Don’t Accept the Social Security Representative Recommended to You By Your Long Term Disability Insurer
You are not obligated to accept the preferred Social Security representative recommended to you by your Long Term Disability carrier.
When you apply for long-term disability benefits, many plans will require that you also apply for and pursue Social Security disability benefits. The logic behind this request is simple. They will take an offset for any Social Security benefits that you or any dependent in your home receives. Being granted Social Security benefits diminishes the responsibility of your long-term disability carrier. The interesting part about applying for Social Security disability benefits is that the long-term disability carrier will often recommend one of their preferred vendors to represent you on your social security claim. Sometimes these vendors are lawyers and sometimes they are not. As a recipient of long-term disability benefits, you are not obligated to accept the preferred Social Security representative that you are directed to by your Long Term Disability carrier. It will not count against you and it will not impair your ability to obtain long-term disability benefits.
Oftentimes, long-term disability insurers advise individuals who are about to apply for Social Security benefits that these preferred vendors are “free.” In fact, they are not “free” at all. All representatives charge a percentage of your past due Social Security benefits if they are awarded. I have seen many examples where the Social Security vendor proposed by the long-term disability insurer offers free representation but makes the claimant sign a Fee Agreement. There is nothing free. I advise all of my clients to typically reject the services of these vendors and instead obtain high quality representation from a qualified social security disability lawyer. I often tell people in different parts of the country to call NOSSCR’s (The National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives) Lawyer Referral Service: 800-431-2804 to obtain a list of qualified local social security attorneys near you.
In sum, you have a right to a highly qualified lawyer that is independent of your long-term disability carrier. Exercise your rights and hire a local social security lawyer to pursue your Social Security disability claim. Interview your prospective Social Security lawyer in depth and find out what his or her success rate is in your local community. After examining so many Social Security disability cases, we are beginning to discover the odd relationships that exist between long-term disability carriers and these representatives. We presently have raised this issue in one of our cases pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. If we obtain additional information that would highlight the relationship between the long-term disability carrier and their preferred social security representatives, we will post it quickly.