I want to discuss some things people need to know before they get a Social Security hearing. I have worked in Social Security law for almost 19 years now and I can tell you there is a lot of information that is needed before having a hearing date and here are some things to remember.
Our firm sees potential clients who come in to our office every day that have waited to get representation until they receive a hearing date and it consistently causes delays in their claims. I think it is very important that people consider getting a representative BEFORE they get a hearing date.
Here are some common reasons why. One of the main issues for people waiting is that they are just too sick -be it mental or physical, lack of knowledge about the process, and frustration over the time delays. I have seen people come in that haven forgotten their claim was pending due to the long delays. These notices are generally sent out 75 days in advance so that will give us some time to look at the issues if you call right away. Many times people may not contact us until their hearing is just weeks or days away and that makes it more difficult.
The most common issue I see in these cases is that their file is missing everything to support their claim of disability. You may ask...So how can Gardberg and Kemmerly help me in this situation? There are many benefits to having a representative. One of which is that many times people do not like dealing with the mail and letters the Social Security Administration sends. We have people come in with stacks of letters and due to anxiety, fear, or just too tired to handle the issues, they have not even opened the letters. If you have us as your representative, we get the copies of these letters and handle the letters for you or we can direct you in the proper handling of the information. Clients also come in and say things like "I sent the Social Security office my records" or "I told them about all my doctors". We will then look at their file with Social Security and many times there is nothing there or large gaps in treatment. At our firm we are able to make sure your information gets requested, received, and forwarded properly. We also review the exhibits on a consistent basis so as to be sure your information is in the file and updated. We are constantly preparing you file all along the course of representation, not just when the hearing is scheduled.
Some not so common issues that can cause real problems in your claim are typically more difficult for an applicant to handle and representation can be crucial in the award of benefits. More often than I wish, people come in with remands from agencies they have no idea what to do. I have had claims where people actually filed for the wrong kinds of benefits, or they are eligible for other programs that SSA did not have them file for. We evaluate those issues and have them file all proper claims. Many times people have denials for issues like missed deadlines, not going to exams, or not returning paperwork. These are all issues that may have been taken care if they had representation. Some claims require getting specific opinions, paperwork or documentation, and having someone with experience look over your claim can make the difference in approval or denial.
My advice to those waiting on a hearing is to get a representative sooner than later. Call us right now at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529. This could be the difference in your future. I know it can be frustrating, but it is your benefits, and making that one little call can make a HUGE difference. There are many reasons a Judge may deny your case, but it should not because it just wasn't handled properly. Having a representative makes that type of difference and we would love to help you today. Gardberg and Kemmerly has been representing people in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida for over 30 years