After a bit of a break I am back to blogging. I enjoy sharing my experiences concerning the Social Security Administration (SSA) with prospective and current clients through my blog, but I must admit, going to hearings and preparing cases for hearings can be time consuming. So what has been happening since my last blog entry? The best news for disabled Indiana residents is that the waiting time for a hearing has been getting shorter. I have seen a noticeable difference in waiting times recently and wonder how long this current trend will last.
What does this mean for you? Depending on your financial situation, getting to a hearing even a few months sooner may be the difference between keeping your home or facing foreclosure, between having continuous access to health care or spending months without health insurance, or between obtaining monthly disability payments or completely depleting your life savings. On the other hand, you may be in such a desperate situation that having to wait any time at all for a Social Security disability decision is enough to bring you to financial ruin. So what can you do? I tell my clients to look for low or no-cost healthcare through local hospitals and clinics, seek help from their local government trustees, and ask their physicians to help them find programs that provide medications at cheaper rates, just to name a few.
These days, when I have clients who complain about their waiting time for a hearing, I find myself thinking how fortunate they are to only have to wait about a year to get a hearing. You heard me right - they are fortunate, compared to my clients from not long ago who typically had to wait nearly two years to get a hearing! Not only do the shorter wait times help our disabled clients get their benefits sooner, they also save those clients some money. The sooner a claimant receives benefits, the fewer months of past-due benefits Social Security will owe her. The fewer months Social Security pays, the smaller the total amount of back pay. Since Social Security attorney/representative fees amount to a percentage of the claimant's back pay, the smaller the total amount of back pay, the less money the claimant owes her attorney or representative.
When I represent clients, though, I am not worrying about the size of my fee. I am concerned about promptly responding to their questions and concerns, thoroughly developing their case record, building a solid theory of the case, and fully preparing them to testify at their hearings. Regardless of how much I get paid I spend about the same amount of time on every case. I represent my Indiana neighbors at hundreds of appeals hearings every year, and in every case my goal is to win the benefits they deserve regardless of the pay I receive. After all, Social Security disability law is my focus and I believe you deserve quality representation.