Social Security Disability and SSI claimants beware who you entrust your valuable disability claim to! Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran an article based on interviews with former "Binder and Binder" employees revealing potentially fraudulent behavior and misrepresentations to the government. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has asked for an official inquiry into the action of this "firm." Potentially fraudulent actions are bad enough, but claimants need to worry more about how these large "firms" handle and care about the claimants' particular cases. I put the word firm in parentheses because many of these groups are not even law firms or, even if they are, they utilize "non-attorney" representatives because they can be paid less. Often these groups are used by long-term disability insurance companies to "help" claimants win their Social Security Disability claims because it would lessen the benefits owed under the long-term disability plan. These groups often have names meant to confuse claimants and present an image of expertise in the area of Social Security Disability. A large number of claimants represented does not equal quality or, sadly, even competent legal representation.
Some red flags claimants should watch out for:
- Use of "non-attorney" representatives - though there are some very caring non-attorney representatives practicing before the Social Security Administration, attorneys have had years of specialized training providing them with the ability to more competently handle your claim. Additionally, attorneys are governed by Rules of Conduct promulgated and enforced by the State that further protect clients.
- Not meeting the representative until the day of the hearing. Almost anytime I am at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review for hearings, I see representatives call out client names. This is not a good sign! Meeting with the client before the hearing and establishing a relationship allows for more comfort, more information, and better overall representation.
- Failure to return telephone calls within a reasonable period of time. If your representative's office does not return contacts within a reasonable time, this may be a sign of a larger problem with a lack of care and concern regarding your case.
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability or SSI matter, personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), EEOICPA claim, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611, or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.