If you are disabled, you need someone on your side to ensure that you are taken care of. Family and friends can support you in ways no attorney can, but you also need an expert in your corner who will fight for your rights.
You need an advocate you can trust and rely on, so be careful when your long term disability insurance recommends a claims service. You are probably better off hiring an independent attorney with experience in Social Security Disability Insurance claims.
Free Legal Services
Your long term disability insurance will probably require that you apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. If you win, these claims agencies will use your benefits to offset their own costs. Since they will get the most benefit out of your social security benefit, they probably have a deal with a law firm or claim management company that works for them.
This claim management company will argue your case at no cost to you, but it also means that your “advocate” has a conflict of interest.
Often, your free legal representatives will not even be lawyers. They will not be committed to your interests in the same way an independent attorney is.
Additionally, most independent SSDI attorneys won’t charge you unless they win your case. Their fee is a percentage of the settlement. This percentage is usually deducted before your long term disability insurance calculates its offset, which means that you can often get independent legal representation at no cost to you.
Do not be seduced by the offer of free legal services. You will do better with an independent attorney, especially because you won’t spend anything out of pocket for their help.
Conflict of Interest
Recommended claim management companies work for the insurance company, not for you. This might not seem like a big problem, since the insurance company wants you to win your claim, but the conflict of interest can cause big problems for you.
A lawyer who works for you will honor attorney-client confidentiality, but a claims service that works for your insurance company will give them information about your condition, which they may later use to cut off your benefits.
An independent attorney will also know how to maximize your long term benefits, while a claims service might sabotage your long term interests in the pursuit of a quick settlement. They might pursue benefits based on conditions that are eligible for a limited time and ignore conditions that provide sustained, long-term benefits.
If you are still unsure how to proceed with your disability claims, don’t worry. Summit Disability Law Group provides the Utah Social Security Disability Handbook free of charge. This book will help you decide when it is time to hire an attorney.