Originally Posted by All American NYC
It should be illegal for lawyers and others to advertise services for people to procure disability, food stamps, welfare or any other government services.
All day long, you see advertisements for law firms like Binder and Binder selling their services to help people procure SS Disability. Soon, and very soon, we will be totally broke. And then there will be nothing.
Drawing conclusions w/o knowledge and information is a bit short minded.
First, there aren't any lawyers specializing in obtaining welfare nor food stamps, so you are letting your imagination run wild w/o any factual knowledge.
Second, re disability, the government operates in a certain manner which virtually requires the involvement of attorneys, which is why there are specialists like Binder & Binder.
SS, as a matter of course and policy denies virtually all claims for disability, regardless of merit.
Upon denial, a claimant must go through an 'Appeals' process. The process is quite convoluted, detailed and involved. The average person is less than equipped to succcessfullly negotiate an Appeal.
The 'merit' of the claim will in no way facilitate the process, nor will merit guarantee an award. The manner in which the Appeal *process* is negotiated is the major factor in successfully obtaining an award.
So, what routinely occurs (particularly upoon first application) is that, even those with just and obvious meritorious claims are routinely denied; and those who who may not have truly meritorious claims, BUT are capable and can negotiate the Appeals process, very often win their claim.
This is your government's efficient operation---NOT!
So, in order to insure that a claimant receives a just and fair Appeals hearing, and that the SS agency is presented with the facts, especially those of just and meritorious claims, it is virtually required that an attorney be engaged to represent claimants in their APPEAL.
Without the aid of an attorney, most claimants, irregardless of merit lose their Appeal. This is just the reality of it.
Again, to have any chance an attorney needs to be engaged.
The problem with this is that most claimants in need of financial assistance, as a result of their disability, normally, are not in a financial position to hire and retain an attorney. A real Catch-22 for most claimants.
Also, it s/b noted, that successful claimants are normally awarded accumulated benefits beginning and dated from the start and onset of the disability. For example, if a claimant can prove becoming disabled in month 1, year 1, but does not apply for disability until month 6, year 1, and it takes an additional year to successfully win an appeal, then at that point the claimant is owed approximately 18 months retroactive disability.
Claimants will receive a lump sum amount totaling the sum of the 'retroactive' payments, in addition to current payment. To my knowledge there is no limit to the determined start of retroactive payments, nor any limit in the amount of such payment(s).
This is how the system works, and how it is that attorneys choose to specialize in disability.
Attorneys, knowing that upon a successful Apppeal, benefit payments will be awarded 'retroactively' and 'cumultatively', will accept and represent Claimant/Clients, bearing the costs involved to bring an Appeal, with payment of costs and fees set aside until receipt of the retroactive benefit payment, the lump sum.
Attorneys make an agreement with their clients to pay the costs and to delay their attorney fees, for a pledge of payment from the lump sum amount.
Note, to my understanding, the maximum monthly disability benefit is $2,000 per month. Using the example above, the lump sum benefit payment s/b $36,000.
Now, attorneys specializing in representing disability claimants, risk the 'costs' of bringing the Appeal. In the event the Appeal is unsuccessful, the attorney will not recover those costs, and the claimant/client will not receive any benefits. Both claimant and attorney lose, but it is the attorney who is out cash.
In exchange for this risk, and fronting the costs, most attorneys, as a matter of course, extract and operate on the basis of 1/3 of the 'lump sum' retroactive benefit payment as attorney fee. The sum varies according to the award. In our example above, with a lump sum of $36,000, the attorney representing the successful claimant is likely to receive $12,000 as an attorney fee, plus the costs. A simple guess regarding costs w/b in the range of $1,000 to $3,000. In total, an attorney may receive $13,000 to $15,000 from the lump sum retroactive benefit amount. The claimant /client may receive $21,000 to $23,000 as a net sum of the $36,000 retroactive benefit payment.
Now, here is the 'kicker', the government, SS, officially condones and most importantly facilitates it all, by issuing TWO checks! One issued to the Claimant, and another issued to the Claimant's attorney (in the fee amount)!!! Rather than issuing a check for the full lump sum retroactive benefit to the Claimant, the government facilitates the attorney's payment for services rendered.
Logic, and any *normal* course of business, dictates that the Agent/Attorney of a Claimant be paid by the Claimant from Claimant's own funds; or not be paid (if the Claimant so refuses); but, this is not what occurs.
[Imagine your Boss cutting a check and sending it in to your mortgage company, to pay your mortgage, and then cutting you a check for the remaining portion of your salary. WTF!?)
Anyway, THAT is the 'system'!
In most cases, there are few ways around it.
Why does the government have such a 'matter of course' "Denial" policy? In general, from what I glean, it is intended to reduce the number of successful claims, by creating a 'hurdle'' that many will not be able to readily overcome. The thinking, I guess is that those with real need will manage to overcome the hurdle and those looking to game the system will choose not to go through the effort of overcoming the "hurdle".
The fact that the government, apparently, virtually, requires, sanctions and facilitates the engagement of attorneys, as an integral part of the 'system'; as well as, sanctioning and facilitating the total ripoff of Beneficiary/Claimants with the facilitated payment of ONE THIRD of the retroactive benefit amount is a crime! The government s/n be in the business of 'guaranteeing' Claimant/Beneficiary's attorney payment.
OP, you are correct in being disgusted with the waste of taxpayer money, but to whom should the disgust be directed? The Claimants? The Attorneys? Politicians? The beauracracy? The voters/the people?
All of the above? I think that is more rightly where fault lies, in everyone!
In any event, my overall point is that, you can never see a thing completely, unless you look behind it....