Should I periodically check with my Social Security Disability Advocate?
Most Social Security Disability advocates are reliable, and generally there is no need to follow behind them. However, there are other reasons to follow behind your Social Security Disability advocate, which have nothing to do with duties they perform.
For instance, it does not hurt to call and check the status of your disability claim or appeal, because there are a myriad of things that can happen once an appeal or disability claim has been filed that can delay progress on a case.
There are times when your disability advocate may have filed all the necessary paperwork for your appeal, however it may be sitting on a claims representative's desk for days or even months (yes, months). Social Security offices are receiving an unprecedented amount of appeals and initial disability claims, and, quite frankly, Social Security personnel are often overworked.
Plainly, it would not hurt the progress of your disability claim if you were to follow up on your claim, rather than wait on your Social Security Disability advocate. Many Social Security Advocates have rather large disability caseloads, consequently many do not get around to checking the status of all of their clients cases in a timely manner ("timely manner" is a subjective phrase; however, for those with caseloads of four or five hundred cases, status checking may never be perfect).
Additionally, there are times when, for some reason or another, appeal requests or decisional notices have been lost in the mail. If you do not appeal your disability appeal denial, or initial disability claim denial, within the sixty-five day appeal period (sixty days plus five extra days for mail time), you may have to begin the Social Security Disability process again.
For that reason alone, it may be wise for you to follow behind your disability advocate.
Note: There is no special treatment given to disability claimants whose disability advocate made a mistake with regard to filing timely disability denial appeals.
From my own experience, I have found that the claimant representative-relationship works best as a partnership, one working toward the common goal of winning Social Security Disability benefits. Therefore, you are helping both yourself and your disability advocate when you take an active role in following the progress of your disability claim. You may even prevent a costly error that could cause your disability claim to be denied, or you may help to prevent an untimely appeal request (in other words, submitting a late appeal) that could force you to begin the disability process again.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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