Integrating Social Security and Medicare for Cost-Effective Solutions

Compare SSDI Representatives

Do attorney representatives have an advantage over a non-attorney representative, such as Allsup, for pursuing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits? Let’s review some things we always hear and make sure the record is clear.

Claim #1: Attorneys have a higher percentage of favorable decisions at the hearing level.
In Allsup’s case this is incorrect. This statement is based on a Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) study, which indicated that attorneys win 67 percent of cases represented at the hearing level, versus only 52 percent for non-attorney representatives. However, the non-attorney statistic is comprised of a wide range of representatives, including family members and part-time advocates. Allsup obtains favorable decisions for 76 percent of claimants we represent at the hearing level and who complete the process with us.
 
Claim #2: Attorneys can appeal adverse decisions to Federal Court.
Let’s put this in proper perspective: less than 1 percent of all claims handled by Allsup are pursued to federal court. Through effective representation at the initial, reconsideration and hearing levels, Allsup avoids having to pursue all but a small percentage of claims to federal court. However, Allsup maintains long-term business relationships with specialized outside legal counsel to appeal adverse decisions to federal court on behalf of our claimants, and of these, about 98 percent are either remanded back to ODAR.

Claim #3: Attorney fees are approved, withheld from the claimant's past due SSDI benefits and sent directly to the attorney.
Allsup’s fees are also approved by the SSA and clients have options in how they’d like fees to be handled. For those clients concerned about incurring a line item expense for representation fees, Allsup can withhold its fees from reimbursed overpayment dollars. Or, Allsup can obtain its fee directly from the claimant and the carrier can reduce the overpayment amount due from the claimant by the fee amount.

This eliminates invoicing, budgeting for vendor fees and other administrative costs for the carrier, just as when an attorney gets paid directly by the SSA. The net effect to the claimant and carrier is essentially the same under all these scenarios.
 
Claim #4: Licensed attorneys have gone through rigorous legal and professional training and are held to the highest level of ethics and accountability, as mandated by federal and state bars.
Allsup senior claimant representatives, many of whom came to us from the SSA or DDS, have an average of 17 years of experience. Allsup maintains an extensive and ongoing training program to ensure its representatives, as well as its other claims staff, are well-trained.
Attorney and non-attorney representatives are both held to the SSA’s rules of conduct and standards of responsibilities, a violation of which can lead to being barred from representing individuals before the SSA. Ethical business practices have always been an utmost priority to Allsup and it shows.

In Allsup’s more than 32 year history, no claimant representative has ever been sanctioned, much less barred, from representing claimants by the SSA.
 
Furthermore, Allsup has been awarded an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as part of its Standards for Trust program, recognizing Allsup’s level of business integrity and best practices that demonstrate honesty and fairness to customers. The company also is a BBB Torch Award winner for its world-class service on behalf of people with disabilities nationwide.

Claim #5: Attorneys develop professional rapport with administrative law judges (ALJ) who are also attorneys.
Allsup’s 76 percent award rate at the hearing level indicates its representatives have excellent rapport with most ALJs. We believe most ALJs find that Allsup claimant representatives who attend in person hearings or submit written briefs for on-the-record decisions demonstrate a high level of professionalism and a dedication to presenting well documented cases.