My wife asked me to wrote this post as she thought I might be useful.
Background on my wife. 36, wife, mother of a 4 yo boy and turning 2 in August girl, and as of June 3 stage IV bc with mets to the liver. Yeah I know, sucks.
As for me, bad news I am an attorney. Good news, I am an attorney who devotes 100% of his practice to representing individuals who have been denied disability by the SSA.
So I may be able to help address some concerns and quesitons about this topic.
First off, this is not an advertisement. Just trying to be helpful.
Second, I will try to answer any questions in a general manner. My answers are not meant to be legal advice and should not be taken that way. So when I read a post with a specific question or problem I will try and answer it in a broad general way.
Third, again this is not a troll for clients. While we are in California SS is a federal program so the laws and rules are the same across the country. So I think I can be helpful.
Fourth, again my answers should not be construed as legal advice. While I have experience in this area of law any response I make may or may not be correct and you should not rely on it. there is no substitute for your own due diligence.
Fifth, I would liek to keep this topic focused on dealing with what is, not what it should be. Basically, SSA is the largest administrative system in the world. Getting frustrated that it is not set up they way it should be does not help focus on the way it is and how to navigate to improve your chances of getting approved.
So here are some inital thoughts:
1. If you have/get an attorney, under federal law they cannot charge you any money up front for the attorney service. Period. It is actually a federal crime for an attorney to receive payment for attorney services from a SS client from anything except their back benefit.
The law says that any attorney fee cannot exceed 25% of the back benefit. If you have an attorney and they help when the case at or before a first hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) the fee is 25% or $6,000 whichever is smaller.
So if an attorney tells you that it is 25% if you win or some less amount of money if you lose that is not correct. If you don't win your case or even if you win but get no back money, your attorney gets zero.
Now the one thing is that your attorney can charge you, win or lose, any costs that he pays to get medical records to help prove your case. So if your attorney gathers medical records from your doctors who charge him $25, $50, etc.. And you lose your case, an attorney can send you a for that cost. Because it is not an attorney fee but a cost.
2. Some of you may have what is called an overpayment issue. Where SSA pays you some money and then at some point says they paid you too much and they want their money back. If that happens to you, or if it happened to me, I would call/visit SSA and request forms/file a waiver of overpayment form. It is pretty simple and SSA should help you. It is not hard to do and it may reduce or eliminate what SSA says you owe.
Anyway, feel free post some general questions and I will try and address them.
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Diagnosis: 6/3/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-