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SSD hearings without an attorney can lead to loss of benefits

Social Security disability (SSD) claimants are easily worried when questions are raised concerning their benefit payments. The process of obtaining those benefits is often long and complex, and most applicants have no experience of dealing with bureaucratic procedures of the Social Security Administration and the state-operated Disability Determination Services in Missouri and Illinois, where much of the work in processing a claim is performed.

While SSA periodically reviews beneficiaries' health to ensure that they remain eligible for benefits, for some SSD recipients in Kentucky the worry over losing their benefits is even greater than in a typical review.

Congressional hearings have accused one attorney of falsely obtaining benefits for a large number of his clients. No criminal charges have been filed against him, but many of his clients are at risk of losing their benefits during this review process.

At a recent meeting, a group of attorneys representing some of these at-risk beneficiaries noted that "around a 1,000" have no legal representation at these review hearings and are likely to lose their SSD benefits.

The SSD statutes and regulations are complex. For most individuals, much of the language and terminology is difficult to follow and more difficult to understand. During a hearing, where an administrative law judge may ask questions that relate to both medical conditions, treatments and the legal elements of the claim, the process can seem overwhelming and frightening.

No matter where you are in the process, working with an experienced SSD attorney can improve your chances of avoiding the loss of benefits caused by misunderstandings and errors on applications or during a hearing.

Source: wsaz.com, "Attorneys worry 1,000 or more Social Security beneficiaries will lose checks," January 15, 2015

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