Clients at Avard Law Offices have been calling us and asking if they are now REQUIRED to set up their own SS Accounts in order to process their cases. They are being told by SS that they can go on line and check the status of their case. SS has been sending out notices to everyone who has applied for social security disability benefits. Setting up your own account is NOT REQUIRED if you have an Attorney, since at the hearing level your attorney has full access to your account once the hearing office prepares the exhibits and downloads that information into your account. We will schedule a meeting with every client at the hearing level to review this information prior to the hearing.
Therefore, the notice SS has sent you explaining that you should set up an SS account is designed to help not just you but also Social Security. Due to COVID, Social Security staff are mostly working remotely and it is becoming more and more difficult for them to respond to the number of questions they get from day-to-day. By directing you to on-line inquiries into your own accounts, this will make the process more manageable for the SS Administration. However, it is not required and will not affect the date when your hearing will be scheduled.
You should also know that a lot of information will not always be exhibited in your file until months after your request for hearing has been sent to the hearing office. Therefore, if you set up your account and do not find some records that have been sent to Social Security, that does not mean the records are not in your file, it simply means they have not been listed in your client exhibit list. Generally, the exhibit list is not set up until 3-6 months prior to the hearing date. And, the hearing date is not established until 12-24 months after the Request for Hearing is filed.
Our position is that setting up an account can help provide some information on your case. It will also provide us with your “Earnings Record” which is used to determine your “onset date of disability,” However, you are not required to set up accounts in order to process your claim. Avard Law Offices sets up preparation-for-hearing appointments with each and every client scheduled for a hearing. Avard Law Offices, also sets up an Early Development preparation meeting with each and every client. At these meetings, all the evidence is reviewed with the clients. All of our clients will be fully prepared for participation in their hearings before the Administrative Law Judges. During the pandemic period, the majority of our clients elect to participate in telephone hearings. To date, the “Fully Favorable” results of telephone hearings has been similar to the results of the face-to-face hearings that took place in the past.
If you have any more questions regarding this notice, please let us know by messaging us on our website or emailing us at email@example.com