Here’s a real story told to me by one of my clients:
"About four days after I had filed for disability, before I contacted the Bailey Law Firm to hire a Southern Illinois Social Security attorney, I received a strange phone call from an attorney's office in Utah. They offered to help me win my claim. I had never talked to anyone at this firm before. When I asked the person on the other end how they knew who I was, they hung up."
Sound suspicious? That’s because it is.
If you filed your claim by filling out paperwork and mailing it into the Social Security field office, and if you have never shared your phone number online when searching for information about Social Security benefits, you SHOULD NOT be receiving a call from anyone except an employee of the Social Security Administration or the Disability Determination Services (DDS).
If your personal information has been shared with someone outside the agency, that is an illegal leak of your private information by hackers or insiders. You should report the details of the call to the Office Manager at the Social Security field office where your claim is being handled. Give the information to the office manager and ask that the call be investigated as potential fraud. In the alternative, there is a Fraud Hotline for the Social Security Administration. You can find that phone number here.
Here are 14 questions to ask “mystery callers” who offer to represent your Social Security Disability Insurance claim.
- Who is calling?
- What is the name of the company?
- What is the call back number?
Be sure to compare this to the Caller ID number.
- How did you get my phone number?
- How did you know I filed a Social Security Disability Insurance claim?
- How did you know I needed a Social Security claim representative?
- Do you know how old I am? What kind of impairment I have? What kind of work history I have?
If they can answer these questions correctly, ask how they found out.
- Can you send me an email?
- If I agreed to let you represent me, who would be actually representing me?
- Would that person be an attorney or non-attorney?
- Would that person be a Southern Illinois Disability attorney?
- Would I ever meet with my representative prior to the hearing?
- How much time will I spend with the representative who will be with me at the hearing?
- How many clients does the company have?
- Would my case be handled by the same person throughout the process, or would I talk to a different person every time I call?
The answers to these questions will give you valuable insight into the company that is calling and can uncover huge red flags that will make you glad you asked!
What if I already hired a “mystery caller” to represent me?
If you hired a representative that called you after you filed your claim and you are not satisfied with the services you have received, you might consider asking the company you hired how they got your contact information. If they will not answer, or if you think the company you hired got your information in an unlawful manner, you can discharge your representative at any time by sending a letter to the Social Security field office with the reasons you do not want that company to handle your claim any longer.
Keep in mind that the company will still ask for a fee on your claim even if you are not satisfied with the representation you received. You should keep accurate notes about the reasons you are not satisfied with the representation you received and share that information with the Social Security Administration field office.
Remember, when it comes to your Social Security Disability claim, you are your own best advocate. Use discernment when it comes to hiring your Southern Illinois Social Security Disability representative!
Joni Beth Bailey is a Southern Illinois Social Security Disability attorney.