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Applying for Social Security benefits? Beware of non-lawyers

In our last post, we discussed the impact the recession has had on the number of people applying for Social Security disability benefits. One of the biggest victims of companies downsizing were the employees who were aging or had health problems. Although their current employers were willing to accommodate their work needs, many of them were among the first to be let go.

Many people who were working with a partial disability or injury are having a hard time finding new jobs. As a result, the number of people applying for Social Security disability benefits, both in Ohio and throughout the nation, has increased dramatically. In general, the increasing number of applications is a good thing. It means the people who need financial assistance can find it. But there is also a downside, and people who are applying need to be aware of who is helping with their applications.

Supply and demand is one of the most predictable elements of our business structure. As the number of applicants filing for benefits increases, the number of professionals willing to help applicants has also increased.

There are many attorneys throughout Ohio who can help individuals determine whether they qualify for Social Security benefits. However, there has also been an invasion of national companies that pose as law firms. They are often deceptive in their marketing, and they suggest that their clients will be working with experienced attorneys. In reality, they often hide that fact that they are from out-of-state, and they send paralegals or other non-lawyers to represent individuals at their hearings.

Although it is not illegal for non-lawyers to attend the hearings, they often do not spend time meeting with their clients or learning about the individual details of their cases. It is important for individuals who need financial assistance to apply for benefits, but you also need to think twice about who will help you during the application process.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, " Rise in disability claims leads to more business, competition," Zach Needles, The Legal Intelligencer, 28 February 2011

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Philip J. Fulton Law OfficeRepresenting Victims Of Workplace Injuries And Disability

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