Monthly Update – Social Security

by Jennifer Scherf

I get calls all the time from people who want me to file an application for SSDI or SSI benefits for them. No attorney can file a new claim for you. An attorney can file appeals once the claim is in process; you can even substitute a party in to proceed if the claimant passes away during the process; but the initial claim must be filed by the individual claiming disability.

You can file online at, by calling and setting up an appointment to complete the application over the phone, (800) 772-1213, or by going into your local SSA office. Gone are the days where SSA accepts paper versions of the application. It is all digital!

Because SSA will automatically pay your representative 25% of any back pay once there is an award, I recommend that people complete the application and then call me only if they get denied. It is very common to be denied; only a small handful of claims are awarded initially; but if you are one of these claims, I believe that it is unethical to accept the 25% payment when I haven’t had an opportunity to truly assist you.

I have taken cases at the initial level if the claimant is insistent that they want me to join in early on. There are ways I can help increase their chances of being one of the lucky ones awarded quickly. But I feel better waiting until there has been one denial, so that I know my assistance was necessary.

Once there has been a denial, we are able to assist with filing the appeal and obtaining medical records from your providers. I also evaluate your claim to determine the best way to ensure a favorable outcome. Over my career, I have generated many forms that we can get your treating doctors to complete that are tailored towards exactly what elements SSA is looking for with your type of impairment. These forms have been hugely successful because instead of having to search through hundreds of pages of records, hoping the elements are found, or guessing what your limitations would be, it is right there in black and white on the desk of the person deciding your claim.

The Social Security staff at Bailey & Galyen works very hard to ensure that all clients are taken care of and that their case is developed as quickly as possible to increase the chances of a faster decision.

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