Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Attorney Advisors

One way to avoid the long wait for a hearing on your Social Security Disability (“SSD”) appeal is to ask an attorney advisor to consider issuing a fully favorable decision. Since an attorney advisor, who is a staff attorney at the hearing office, looks at claimant files before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) does, asking the attorney to issue a favorable decision is even more expeditious than asking an ALJ to do so.

An attorney advisor can approve an SSD application based on new evidence, or any error indicating that a fully favorable decision should be issued. The attorney advisor can request additional evidence or schedule a conference with the parties, although the latter is rare.

I received a fully favorable decision today from an attorney advisor for a 57 year old former sewing machine operator based on a Findings Integrated Template (“FIT”) that I submitted three months earlier. A FIT is essentially a fill in the blank form that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) uses to facilitate issuing favorable decisions by converting the proposed FIT decision submitted by the claimant’s attorney into the attorney advisor’s decision. Thus, instead of having to wait one to two years for a hearing, the proposed FIT decision and use of the attorney advisor enabled the claimant to be approved for SSD benefits in only three months.

The SSA regulation authorizing attorney advisor decisions is set to expire August 10, 2011.

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