Oct 11, 2011

The Advocator Group Takes On The Hard Cases

This is from a press release:
You’re disabled, you’re not getting benefits, and you wonder if you’re entitled. But you’re also afraid of interacting with a federal bureaucracy, a paper intensive process, and giving one wrong answer that could disqualify you from benefits. You’re why The Advocator Group released Disability Answers, a free mobile app that tells disabled Americans whether they’ll qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Medicare. 
Try working through it. The big question is whether you have one of the 100 conditions on the compassionate allowances list. By the way, isn't that name, Advocator Group, lovely?

Update: The Washington Post has picked up on this press release. By the way, for anyone who can't figure it out, "Takes On The Hard Cases" is written sarcastically. The Advocator Group is only seeking cases that will be approved immediately with or without their help, the kind of case I don't take on because I don't want to rip off anyone, especially someone who is desperately ill.


Anonymous said...

The way SSA is turning down cases now they are ALL getting to be tough cases.

Anonymous said...

The Advocator Group is one of those "non-attorney" groups that advertises to insurance companies that they obtain reimbursement to the insurance company for LTD payments if the SSA DIB claim is approved. They do this by having the claimant sign an authorization allowing them to debit their bank account! They also make the claimant sign an authorization allowing Advocator Group to turn over all their medical info to the insurance co. They are in Massachusetts, and Mass. legal ethics would not permit an attorney to represent two potentially competing interests like this. Therefore, the "non-attorney" group formed by a sustaining NOSSCR member attorney and run out of that attorney's office -- same address, even the same suite number. Wonder what the Mass. Board of Bar Overseers would have to say to this guy?

Anonymous said...

Looking at this post, lay people might think you think they are swell.

Anonymous said...

They use attorneys at the hearing level.

Anonymous said...

Taking compassionate allowances is like shooting fish in a barrel with a sawed-off shotgun; touting the fact that you're taking these cases is like trying to get on the cover of Fisherman magazine based on your great skill at slaughtering defenseless fish with a shotgun.

John Herling said...

You won't find "advocator" in the dictionary. The word is "advocate".

Anonymous said...

Yes. But advocate was probably already taken. Plus, I think it is the title of a gay rights publication.

How about the "We Only Take Clients Who Will be Approved on the Initial Claim Group?"

Social Security News said...

I received this comment by e-mail so I know that Mr. Gallagher posted it but it's not there. I'm re-posting it for him to make sure it gets posted.

Mr. Hall,

In the interest of transparency, I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify a couple points not only about our new smartphone app, but also about the work that we do at The Advocator Group.

The Disability Answers mobile application was designed to be first and foremost an educational resource for disabled workers who may be eligible for SSDI benefits and/or Medicare. In our experience, there are many disabled workers who are eligible for these benefits, but unaware that they would qualify. Additionally, many of these individuals lack an awareness of the fact that they can get help in filing their applications.

The app allows the user to determine his or her likelihood of approval for benefits by answering a series of simple questions. As you experienced when you downloaded and experimented with the app, after entering a few basic data points at Step 1, the user is asked to determine whether their condition appears on the list of Compassionate Allowance conditions (CAL), or alternatively, may select “I do not have a diagnosis included in this list.” This is a logical progression – as you know, if an individual has a CAL condition, many subsequent qualifying questions become unnecessary – the individual is categorically going to have a high likelihood of approval.

Alternatively, when a user selects “I do not have a diagnosis on this list,” they then access a series of additional questions necessary for the app to identify the specific nature of the individual’s disabling condition. Based on the responses to these questions, the app calculates a likelihood of SSDI approval, which is presented to the individual in an easy to understand format.

To address your concerns head on, The Advocator Group is not only seeking cases that will be approved immediately. The app is not designed to encourage individuals with CAL conditions to work with us, or to apply for SSDI, any more so than any other qualified individual. In fact the vast majority of our clients do not suffer from CAL conditions. However, failing to include this inquiry in our smartphone app would be ignoring a crucial step in determining one’s likelihood of approval for benefits.

I would encourage anyone with questions or concerns about our new smartphone app or about the work that we do at The Advocator Group to contact me at cgallagher@advocator.com, or alternatively, to continue this dialogue on Mr. Hall’s blog. We stand behind the work that we do and we are enthusiastic about our emerging communication methods with our current and future clients.

Chris Gallagher

Anonymous said...

I work for the advocator group and we do have attorneys that represent you at the hearing level (which is after the Reconsideration appeal level). And the reimbursement process is already something that your long term carrier notifies you on. They refer you to us. We explain the reimbursement process all the way through. Yes, we have you sign representation forms that explains this as well. The reimbursment is something your long term disability carriers calculates themselves. Not us. We do not debit your bank account without written and verbal consent. Which is obtained when your last due benfits are deposited by the administration into your account. This is money you've already obtained from your LTD. Which is also called "double-dipping". We assist with facilitating those funds. But you can do it in your own. Looks like someone either didn't explain the process enough to you. We also deal with the entire country and follow that states laws. Not Just mass (which we are based in). We obtain your medical records (with your authorization) from your LTD etc and forward those to the administration. We do all this so you don't have to. Anyways I hope that clarified some things for you and others reading this as well. We cannot authorize or obtain anything without consent from the claimant. There are federal, state and HIPAA laws that I and the other employees are bound to. Sounds like you had a bad experience maybe? Unfortunately not all claimants have a wonderful experience. Its not meant to be relaxing. But we do try to take the overwhelming stress and pressure away from you as best we can.