Re: Binder and Binder -- what should I do?
I am a former Binder attorney, and I have no qualms in writing this because you can't get in trouble for telling the truth.
In my experience, Binder is the last stop for the desperate. The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits is long and depressing, and a lot of people avoid calling a representative until the last minute. Got a hearing tomorrow? Binder will be there or be square.
The earlier post does accurately portray the treatment of client files at the Binder office where I worked.
It also accurately portrays the working conditions. If you're thinking of working for Binder, think of it more as a long-term temp job/learning experience. No one should plan to work there permanently, because there is no HR department. The benefits are a joke, with the punchline being, "There are none."
If you're a Social Security disability claimant, do the little bit of legwork needed to find a local law firm to represent you. It may be a little more difficult, but you will get real representation by people who may actually care about you. You will be able to call your attorney. They will develop your medical evidence.
REMEMBER: Binder and Binder is NOT a law firm. It is not a law firm because there are non-attorney representatives working there.
If you sign up with Binder, you may be assigned a non-attorney representative OR an inexperienced attorney due to high turnover which results from the working conditions described above. You probably will not find out until the last minute who is representing you, possibly at your hearing. Binder does have good attorneys and non-attorneys there, but you are casting the
dice as to who you get assigned. Asking won't help.
Keep in mind that Binder sells itself as "experts" in Social Security disability claims. However, the reality is that many Social Security judges do not take Binder representatives seriously because so many have passed through their courtroom that at least one probably left a bad impression.
Binder spends its money on advertising, not clients. Clients are simply the vehicle by which Binder rakes in the cash. "Don't love the client," is occasionally heard in the halls, though it's by no means an official motto for the company, which sells itself as being full of very nice people.
Proceed with caution before signing any agreement with Binder. They will put up quite a fight before withdrawing as your representative, because that would mean forfeiting their fee. Although your file will sit on their floor, they will generate "work" entries to later justify to Social Security why they should be paid for their time--even if you protest.
Finally, if you have a lot of children, be careful with Binder. Their fee agreement is written such that Social Security will pay them the full fee ($6K or up to 25% of past-due benefits) from the benefits of EACH ONE of your family members who receives payments. This includes you and each one of your children.
If you find a local attorney, you may be able to speak to them about this concern. That attorney may be willing to draft a kinder, gentler fee agreement which reflects the reality that those benefits may be paid to 2 or 3 or 4 people. but it's all linked to the attorney's ability to prove ONE issue, and that is your disability.
Good luck with your disability claim.