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Balin Attorneys Use “Congressional Interest” to Aid Clients

September 10, 2014

While the federal government offers multiple programs for disability compensation, bureaucracy can be a challenging obstacle to overcome when awaiting a decision on a case. In these situations, any time a constituent feels like they’re getting a raw deal, they can contact their congressperson and have a pending case marked as one of “congressional interest.”

When a case is flagged with “congressional interest,” three things happen:

  1. The Social Security Administration (SSA) must give high priority to inquiries received from members of Congress and their staff.
  2. The SSA must respond to congressional inquiries promptly, accurately and courteously.
  3. The SSA must communicate any concern about a particular congressional inquiry to the congressperson.

“The local SSA field offices have to report to their bosses every 60 days to show how the inquiry is being addressed,” said Matt Shupe, associate attorney at Balin Law. “If such reports aren’t made or if they have a surplus of these inquiries from a certain region, the SSA is able to follow up with those regions to ensure proper care is provided for applicants.”

Balin has had positive experiences in the past with congressional interest, noting that the SSA has responded promptly to the requests they filed.

“I just had a case we won at the federal court level,” said Shupe, who was waiting between four and six months for even a single document to change hands between the court and the SSA. “We contacted Representative Jim Renacci and asked the case be looked into to make sure it gets remanded as expediently as possible, which it did.”

One of Balin Law’s attorneys remembers a case that was pending for four years since the filing date.

“That wasn’t unheard of,” a Balin Law attorney said of the four-year time frame. “But by flagging that case as one of congressional interest, it was nice just to get someone involved. Congresspeople represent a pool of constituents, but most people don’t ever contact their representative. It’s an option for someone to get their representative involved.”

The House of Representatives website offers a handy tool to find your congressperson by ZIP code, but we’ve compiled a list below for all our office locations.

Mentor/Ashtabula

Dave Joyce – 440-352-3939 (Painesville Office)

Lorain

Jim Jordan – 419-999-6455 (Lima Office)

Canton

Bob Gibbs – 330-737-1631 (Canton Office)

Toledo

Marcy Kaptur – 419-259-7500 (Toledo Office)

Cleveland/Akron

Marcia Fudge – 216-522-4900 (Cleveland Office)

Youngstown

Tim Ryan – 330-740-0193 (Youngstown Office)