Binder and Binder -- what should I do?

This is a discussion on Binder and Binder -- what should I do? within the Injury & Worker's Compensation forum, part of the ACCIDENTS, PERSONAL INJURY, INSURANCE category; I am a former Binder attorney, and I have no qualms in writing this because you can't get in trouble ...

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Old Nov 17th, 2009, 06:43 PM   #11
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Exclamation 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.
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Old Dec 26th, 2009, 11:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: Binder and Binder -- what should I do?

I have worked with B & B for months. They were SO friendly when I first contacted them, but each time I call to talk, either my case-worker is busy, or I get another who gives me an answer that my case worker is never notified of. Hence, I get letters from my original case worker that are negative (to be polite) scolding me for not doing something SHE told me to do, but the supervisor told me otherwise. My case worker has instructed me NOT TO SPEAK TO ANYONE FROM SSDI. Now, reading these complaints,I am frightened that the government will find me uncooperative. I have also had to send them form after form - for information that they've got. On Christmas Eve, I was sent a form with a nasty note from Mr. Binder about not signing forms that I KNOW I've signed.

They make you sign forms in BLUE ink...I thought legal forms were to be signed in BLACK!

I also read that they're not ATTORNEYS, but ADVOCATES. Is this true?

I'm just sick about this!
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Old Jan 5th, 2010, 01:33 PM   #13
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Default Re: Binder and Binder -- what should I do?

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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I will tell you my personal experience from the "inside." Years ago I worked for these shysters. I was actually in a management position involved in oversight of two operating offices after having previously set up and opened a new office for them. I worked for them for nearly four years and was ultimatley not only responsible for office operations but client intake and my own case-load. I was being paid $32K per year. They pay their "staff" what amounts to little more than minimum wage. At that time case workers, often carrying a case load of 200 or so "clients" were making $20-22K per year. The case work is handled like the world's worst factory/sweat-shop/assembly line with little if any true concern for the clients well being. In addition to poor pay and absolute horrendous working conditions, most employees spent their time looking over their shoulder to see if the Binder's neice was anywhere in the vicinity as it was her duty to act as the "enforcer." If one was unfortunate enough to be on her s**t-list, your time on the payroll was short-lived. Simply put this outfit does not care about any of the preliminary stages of the SSD process other than shuffling the paper work. Their ultimate goal is to get the case in to court - ie. drag it out - so their "existence" is justified. I realized the Binders were making a fortune on other peoples misery; clients and employees alike, so I began to question what I saw, and promptly ended up a target on the s**t-list. They could not fire me, because I was the most effective person they had- bar none - and they had nothing on me. More importantly if they did fire me, I could collect unemployment and they were much to cheap for that. Eventually I resigned and went back to school. I have since helped friends and family alike win SSD cases on initial application just to prove to myself exactly what I knew to be true from the Binder's practice: Binder and Binder is irrelevant. The folks at SocSec are there to help you. If you provide the necessary medical information and if you meet their cirteria of disability, you can easliy win on your own.
Hello, I was wondering if anyone who worked for bider and binder could help me out with a question? When i signed on with them i was on very high dose of pain killers but i am posotive that we did not discuss or give them any info about my children,dependents,and now they are trying to get another $15,000 to get what back benefits they should have recieved.It wasn't until after i had won my ssd case and then 4 weeks later i get a huge envelope from binder and binder trying to do this and get more money.How are they able to get my childrens ss# and do this? I did not give them any of my childrens names or ss# and i didnt even know about benefits for derpendents i was so worried about just getting my disability .I noticed someone elses reply that worked there and wanted to know if there is anyway around this.i have been waiting 4 years for this and need both knee joints replaced and had back surgery and these people did absolutly nothing for me.they made me run around getting medical records ,constantly sent me bills for paperwork and records,they took weeks to call back.AND SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT SSD AUTOMATICALLY DENYING BENEFITS 2 AND 3 TIMES TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE LEGITIMATE DOCTORS STATEMENTS SAYING YOU ARE DISABLED. thats why people go to these rip off artists because they are scared and feel they have no other choice. I WOULD RECOMEND ANYONE WHO IS TRYING TO GET DISABILITY TO HAVE A DOCTOR FILL OUT A ...MULTIPLE IMPAIRMENT DISABILITY QUESTIONAIRE....BECAUSE THATS ALL I NEEDED AND WHEN THE JUDGE SAW WHAT THE DOCTOR WROTE HE GRANTED ME MY DISABILITY RIGHT THEN !!!! So basically binder and binder get to take advantage of people because the government is also taking advantage of us !! If anyone reads this and can help me out i would greatly appreciate it. You can contact me at otisplaymate@aol.com I desperatly need help !

THANK YOU
chad
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Old Jan 6th, 2010, 02:57 AM   #14
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Default Re: Binder and Binder -- what should I do?

There are just a few simple things you need to be successful in getting ss disability. One is to have a listed impairment (or several impairments whose severity equate to a listed impairment). Second is constant, regular medical care for the impairment(s). Lastly of course is what you financially qualify for.

My son was dx'd with Asperger's many years back and I wanted him to have all he needed and that took money I didn't have so I applied for him for SSI. He was approved immediately.

Same thing just recently a chronic health condition became acute and I could no longer work, I got my approval letter 6 weeks after sending in the application.

I think a lot of times people hire these firms because they are just afraid of the bureacracy of it all.

There are non-lawyer advocates out there (perfectly legal) who will help you with the paperwork for far less than what these firms charge.
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Old Jan 6th, 2010, 10:39 AM   #15
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Default Re: Binder and Binder -- what should I do?

I used B&B and thought they were great!

Got my SS!!
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 12:51 AM   #16
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Default Re: Binder and Binder -- what should I do?

Indeed, working for Binder and Binder doesn't pay much (although I'm not complaining) and it's a great place to get experience and training. Also, if you actually care about helping folks that really need help, it's good for that too. Binder and Binder does not try to drag out cases and do not try all that hard to hang on to unhappy clients. For one thing, it's Social Security that schedules hearings! Also, there are almost too many clients and cases....

Every case is different and, like any kind of law, the judge's personal beliefs and opinions are going to affect your case. As for the above story about a judge deciding on a case soley on a multiple impairment question...I sincerely doubt that and wish it were that easy. You can't understand everything that went into a case just from 30 minutes in a hearing room. Just because something looks easy, doesn't mean that it is and medical records have to be very strong to win; not just that your back hurts/you're depressed/etc. Those medical records have to explain why you can't stand/sit contiuously, if your impairment distracts you, etc. Judges really don't care if your doctor states that you're "disbled"; they want to know how your illness(es) actually impair you.

You really should have an a disability firm help you secure your benefits, although it's not a magic bullet. You simply must produce medical records and they must be supportive; as in "this person is too ill to work BECAUSE....
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Old Jan 11th, 2010, 01:40 AM   #17
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Default Re: Binder and Binder -- what should I do?

good comments--I agree
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Old Feb 5th, 2010, 07:30 PM   #18
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Default Response to Chad, a/k/a "otisplaymate@aol.com"

Hi Chad.

I think I can explain why you feel so cheated.

When you first signed the fee agreement with Binder, there was a bold sentence in the middle of the page that stated they could receive direct payment from SSA of any benefits paid to your children/dependents, as a result of you being successful on your disability claim.

Binder typically faxes that FIRST fee agreement over to SSA immediately. Attorneys and reps don't get assigned to the clients until a hearing has been scheduled, so one of the Binder brothers' names is on that first fee agreement.

Fast forward two or three years... now you've got an attorney or rep assigned, and they come to the hearing with you. Most of the time, they ask you to sign a SECOND fee agreement. Some ODAR's won't send the ALJ decisions down the pipeline to the payment center until the name of the hearing atty/rep matches with a fee agreement on file.

That second fee agreement does NOT contain the sentence in the middle of the page about your children/dependents. Unfortunately, you're kind of stuck with this very unfair situation because you signed the initial fee agreement.

You might try complaining to the Better Business Bureau and/or Attorney General's office in your state. As for legal action, you would not have a very strong claim (i.e. very few attorneys would be willing to take this on) unless you were so mentally impaired that you didn't have the legal capacity to sign that form. Sadly, being zonked out on painkillers just isn't a home run argument when it comes to legal capacity.

I know this seems totally unfair, and the worst part is that it only happens to the Binder clients with Title II disability insurance claims. Unfortunately, those happen to be the clients who worked the longest and hardest, only to find themselves in the difficult situation of being completely, permanently disabled before retirement age.

I'm really sorry, and wish you luck.
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Old Feb 11th, 2010, 06:39 PM   #19
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Binder and Binder offer 45 minutes of unpaid lunch for a 8:45 - 5:30 day in New York State. This is illegal. Please contact me as part of a class action lawsuit.

Binder and Binder routinely fire good employees in order to hire cheaper employees that have no idea how the social security system works. I was promised a $300 bonus for cases that I had remanded (cases which will eventually earn the company tens of thousands of dollars), yet they refused to give me the money that was owed to me even though it was detailed in a report the day before I was fired .

The employees routinely complain and talk about how corrupt the company is. Private information about clients is brought to other caseworkers to have a laugh about. I cannot tell you how many times medical records detailing incredibly personal information were copied and taken home by my fellow workers. If you are worried about your sensitive issues, just know that there's a good chance it's being passed around the office, and the employees are most likely laughing at you.

Basically, Binder & Binder is the Mcdonalds of disability law. They take as many cases as they get - and when they sign you up, they don't tell you that YOU have to pay for the medical records. How is a disabled person with no income going to afford a $500 narrative report from a doctor? You are essentially better off doing it yourself. The Social Security Website is quite easy, and any decent friend can help you along the way. Or look into a local lawyer.

The most troubling thing is that out of an office of 500 - 600 people, there are TWO lawyers. Yes, two. I'm not counting Charles or Harry Binder because all they do is sit and order nice office furniture. The fact is, when it's time for your hearing, you'll be represented by a NON ATTORNEY ADVOCATE. That's right - a kid right out of college, with maybe 3 months training in social security law. And it doesn't matter what you major in, as long as you have a degree. You could major in marine biology and be in front of a judge 3 months later.

Stay away from this company, and please contact me if there is a class action lawsuit regarding the unpaid breaks. NYS requires a 30 minute lunch break and two 15 min breaks. We were only allowed one 45 minute unpaid lunch break. Stay away from this evil company.
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Old Apr 16th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #20
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Default Re: Binder and Binder -- what should I do?

As a former employee of Binder and Binder in NY, I warn you to stay away, whether you are looking to be hired there, or to be represented by them. I worked there for a long enough period of time and you learn real fast how they operate.

The caseworkers there are swamped with files, most sitting on their desks, on the floor nearby in a bin, or just stacked as is on the floor and a great deal of them not being touched for months. When I was being trained to do "file reviews," I was praised for my thoroughness and great detail. However, I was also told that I should be done with them fast and not linger on them. In fact, I tried my very best to keep that thoroughness and detail, but I could not work as fast as they wanted me to. Interestingly enough, the logs they keep, which is supposed to keep record of who touches the case and was is done to it, had file reviews that took little more than a minute to do with no care for detail or anything, even though I was being told to be thorough and make sure everything was "in order." These "reviews" were done by people who have been working there for quite a while, although you were considered a veteran if you were there more than a year. A good caseworker could be praised for their excellent work one day, and then be the one to take the fall for something they didn't do. When an advocate or supervisor makes a mistake, who better to take the blame than the caseworker? Every single one is replaceable.

The staff, not all of course, does in fact, as said from the post on Feb 11th, 2010, pass around sensitive information for laughs. However, I don't ever recall seeing anyone making copies of said sensitive information to bring home, although with so much shady stuff going on, I probably didn't even realize. There was a rule that you were not to joke around about clients and speak ill of them, but try as some of the supervisors may, this did not stop it. If they caught you, depending on what you said, there was a range of things that could happen: you are fired, you get written up, you get yelled at, or even a small slap on the wrist. Basically, it was a favorites game where if the supervisor liked you, your punishment was not as severe, and the same applied for anything "really bad" you did there.

Prior to quitting, due to the fact that I could not handle the stress, there was an issue with a snow day where the office was closed. According to management, the day of the snow storm caused the office to be closed for the first time in years. For the people who braved the snow to come in, when they were sent home early because it got so bad, we were rewarded by being told they will not pay you for the time you missed while the office was closed. Instead, we were told that if we wanted compensation, we could come in early, stay late, or use up vacation time.

Rumors were also another problem. In an office of 300+ people, it's bound to happen. I won't go into detail, because I feel I don't really need to, but it was pretty bad.

B&B has a high turn-over for good reason, which is old news. They monitor phone conversations, they shadow your activities on your computer, they have cameras everywhere, and they will fire you on the spot if you point out something they don't like people talking about, such as the lunch issue brought up by the previous poster. I cannot tell you how a little, harmless comment can turn into three supervisors and one of the head managers pulling you aside into an office to discuss your "loyalties" to the company. If you work there, watch your back, because some will not hesitate to stab it when you least expect it, and they sure as Hell will. "Sink or swim" was a popular phrase I heard quite often.

Just as a quick side-note, I was told some former clients were now employees, and as such, to watch what you say even more closely because of that.

The people who come to B&B for help either get it or they don't. Case files frequently get lost and misplaced. Their locations aren't always logged in the computer so trying to find them is a nightmare. Caseworkers are swamped so bad they can hardly focus on one thing at a time. They play the blame game, but won't admit they do. They treat their employees bad and their clients even worse. **Do NOT expect the Binders to look at your case unless you are going to Federal Court. Otherwise, they are apparently too busy to show up for anything more than 2-3 days out of a month.

I am glad I got out when I did since all I hear is how it is getting a lot worse. Stay away.
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