How do I become involved in SSI/SSDI cases that are already in process? What about cases that have been going on for a long time, such as those waiting for a hearing or appeal?
If the case is at the initial or reconsideration stage, you should first ask the person if he/she is willing to sign for you to be his/her representative. Then ask the DDS if, as the person’s representative, you may review the individual’s file. You may ask the DDS to send what they have electronically. After reviewing the person’s file, you'll know what needs to be addressed, just as when you are starting anew with someone. If the person isn't willing to have you be the representative, ask if s/he has one and try to assist that person with what needs to be addressed.
If the person is waiting for a hearing rather than an initial decision, it may be necessary for you to secure legal representation for them, through agencies such as the state Protection and Advocacy organization, Legal Services, Legal Aid, or another kind of pro-bono legal service.