July 22, 2014

Is Settlement Advance Funding Available to Social Security Disaiblity Claimants?

With delays in Social Security disability cases reaching three years, it was inevitable that settlement advance funding would be adapted to include Social Security disability cases.  Yesterday, a company called AnyLawSuits.com purchased a site review from me through Reviewme.com, which is a marketplace that allows website owners to purchase blog reviews.  I thought that AnyLawSuits.com’s concept is interesting because they say that any advance issued to a claimant would not have to be repaid if the claimant lost his disability case.

In the personal injury field, settlement advances are usually loans whereby a funding source loans money against an expected settlement.   The lender makes its money by charging an interest rate as compensation for its risk.  Assuming the interest rate is reasonable, settlement advance funding can help cash poor plaintiffs  cover their bills while waiting for their settlement to arrive.

It appears that Social Security disability lump sum funding would work in a similar way.   If , for example, your estimated lump sum receipt after attorney’s fees is $25,000, the settlement lender may advance you a percentage of the expected settlement  with the understanding that you will repay the advance + interest when your lump sum arrives.  Further, if you lose your case, you would not have to repay the advance.

AnyLawSuits.com’s web site doesn’t offer any details about how the advance arrangement works. They do not reveal how they decide how much to loan or what the interest rate would be.   At the bottom of their web page there is a link to a company called Alpine Funding.   It appears that AnyLawSuits.com has a broker relationship with Alpine Funding whereby AnyLawSuits.com earns a commission for any settlement loan they place.

The Alpine Funding site explains that you would have to sign some sort of assignment of your check, but I wonder how enforceable such an assignment would be given that Social Security checks cannot be garnished or seized by judgment creditors.  In addition, Social Security lump sum checks are paid directly to the claimant, unlike insurance claim checks which are sent to the plaintiff’s lawyer.  Alpine Funding’s site is also silent as to what percentage of the anticipated settlement might be loaned or the interest rate to be charged.

I also find it interesting that AnyLawSuits.com’s web site specifically says that they do not advance on SSI or SSD cases.  Why, then, would they purchase a review on my Social Security disability blog with a notation that they offer "social security legal funding?"

If anyone reading this decides to try AnyLawSuits.com, I would advise you to be very, very careful and to consult with your lawyer before signing anything.  I would also be interested in hearing about anyone’s experience with "settlement advance" funding in Social Security disability cases.  I can see how settlement advance funding would be attractive to a cash strapped Social Security disability claimant but like any financial proposal directed to a customer with cash flow problems, the terms of the deal are likely to be weighed heavily in favor of the lender.

[tags] settlement advance funding, anylawsuits.com, advance of social security disability lump sum [/tags]

 

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Jonathan Ginsberg represents Social Security disability claimants in Georgia. In practice for over 23 years, Jonathan publishes a widely known disability blog, a podcast and several disability web sites. In 2004, Jonathan published a "how to" book about Social Security disability called the Disability Answer Guide. Jonathan lives with his wife and 2 children in Atlanta.