Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

What if you are not sure if your disability lawyer is doing anything?

I found this interesting. Someone wrote in a forum (I'm loosely paraphrasing): "I got a disability lawyer for my case over half a year ago. But when I go see him, he's never there and he doesn't return any of my messages. My contract says that if I fire my attorney I have to pay him. But he hasn't done anything. I think I will get my disability and that I shouldn't have to pay him at all. How do I fire him without paying."

I've heard variations of this story more times than I can count.

First off, if you are dissatisfied with your disability representative (either a non-attorney claimant's representative or a disability attorney), you always have the right to choose a new representative. That can be as easy as sending in a new SSA-1696 (the form used to designate someone as your representative) with their fee agreement. Secondly, it is true that there are reps who do a poor job of staying in touch with their clients and returning calls. Thirdly, there are legitimate reasons for discharging a representative and finding a new one.

Discharging a representative, however, may still leave an individual obligated to pay whatever out-of-pocket expenses were incurred by the representative (for example, the cost of procuring medical record updates and medical source statements a.k.a. RFC forms from treating physicians). And the rep being discharged may decide to file a fee petition, something that may be more likely to happen if a significant amount of development has been done on the case.

Are there reps who should be fired because they never ever return calls and, worse, continually miss appeal deadlines (to be honest, this can legitimately happen once in a blue moon due to an honest oversight or foul-up, but should never be a regular occurrence in any rep's office)? Yes, of course.

However, having said that, the following is also true.

1. There are some claimants who call their representatives office wayyyyy too often.

2. There are some claimants who make the incorrect assumption that nothing's been done on their case when, in fact, quite a bit has been done.

3. Some claimants (thankfully, a small percentage) have a problem--and I hate to say it but it is true--with the notion that they should have to pay a portion of their disability back pay to a representative who has assisted them with winning their case.

Bottom line:

1. You will have a better chance, ulimately, of winning your disability case if you have representation.

2. If you are not satisfied with the representation you receive, you have the right to seek new representation.

3. You need to read your fee agreement before signing it and be mindful of the fact that you are obligating yourself to the conditions of the fee agreement (all fee agreements, by the way, have to be approved by social security).

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Viewing Your Social Security Disability SSI File
Is autism increasing?
Social Security Disability unsuccessful work attempts
How to file for disability in Oregon
Possible to file for Temporary Disability Income through Social Security?
Will Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis in my hands qualify for disability?
Will working part-time affect my SSD?
Can you file for disability with sleep apnea
Does Social Security Hold Back The First five Months Of Back Pay?
Does Social Security Disability Come With Medicaid Benefits?
Applying for Disability or SSI - How long does it take
How to file for disability in Ohio
Tips for Social Security Disability Psychological and mental testing
How long will an SSI or SSDI disability claim take?
Social Security Award Letter and being due a substantial back pay amount

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

My Social Security Disability SSI appeal status
Disability back pay, how it works
Eligibility criteria requirements for disability
Qualifying requirements for disability
Decision on disability case, are you eligible for a disability award
When is a Person Considered Disabled by Social Security?
Forms to appeal a Social Security Disability denial
Permanent disability benefits
How to qualify for disability with depression
If Social Security sends you to a psychiatrist
Disability denied twice
How to claim disability
How many times will Social Security deny you?
Applying for Disability with high blood pressure
Will my children get benefits if I get approved for disability?
How much time for a decision on a disability claim?
Can you work if you get an SSI disability check?
How to File for SSI
Filing for disability, how to apply for SSD, SSI
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
How to get disability
How to appeal a disability denial