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How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

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).








Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

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What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state



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Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

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Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

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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








For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.