Can you change disability lawyers if you are not satisfied?
Yes, you can. At any point in the process of pursuing disability benefits (the application or on an appeal), you can change representation.
However, even if you are dissatisfied with your disability lawyer or non attorney representative, you should be very careful about seeking new representation. In other words, with something as important as who represents your disability claim, don't make this kind of change lightly.
Here's some advice worth considering. If you're thinking of changing who represents you, consider first the reasons why. Nine times out of ten the primary motivation for changing lawyers has to do with a communication issue.
What are communication issues? Not getting status updates from your representative, finding it difficult to get information from your representative, and not getting call backs after messages have been left. All of these issues are, without question, substantial.
However, many disability lawyers and non attorney reps have full hearing schedules and very often this involves traveling to distant hearing sites. For this reason, a disability representative may sometimes seem inaccessible when, in fact, the representative is simply bogged down with a demanding caseload.
None of which is YOUR problem if you can't get what you need from your representative.
So, what do you do? Well, before changing horses in midstream, make another attempt at contact and make sure you leave a message with good return contact information. In other words, let the rep know when you can be reached and where. And, sometimes, of course, the best method of reaching one's representative is simply to make an office visit.
Related: How do you fire a disability attorney?
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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