Social Security Disability SSI – mistakes not to make 7

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#7 – Don’t continually hop from one disability lawyer (or non attorney representative) to the next. I’ve actually come across a couple of disability claimants who had managed to change representation four times in a six month period, due to various grievances.

Do you have the right to change representation if you feel your needs are not being met, with regard to timeliness (timeliness as in not getting call backs) and/or competency (obviously, a very significant issue, which is why I advise that you should get a rep who handles SSD and SSI cases only—you want a specialist, not a “dabbler”)? Yes, certainly.

However, before you do decide to switch, call the individual representing you and express your concerns. Sometimes a simple phone call can put things in perspective, eliminate confusion, or erase a misunderstanding (some claimants mistakenly assume that a lawyer or non attorney’s involvement in the case can absolutely and dramatically speed up the application or appeal process, but, unfortunately, the process is largely beyond the control of a representative or a claimant).

Many representatives, in fact, will decline taking your case until you can demonstrate that you have contacted your current lawyer and, for lack of other words, have fired him or her. And some reps, in order to avoid a fee petition later, will insist on a withdrawal notice from the lawyer or non attorney being discharged (if you “fire” your rep and the rep feels that X amount of work and effort has been put into the case, they may decide to petition for their fair share of the fee, assuming the case is eventually won).

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