We fully appreciate the irony of a Social Security Disability lawyer writing about firing a Social Security Disability lawyer. Still, given the lengthy duration of the Social Security Disability process, we think it’s important for claimants to work with a disability lawyer they trust.
In over a decade of practice representing claimants applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, we’ve seen it all. Sometimes, we’ve referred claimants to other attorneys when we didn’t feel comfortable working on their claim. Other times, we’ve taken on new clients frustrated with their previous attorney – some for good reason, other’s not.
We’ve learned a great deal along the way and thought it would be valuable to share our insight with you. Below, you’ll find our thoughts on the top three reasons it may make sense to fire your disability lawyer.
Reason #1: They aren’t honest with you.
Applying for Social Security Disability takes a lot of time. The last thing you want is to work with a disability lawyer who isn’t upfront with you about your claim. This rarely happens. But, we’ve seen a few instances where disability lawyers haven’t taken the time to thoroughly assess a disability claim before moving forward.
In these instances, these claimants wait a long time for a result. Then, they get to a hearing or attempt to appeal a denial and find out their claim had serious issues at onset. A denied claim is disappointing for anyone, but particularly those who wait a long period of time. To avoid this, it’s important to work with a disability firm with a thorough intake process. This helps you avoid any misses that cost time in the long run.
As an aside and in our experience, most disability lawyers are honest about any red flags they may see when they take on your claim. But not every client is willing to listen. So, it’s important that you listen carefully to your attorney when they express concerns about your claim. It may save you time and a great deal of heartache along the way!
Reason #2: You never speak with them.
It’s not always possible (or even necessary) to get your disability lawyer on the phone when you have a question about your claim. Many firms employ an excellent team of case managers who help build out your claim, gather medical evidence and in general keep the process moving forward.
But, if your attorney is never available to you or you find that you can’t get basic questions answered by your assigned case manager in a timely manner, it may be time to move on.
We’ve seen this happen occasionally to claimants working with large national firms or multi-specialty firms who assign lawyers to claimants right before a hearing.
Reason #3: They don’t have disability experience.
This may seem like an obvious reason, but you’d be surprised by how many claimants work with lawyers with no Social Security Disability experience. Some law firms, particularly those in very small cities, provide general practice services for their clients.
While they may be versed in a number of legal disciplines, if your lawyer doesn’t have disability experience, it doesn’t make sense to work with them. The Social Security Administration has complicated processes and procedures to follow that are essential to effectively processing your claim.
We’ve sadly taken on clients working with lawyers whose lack of experience resulted in negative outcomes on their claims. Luckily, the clients were able to bring us on board before their claim was fully denied. In most cases, we were able to successfully address the issues with their claims.
The bottom line is this: there are MANY good disability lawyers out there. You’re fighting for a monthly cash benefit and backpay that you may receive for the rest of your life. With the stakes this high, it’s likely best to work with someone who is experienced and knowledgeable in this area.
In summary, we hope you’ve found the above helpful. If you do decide to fire your disability lawyer and hire a new one, remember there are specific steps to follow. You will need to notify them that you no longer need their representation and they will need to send you written notification that they have withdrawn from your claim. Your new lawyer can walk you through next steps. Once that’s complete, your new lawyer can get to work.
Got additional questions? We offer free consultations and would be happy to chat with you further.