Your Rights When it Comes to Social Security Disability Attorneys
October 6, 2016
But what if you used a different SSD lawyer, and you were denied benefits? Or what if you are unsatisfied with the work someone else has done for you? Legally speaking, can you fire your attorney and hire a new one? The short answer is “yes,” however, firing an SSD attorney is not simple; there is a process you must follow.
Changing your representation
Dissatisfied clients should notify their former attorneys via both mail and telephone of their desire to obtain different attorneys, and former attorneys should mail a withdrawal letter to the SSA. These notifications enable the SSA to remove the former attorneys’ names and information from the claimants’ cases. If claimants fail to notify their former attorneys and the SSA of their change in attorneys, an uncomfortable situation could result. Moreover, some lawyers reject SSD cases if no withdrawal letter already exists.
One thing to remember is that claimants still have to pay any expenses their previous lawyer incurred up until being fired. When claimants hire attorneys, they must sign legal documents called fee agreements, which outline any expenses – such as expenses covering photocopying, acquiring the claimants’ medical records, and trips the attorneys have to make – which the claimants have to pay out of their own pockets. But claimants will not face any problems from their former attorneys if they give them sufficient notice of their wish to change legal representation, especially if the notice is early enough that the former attorneys spent few hours and/or expenses on the claimants’ cases.
Why would you wish to fire your Social Security Disability attorney?
Generally speaking, dissatisfaction arises due to the amount of time that passes before the SSA finally makes a decision on claimants’ cases. Attorneys’ failure to respond to telephone and/or email messages in a timely manner adds to the dissatisfaction. Remember: attorneys usually have no control or authority over the amount of time that passes before the SSA makes decisions, and claimants who fire their attorneys and hire new ones often face identical problems with their new attorneys. However, exceptions to the long wait for SSA decisions can arise if claimants have terminal illnesses.
In some instances, especially instances where SSD attorneys fail to work on their clients’ cases diligently, a change in legal representation is necessary. In such instances, acquiring withdrawal letters and making sure that the SSA receive said withdrawal letters and written notices from the claimants are critical, for failure can result in uncomfortable situations, as stated above. In other instances, claimants dismiss their attorneys because of personality clashes. If their attorneys have spent few hours and/or expenses on their cases, dissatisfied clients can request that their former attorneys to drop their case and not collect their remaining fees. However, former attorneys are not required to act upon their former clients’ requests for not collecting their remaining fees.
If you or your loved one has a disability and is dissatisfied with his or her legal representation but still needs help collecting Social Security Disability benefits in Philadelphia, talk to a lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates. To learn more, please call 888.PITT.LAW, or contact us to schedule an appointment with an experienced Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyer at any of our offices serving Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.