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Firing Your Disability Lawyer

Firing a Disability Lawyer

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Firing Your Disability Lawyer May Not Be Wise

You are always allowed to fire your disability attorney, but that does not necessarily mean that you should.  The process will be much smoother if you stay with the same attorney from start to finish so be sure to select a good attorney at the beginning.

Disability Process Can Be Time Consuming

Throughout this process, claimants become frustrated with their attorney.  Generally, that frustration comes about because the disability process takes so long.  The frustration often comes to a boiling point when attorneys or staff fail to immediately return phone calls or fail to have immediate answers to claimant questions.  You should first inform your lawyer about the issues you are having.  This will give your current attorney an opportunity to fix (or not) the perceived problem.

You should know that there is very little if anything your attorney can do to speed up the process.  (Exceptions are made for dire needs requests, companionate allowances, and 100% P&T disabled vets.)   

When You Should Fire Your Disability Lawyer

Additionally, dealing with the Social Security Administration is not always easy and immediate answers are not always available.  You will likely find that the same problems exist after you hire a new attorney.

That being said, if you find yourself in a nightmarish situation where your lawyer is not giving your claim the due diligence it requires, firing your lawyer is the action you should take.

Fire a disability lawyer

Steps to Take to Fire Your Disability Lawyer

The first step in firing your disability lawyer, is to send a letter directly to the lawyer and a copy of that letter directly to the Social Security Administration.

In the letter, you need to indicate your desire to terminate your lawyer.  You should also request that your lawyer send a letter of withdrawal to the Social Security Administration.

A few weeks after sending those letters you should call the Social Security Administration to ensure that your old lawyer was taken off of you claim.

If you take the action of firing your disability lawyer, you should be aware that you may still be liable for expenses that your lawyer has incurred up to that point in your claim.

Disability attorney - disability qualifications

In addition to that, your former lawyer might petition the Social Security Administration for a portion of your past due benefits.

Most disability lawyers will not pursue these actions if they are informed of the termination early on in the process.  The further along you are in the process, the more time, money and effort your former lawyer has in the claim and the more likely they are to petition the Administration for a share of the ultimate fee.

That fee will never exceed the statutory limits, which as of this writing are 25% of your past due benefits not to exceed $6,000.    You could have difficulty hiring a new lawyer if your old lawyer refuses to waive his or her rights to potential legal fees.

Do Not Hire Multiple Lawyers

One thing you should not do is hire multiple lawyers.  Having more than one lawyer on your claim at the same time creates a very complicated situation for the attorney you actually want.

The SSA will only send one copy of notices so the lawyer you think is on your file might actually not be.  Also, it creates confusion when it is time for your lawyer to be paid.  You will have created quite a mess that can hold up your back pay as well as your attorney’s fee.

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March 21, 2022

Written by TC Newlin

TC is a disability litigator and one of the managing partners in the Social Security Disability Department at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin. He has had the pleasure of helping thousands of people obtain the benefits they so desperately need.

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