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A disability lawyer...Can I fire them?

Many disability claimants hired disability lawyers hoping that the disability lawyer would speed up the Social Security Administration disability claims process. What disability claimants often find is that even with a disability lawyer they end up waiting months or year to receive disability benefits, or worse, they are denied Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Claimants have the legal right to fire their disability lawyer at any point in the disability process, but before considering this action, claimants should have a realistic idea about what a disability lawyer can and cannot do.

To understand whether or not a disability lawyer can expedite the disability process for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it is important to understand what a disability lawyer can actually do and what they cannot do.

What does a Social Security Disability Attorney do?

Although a disability lawyer is an expert at reviewing a claimant’s medical evidence, gathering additional medical records for cases and arguing a case before an administrative law judge, they are not miracle workers. They will not be able to catapult a claimant’s disability application through the Social Security Administration's process to the “front of the line” and bypass thousands of other disability claimants, forcing the disability determination services or an administrative law judges to make an expedited decision (an exception may exist ifthey make a request for an on the record review and attempt to get a ruling without a hearing).

So, yes, a disability lawyer can improve a claimant’s chance to get benefits at every step in the Social Security Administration Disability approval process because they understand the process and can make sure that all of the necessary information is included with the application and appeal documents, thus potentially speeding up the time a claimant may be awarded benefits by avoiding multiple appeals, but they cannot completely eliminate the waiting time.

How to fire your disability lawyer

Now, if you are considering firing your disability lawyer you should first consider if they doing their job.  A disability lawyer who is not doing their job is one who is not responding to your inquiries, who fails to meet critical deadlines for your disability case or who does not seem competent. Some disability lawyers are very good lawyers but they have simply taken on too many disability cases and they cannot give your case the attention it needs.

Regardless of how good your disability attorney is, there will be long stretches of time where there is literally NOTHING for them to do. They are simply waiting for the Social Security Administration to do something: review your case, gather medical records, or schedule a hearing. Disability lawyers most likely will not call you every week to tell you they are still waiting.

Assuming you have realistic expectations about what your disability lawyer be doing and they are failing to perform their professional duties, you can fire them. Notification should be made in writing, clearly stating that you no longer want their representation.

Your disability lawyer should also notify the Social Security Administration by sending them a letter of withdrawal. Keep in mind, if your disability lawyer has invested time in your disability case they can still petition the Social Security Administration for partial payment if you win your SSDI or SSI benefits. They may also expect you to pay for any expenses they have incurred thus far.

If you do decide to hire another disability lawyer they will generally expect a letter of withdrawal from a previous disability attorney.


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