SSDI - Can I fire disability lawyer if denied?Recently on our SSDI disability forum, we had a claimant ask if they had to continue to use their disability lawyer if they were denied disability benefits and they had not heard from the attorney. This is a good question, and this blog will address what you will need to do after you have been denied and you are working with legal help.
Is my disability lawyer still working on my case?
Its always a bit dismaying when disability claimants have no idea what is happening with their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) case. It could be that the disability lawyer is too busy or has too many cases to give the applicant the attention they deserve or the claimant could be the type that is difficult to reach, does not send information in a timely manner, moves and does not tell the lawyer or refuses to return phone calls.
Assuming it is not the claimant, any claimant that has questions about the status of their SSI or SSDI case should be able to easily contact their lawyer or advocate and get an answer. With that said, if you have been denied SSDI or SSI benefits you will have 60 days to file a reconsideration. If you hired a SSDI or SSI lawyer when you applied for disability benefits than they should get the denial notice and file the disability reconsideration appeal for you.
If you hired the disability lawyer after you were denied at the application level it will depend how far you are into the 60 day deadline whether or not the disability lawyer will have time to complete the reconsideration paperwork. Some SSI and SSDI claimants wait until they have a week left and the lawyer simply cannot do the reconsideration for them so the client must do it on their own.
If you have been denied at the reconsideration level you have 60 days to file a request for a hearing. Generally, if you have hired a disability lawyer they will also automatically file the request for the hearing. They should, however, continue to keep you abreast of all news about your SSI or SSDI case and you should understand that they are working on your case.
What if I am denied SSI or SSDI at the Hearing level?
If you are denied SSDI or SSI benefits at the hearing level you also have 60 days to request a review by the Appeals Council. Because the approval percentage at this level is so low and the council often refuses to even review cases, many disability lawyers consider this step to be a waste of time and may tell their clients to apply a second time instead of making this last appeal.
Now, whether or not this is the strategy for your case can only be determined by talking directly with your lawyer or advocate and finding out their recommendation for your SSDI or SSI case. If you have to file a new case you can choose to do it with or without legal counsel or you can find another attorney to represent you.
Can I fire my disability lawyer during the disability process?
Yes, you can fire your disability attorney, but keep in mind, they are likely to get a percentage of your back pay if you do end up winning your disability case after they have been fired.