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How Social Security law firms REALLY work

Ever feel ignored by your Social Security disability lawyer? Or, can’t remember the first thing about your case?

  • What happens after you hire a Social Security disability lawyer or law firm?
  • Is your representative really working on your case?
  • Has your case been outsourced?
  • Who gets to see your medical records?
  • What does an attorney do between appointments?
  • Who’s really worse: lawyers or used car salesmen?

This week’s Disability Tips discusses how Social Security law firms REALLY run!

Got a burning question about lawyers and disability case? Ask it in the comments. Or, leave a message at the Disability Tips voicemail: (719) 357-7099.

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Image provided by Ryan McGuire.

  • Truth Teller

    In a perfect world, those who are put into a position to
    assist others would do so properly and in the same fashion as they advertise.
    In my research and experience, I have yet to come across any single person who
    has properly handled my claim. Whether it be a local SSA employee who knowingly
    enters an incorrect onset date and fails to correct it, or a representative who
    fails to review your medical evidence outside a few documents, or an ALJ who
    continues to ignore ever-growing issue including an incorrect onset date; who
    is really on the side of the claimant? When I report these errors to the appropriate
    department, I always receive the same template answer, “We will look into this
    serious matter immediately and inform you of our results.” Of course I never
    hear anything in return. This has happened way too many times for this to be an
    unfortunate circumstance.

    If the SSA doesn’t follow their own rules and regulations
    when it comes to their responsibilities, how is the claimant to have a fighting
    chance? I have read many, many federal appeals, and I have noticed a terrible
    pattern. The fact I use the term “pattern” is disturbing enough; I thought
    disability claims were supposed to have some room for “case by case” rulings;
    not all rules and regulations fit every claimant 100%, so there “should” be
    some room for common sense to supersede blanket rules. It appears most
    Consultative Exams report the same language no matter the claimant and/or the
    impairment. There is a problem with “boilerplate” language and this kind of
    lazy assessment is simply delaying most claimants from receiving a favorable
    decision. There are way too many claims the upper courts are throwing back to
    the ALJ’s for simple mistakes and outrageous errors. Most of the cases I have
    read, the claimant is ultimately awarded benefits once the “crediting as true”
    doctrine is implemented. The system complains about backlogs; it appears that
    sloppy judiciary conduct is the reason for many of the problems with the
    backlogs. Do ALJ’s consciously make simple errors knowing these claims will
    come back to them? Is this self-created job security? I would hope not, but the
    possibility for that pattern is present.

    I’ve also noticed (and especially in my personal
    experience), there are many representatives who don’t feel the claimant could
    possibly offer any assistance to their own claim. Like you said in this video, “the
    claimant is going to be the one who knows the evidence the best” (or at least
    they should be the one with the best knowledge). I’ve also noticed there are
    many claimants who just throw everything to the representative and not bother
    to know anything about their own claim; they expect the representative to find
    all the cracks but then complain when details are missed. There “has” to be a
    reason representatives do not want/allow their claimants to get too involved
    with their own claim. Is this because the representative wants to maintain “ego
    control” or do they simply want to be able to claim more work on their part
    (which equals more billing). My claim has lost many arguments simply because my
    representative either didn’t want to listen to my advice or he is a member of
    the club where representatives believe they always know better, always. Just
    because a claimant isn’t certified in disability law doesn’t mean they don’t
    know or recognize important missing details.

    Outside of reporting a representative to the state bar, how
    is a claimant to know whether their representative is truly either committing “lazy
    representation” or if they are approaching irresponsible actions (or a lack
    thereof)? Who is watching over the representative (who is supposed to be
    watching over the claimant)? One can’t always approach the representative to “talk”
    about their concerns. This would be like approaching someone you feel is
    cheating you to ask them if they are cheating.

    Anyway, the whole system is really in terrible shape. I
    believe there needs to be an overhaul of how the process works. Most of the
    reasons this process is in terrible shape is self-inflicted, yet I don’t see
    anyone trying to address the “smaller” issues. Like you said, “the Devil is in
    the details.” When is someone going to actually start paying attention to those