I’d like to share with you one of the things I find most frustrating about being a Social Security Disability and SSI lawyer. Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely LOVE my job. But to be honest, some clients are much more difficult to work with than others, and it all has to do with the give and take in the lawyer-client relationship.
The clients I’m referring to are the ones who fail to do the follow-up things we ask of them. Despite how important their claims and the potential payments are to them, many clients just don’t follow our instructions, and this inevitably causes delays in their claim. At worst, it can cause us to lose the case as a result.
While we do the hard stuff (like filing the SSD or SSI claim and obtaining medical evidence), once we are retained, it doesn’t mean that a claimant can just sit back and wait for his or her checks! When we are first retained we go over with every client when we need to hear from them, and how we need them to follow up.
We may need things like tax returns or Workers’ Compensation notices. Sometimes we ask the client to “remind” the doctor that we are waiting for a report. Not getting these things can cause the case to grind to a halt, and sometimes can even lead to an unfavorable decision.
To make a play on John F. Kennedy’s most famous quote, “ask not what your lawyer can do for you; ask what you can do for your lawyer.” We often need some help from our clients in order to win their cases.
Unlike many other Social Security Disability Advocates or Attorneys, we never ask our clients to file their own claims or get their own records. The things that we ask our clients to help us with are those things that may not be within our control. When we don’t get the cooperation we need from a client, our job becomes infinitely more difficult and sometimes impossible.