In 2017 and 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began making a host of revisions to its regulations and rules that pertain to Social Security disability claims.
We are staying informed about these changes, but so far it looks as though these changes will make life considerably more complicated for attorneys in this field. An attorney for SSI disability claimants will likely have a much more difficult time managing cases under the new regulations.
Social Security Administration Changes Affecting Attorneys
Particularly challenging, as it appears, will be changing caseloads. If an SSI disability claimant attorney has a client that is not responding to messages — perhaps the client has moved, or does not want to pursue the disability claim — then that attorney typically can withdraw from the case. This is essential for an attorney to manage large caseloads. If a client does not want legal representation, that is their decision. Not a problem. But the attorney needs to be able to end that attorney-client relationship in such cases.
The changes with respect to attorneys withdrawing as counsel are more stringent than they have been in the past. If an attorney is unable to withdraw as counsel to a client who is uncooperative, that attorney may still be forced to devote time and effort into a case which cannot be won without client cooperation.
Also adding to the attorney’s challenges are changes in the ability to research claims. When a new client arrives, attorneys must be allowed the time to evaluate the claim in order to decide whether or not the claim is worth pursuing. Many cases are not pursued after the initial evaluation. As The Legal Intelligencer tells us, such evaluations are about to become more difficult to obtain. Without that ability to decide whether or not to take on new clients, attorneys will be at a clear disadvantage.