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What Do I Do If My Social Security Disability Attorney Dies?

By | 2018-11-09T00:46:20+00:00 November 9th, 2018|Blog, Social Security Disability|0 Comments

Attorney SloanWe recently learned that attorney Michael Sloan passed away on November 1, 2018.  Our sympathies go out to his loved ones.  Attorney Sloan practiced Social Security Disability Law in McKinney, Texas at the Law Offices of Michael Sloan.  His office is at 2111 Eldorado Parkway, McKinney, TX 75070.   It is nearby our McKinney, TX office at 2530 W. White Avenue, Suite 200, McKinney, TX 75071.

We have been contacted by several of his clients about taking their cases.  And, we have accepted the representation of many of his clients.  His clients have expressed their fondness for Mr. Sloan and their sadness about his death.  They also have told us they are worried about how the death of their Social Security Representative will affect the Social Security Disability case.

Will I have to Start My Disability Claim Over?

No. Social Security will not require you to file a new claim just because your attorney representative has passed away.  Your claim will remain active and at the current level.  It will be your responsibility to obtain and submit the medical documentation to support your claim for disability.  Therefore, you so should hire a new attorney representative as soon as possible.

Can I Hire A New Social Security Attorney?

Yes.  Social Security will allow you to hire a new attorney representative at any time during your claim. However, it is a good idea to attempt to get the office staff of your former attorney representative to notify Social Security in writing the attorney has passed away.  If that is impossible, your new attorney representative can handle it.

Will It Delay My Social Security Claim?

Not necessarily.  Most claims will be in active status and either pending a decision or waiting on a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge.  There are special situations where an appeal deadline is pending and was not filed within the 60-day deadline, due to the death of your attorney representative.  If so, it is imperative you get a new attorney representative as soon as possible to file the appeal forms to get your claim back on track.

Will My Hearing Have to Be Rescheduled?

No.  If your hearing is already scheduled, it need not be rescheduled.  An Administrative Law Judge will likely not reschedule your hearing unless you request it or your new disability attorney or Social Security Disability Representative requests it.  The Administrative Law Judge knows that you have waited several months to obtain a hearing date and will always leave the option to postpone your hearing up to you.  However, it may be a good idea to reschedule your hearing if it benefits your claim under some circumstances.  For example. If your previous Social Security Attorney has failed to submit all the medical records or additional vocational information should be submitted.

Will it Hurt My Chances of Being Approved for Social Security?

No.  The death of your disability representative, by itself, should not hurt your chances of winning your Social Security Disability Claim.  However, the death of a representative is a ripe time for things falling through the cracks that may jeopardize your disability claim.  all your medical records should be timely submitted well before your disability hearing.  It is also important that any vocational reports and Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”) forms be submitted well before your Social Security case hearing.  It is a good idea, however, to get a new attorney representative soon so your claim file can be reviewed, and the proper documentation can be submitted to support your claim for disability.

What Forms Will Have Be Filed with Social Security Administration?

Social Security requires no specific forms from you.  They will require your new attorney representative to file an SSA 1696 Appointment of Representative Form 16 by your new attorney representative.  It is also a good idea to get a letter from your former attorney’s office staff stating that your attorney representative has passed away.  This letter can be submitted by you, your former attorney’s office staff or your new attorney representative.

Do I Have to Get All My Medical Records?

No.  Your Social Security disability claim will remain active and all the medical records obtained by your attorney representative will remain in your Social Security disability file.  However, it is your responsibility (if you choose not to immediately find a new attorney representative) to obtain and submit any new medical providers.  If you obtain a new attorney representative, they will do this for you and you will not need to do anything.

How Do I Obtain a Copy of My File?

You have two options here.   You can always contact the office staff of your former attorney and request a copy of your file.  You can also call your local Social Security office and request a copy of your Social Security file.  This can take a little longer than trying to get your file from your former attorney’s office.  Social Security requires you to go online to www.SSA.gov and complete SSA form 3288, Authorization for Release of Information.  This process can take several weeks, and your file will be sent to you on a CD.

Will I Have to Pay Twice?

By law, Social Security Representatives and Disability Claim Lawyers are limited to 25% of the back pay they recover – not greater than $6,000.00.  Even if you have had more than one claim representative handling your claim, the most you ever have to pay is a total $6,000.00 or 25% of your back pay – whichever is less.  So, don’t worry.  The disability benefits that you desperately need will not be reduced because your attorney died and you had to hire someone new.

Who Should I Call?

It is best to contact a new social security lawyer like Mark Underwood at Underwood Law Office as soon as possible.  Underwood Law Office has helped many Social Security Disability Claimants when their representatives pass away during their case.  We will make the transition from your previous representative to our office as smooth as possible.  If your Social Security Disability Attorney dies during your case, contact attorney Mark Underwood at Underwood Law Office at 855-GO DISABILITY.  That phone number is (855) 463-4722.

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