Disability lawyer fiasco, I need to know my options
August 18, 2014 5:14 AM Subscribe
I recently moved from one state to another and was in the middle of applying for disability, but that's not where the story begins. It starts with deception and a long wait that didn't need to happen (long story inside).
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So, I filed for disability in January 2013 for various reasons, and of course I was denied 'round about March of 2013. So, on the advice of others, I got a lawyer -- one of those lawyers that advertise on television. I figured, that's what they do... right? Anyway, I called my lawyer every month as directed to get an update on my case only to be told that my case was "in appeal" and that this state worked slowly. Be patient. Well, in January of 2014, I got tired of being patient and demanded to speak to my case worker instead of whoever answered the phone (I was always told that she was at lunch no matter what time of day I called or that she was with a client if that didn't work). That's when I found out that I'd been denied in August of 2013, AND that Social Security never received an appeal from my lawyer. The case worker I was working with for the law firm claimed they'd sent one back in August after the denial and that they would "take care of it."
So I, again, called them every month and asked them to please update me on my case. I was more forceful this time and asked to speak to the caseworker as often as possible. But instead of the oft-quoted brush-off about my case being "in appeal" I kept getting "We'll call the Social Security office and get back to you." They never called me back. Not once. Ever. I have the phone records to prove it.
Fast forward to this month when I moved to another state (Washington if it makes a difference). I told my case worker in June that I would be moving and could she please see where my case was with Social Security? I never heard from her again. Well, I called Social Security myself last week and was told that my case had been closed (denied) in August of 2013 -- which I knew. What I didn't know was that they never received an appeal from anyone. I called the local office. I called the office of adjudication, and I called the national office. They all said the same thing. Case closed. No appeal.
Now, YANML but what do I do from here? The case was closed a year ago. I have phone records saying that I called my lawyer every. single. month. sometimes three times a month (to get answers on why they never called me back) for over a year and they just flat out lied to me? Why would they do that? What can I do about it? Do I have to start the whole process over again? Hire another, local lawyer? Do I sue the previous lawyer for malpractice? I'm so upset about this I could just scream.