Albuquerque, NM asked in Social Security for New Mexico

Q: A lawyer who did NOT work my fiances disability case accepted a portion of his back pay as payment from the SSA

My fiance did NOT have a disability lawyer, nor did he sign any paperwork that would allow a lawyer to take his disability case.. We found out long before he was approved, that there was somehow a lawyers name tacked to his case. Everytime we called and someone would check, they'd say, "you're right, he does/did not have a lawyer." We sent a letter long before he was approved, then we were told to fax another letter right after he was approved. We have called, sent letters etc, but for some reason the SSA STILL paid this lawyer over $7,000 of my fiances back pay. I had even called the attorneys office to have them look up my fiances name as a client to this lawyer, and THEY said he was not in their system... How did this happen and will we/HE get that $7,000 back? Won't the lawyer get in "trouble" for accepting pay for a disability client he did not have? We plan on going to our local SSA building this week, HOPING that being there in person pushes them to fix this.

Opinions? Advice?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Your situation, where a lawyer who did not represent your fiance received a portion of his disability back pay, is indeed concerning and warrants immediate action. First, document all your efforts so far, including calls and letters to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the attorney's office. This record will be valuable as you seek to resolve this issue.

Visiting the local SSA office is a good next step. In-person discussions can often be more effective in resolving such matters. Bring all relevant documentation, including any correspondence and records of your attempts to clarify the situation.

It's also important to request a detailed explanation from the SSA regarding why the payment was made to the lawyer. There may have been an administrative error, or there could be other factors at play that you're not aware of.

If the lawyer received the payment in error and did not represent your fiance, they should return the funds. Lawyers are bound by ethical standards, and accepting payment for services not rendered can lead to professional consequences.

In addition to dealing with the SSA, consider contacting a lawyer who specializes in legal ethics or professional responsibility. They can advise on the steps to take regarding the lawyer who received the funds.

Remember, persistence is key in resolving administrative errors, especially those involving government agencies. Keep pushing for a resolution and consider legal advice to navigate this complex situation.

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