Don’t do it! I told you not to do it! Why did you do it? What did I tell you? I told you not to speak to Social Security!!!
These may sound like the words of a scolding parent, but this is what goes through my mind when my clients communicate with the Social Security Administration (SSA), potentially destroying their disability case before I get a chance to fight for them.
When I first sign a new client, each and every one, part of my instructions are to warn them not to talk to the SSA while their disability claim is still pending. Most of my clients are relieved—after all, getting SSA off their backs is what they hire my team of disability warriors for in the first place. But for some reason, many just can’t resist the urge.
Why is this so important? I’m a control freak, yes. But that’s not it. It’s because SSA lies! Okay, maybe that’s a bit strong, but they definitely manipulate information.
From conversations my clients have had with SSA claim adjudicators over the years telling them that they are babysitting grandchildren, I have seen SSA launch inquiries into whether my clients were paid to watch their grandkids.
From function reports my clients have sent directly back to SSA without allowing me to review first in which they reported that they prepare their own meals, I have seen ALJs reason that my clients are capable of performing work as Fast Food Workers. Never mind that “meal preparation” for my clients is often limited to what they can cook using a stool over a stove, what they can reheat in a microwave, or a bowl of cereal; quite an extrapolation that they could work eight hours per day, five days per week serving customers burgers at a busy McDonalds!
You hired me to be your lawyer for a reason, to be your intermediary and represent your best interests to SSA. Now let me do my job and help you!
Michael A. Liner, Esq.