Ok, gotta put my two cents worth in on this one. Pete, fire the lawyer now. Do not let it go on further. The guy at SSD told you right. If you get awarded benefits in the very beginning, SSD will not pay him one dime. Get out now. For once listen to what someone tells you. Hand deliver a simple letter to the attorney and a copy of the same letter to SS. All it has to say is" As of this date I no longer desire your services in connection with my claim for SSD benefits." And sign your name to it Pete. Be sure to put your SS number on the letter so SSD will know who you are. Get out now Pete, you would have really looked bad had you not gone to the SS office and met with the case worker. Be sure to get a copy of the paperwork the atty sent in to SS. If you stay with the lawyer then you only have yourself to blame. What kind of Authority to Represent or Contract of Employment did you sign with the atty? It should have the words contingency in it meaning if he wins the case he gets paid out of past due benefits, he loses the case you owe him nothing. See what the tv guide attys do to people. You think because they do hotshot advertising they are great-they have no idea who their clients are because they have so many cases and people slide thru the cracks and statutes run, not good.
An atty has no control over how long your case is before SS. Believe it or not, SS is really a very tight web organization and they call the shots not the the lawyers. PaLady has her own ideas, but she is incorrect, an atty cannot keep your claim pending to get more money, it does not work that way. SSD has a cap on atty fees, he must send in a Fee Petition to be approved by SS before he is paid once you have had a hearing before an ALJ. You have to furnsih them with a detailed itemized letter stating every thing the atty has done on the file, I mean everything, from sending one letter to attending a hearing. Also, an atty cannot pad his time on the file. What he says he did better be in SS file of the claimant or else it is stricken. If he says he sent a letter on whatever date a copy of that letter better be in the file at SS or its nixed. I do not think people realize at all the back log of cases pending at SS waiting to get a hearing before the ALJ. Its incredible the amount of old claims still setting waiting to be resolved and then the new claims that come pouring in daily, you guys have no idea. Its a docket based thing as well. Naturally the oldest cases get set for hearings before a new one. There simply is not enough ALJ's around to handle the case load of cases needing hearings, this is why the process is so long in getting a hearing scheduled. This is the very reason if a person cancels a hearing with SSD it better be life or death.
Not all attys are bad. Its right up there with our doctors, we have bad ones and we have good ones. Some lawyers are snakes and some drs are snakes. It very hard to trust someone if you have already had a bad experience with one. This is why I say pick and choose very carefully. There are too many resources available to check out these guys, I am talking about both, drs and lawyers. Some attys I know, I would not wipe my behind with their law degree, same as with some drs I know. I will also throw in many times we are the very reason our cases may get tossed. Not providing enough information, not being honest, the list can go on and on. Many people think because they hire an atty for something they are done, he can work magic, thats not quite how it works. You would truly be shocked if you knew how many people that hire laywers lie to their very own atty. Sad but very true. These are people that you look at and think they would never tell a lie too lol. Nothing worse than someone that lies to their atty, then when it comes full circle the atty is standing there caught with his pants down cause his client lied to him, talk about making the atty look bad.
Pete I am so glad you made the trip to SSD and got it all taken care of. Please do get to your dr about the Effexor and try to get on something else. If you need someone to help, find a good pyschologist, mine helped me so much. You know if you have been on the Effexor awhile it will stop working and being effective.