A Social Security disability advocate refers to someone who is a non-attorney representative that helps applicants with their disability claims.
They have gone through specific training and have experience helping disability benefits claimants navigate the complicated Social Security Disability process.
People who become advocates are typically paralegals from law firms, nurses, social workers, former Social Security Administration employee and vocational experts.
As well as training and experience with Social Security rules and processes, a disability advocate also understands medical terms, medical records and health care systems so they can help people with the whole range of impairments which cause disabilities.
A good advocate will be a member of the National Association of Disability Representatives (NADR) or the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR).
What Does a Social Security Advocate Do?
A disability advocate assists individuals suffering from a disability to file a claim for Social Security disability benefits. Even though an advocate is a not a qualified attorney, he or she still has sufficient legal to help solve qualified a claimant’s concerns.
An advocate can help a disability benefits claimant understand SSA processes such as preparing for and appearing at an appeal hearing.
An Advocate’s Qualifications
An advocate is required to have either a college degree or training and work experience which equals a college education. He or she must also pass a criminal background check and an exam that proves knowledge of Social Security regulations and disability rules as well as taking part in ongoing training so that they are aware of any changes to the disability rules, regulations, processes, and programs.
Disability Advocate Vs. Disability Attorney
There are many differences between a disability attorney and advocate. A disability attorney has a much better education than a disability advocate as a law degree is required plus passing a state bar exam as well as remaining in good standing with the state bar association.
A disability attorney is required to keep up to date with not only Social Security rules and regulations, but in other areas of the law too.
Because of their training as a disability attorney they may be better at understanding legal arguments and cross examining witnesses in court even though a disability advocate who has accumulated experience in this area may be as good as an attorney.
Get Connected With an Attorney or Advocate
It is sometimes possible to get a disability advocate at no cost through a non-profit organization. Otherwise most advocates do charge a fee but generally charge the same fee as a disability attorney.
The SSA enforces limits on what an advocate or attorney may charge which is 25 percent of any back pay benefits you are entitled to after your claim has been approved.
The maximum amount is $6,000. Get a Free Case Evaluation Today: A lawyer or advocate may be able to help you apply for benefits and if your claim has been denied help you to lodge an appeal.