A disability advocate is someone who is trained specifically to help get qualified Social Security Disability claims approved. Most people seek the help of a disability advocate only after their initial application for Social Security Disability benefits has been denied, even though you are entitled to representation by a Social Security Disability advocate at each stage of the application and appeals process.
More than two thirds of initial claims for Social Security Disability benefits are denied. This is, in part, because the Social Security Administration has very tightly defined what exactly is considered a disability. Basically, according to the SSA, you are only disabled if you cannot perform any kind of work you have done before and can’t reasonably be expected to able to do any other work which is available.
Your Social Security Disability advocate can help you file a Request for Reconsideration. He or she can also represent you at your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Should your case still be denied, your disability advocate can represent your case as it goes before the Social Security Appeals Council and if necessary, can help with your case before Federal Court.
Your disability advocate may be a Social Security lawyer or may simply be a professional who helps people win disability claims. If your disability advocate is a lawyer, he or she may represent you all the way to Federal Court.
There is no regulation requiring you to use a disability advocate during the appeals process, but most claimants find it advantageous. Your chances of having your claim accepted in a timely manner increase dramatically when you have competent representation.
A disability advocate will not charge you any money out of pocket. They receive their pay as a percentage (never above 25%) of any Social Security Disability back pay which is issued to you.