What is a Disability Advocate?
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.
What Can Your Disability Advocate Do?
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.
How Are Disability Advocates Paid?
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.
What Can I Disability Advocate Not Do?
There are a couple of things that a disability advocate cannot do, as opposed to a disability attorney. A disability advocate cannot file your appeal to a federal district court if your claim is denied by the SSA's appeal council.
Only lawyers who are bar certified are allowed to file an appeal to a federal district court. And while disability advocates and attorneys both are allowed to cross examine and question medical experts and other professionals, a lawyer may be better adapted at cross-examining due to all of the training.
Next Steps You Can
If you have a severe ailment or a disability that will be it impossible to go back to work in 12 months, then you may want to seek the counsel of a disability advocate or attorney. Disability advocates or attorneys do not cost any upfront money, they only get paid if you win your case.
A disability advocate will be able to help you get all of your paperwork and medical documents in order to help your claim. They will also help appeal your claim, if you are denied initially. To speak with a disability advocate or attorney, fill out our free disability evaluation.