Applying for disability benefits can be an overwhelming process. Between paperwork, financial worries, and coping with the stresses of your medical condition, it can be difficult to ensure your application is the best it can be.
Below are the top 5 reasons why we recommend working with a Social Security advocate or attorney when applying for benefits.
1) Both are approved by the Social Security Administration.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) states that all people seeking disability benefits have the right to representation during their application process. Social Security advocates and attorneys are approved by the SSA to assist you. This means that they are held to a high standard of regulations and will do everything in their power to represent you fairly and fiercely.
2) Both are knowledgeable in Social Security benefits.
Social Security attorneys and advocates have spent years studying and working within the Social Security legal system. They can easily find their way through a process that can seem intimidating from the outside in. They will know exactly what to include in your application as well as how to make sure that no easily-avoidable mistakes are made in the process. They can also act as an interpreter for legal terms and processes that may be difficult to understand.
In fact, applicants with representation are statistically far more likely to be approved for benefits than those without.
3) Both help all claimants.
Unlike most representation firms, Social Security advocates and attorneys typically take on most cases presented to them. You can also receive free consultations on your situation and get questions answered about the application process and stability benefits in general.
Most importantly, because the SSA regulates Social Security attorneys and advocates, they are not allowed to take money for their services unless they take on your case and you receive disability benefits.
4) Both are able to represent you in court.
Should your application be initially denied, you have the right to file an appeal with the SSA to have your case reexamined. If your file is denied again, you have the option of scheduling a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) who can possibly overturn the ruling and award you bene-fits. In these hearings, it is invaluable to have a representative who can communicate with you and for you in court regarding your case.
Those with representation have a much higher success rate in ALJ hearings than those who represent themselves.
5) Both have the same payment system.
Both Social Security attorneys and Social Security advocates are required to work on “contingency." This means that they are only paid if you win your case. Their pay is then taken from your back pay award, which is the lump sum you receive to cover the months between becoming disabled and receiving disability pay. Even then, they are only allowed to charge 25% or less of your back pay. This means that none of the payment your representative receives affects your funds until after you’ve won.
Contacting a Social Security Attorney or Advocate
If you feel that you may qualify for disability benefits, it is always wise to consult with a disability attorney or advocate. To give yourself the best chance at receiving the assistance you deserve, speak with a disability representative today.