What To Know Before You Hire An Advocate For Social Security Insurance
Make no mistake about it, the application and approval process for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be complicated and lengthy. People who have become unable to work at their jobs because of a medical condition will not have an easy time of it when trying to get benefits, no matter how much they need and deserve them. This issue has resulted in a relatively new industry of support workers who assist applicants through the SSDI process. Known as disability advocates, this service may advertise help for no upfront money. Read on to find out more about disability advocates, what to be concerned about, and an alternative that might work out better for some.
What Do Disability Advocates Do?
The first thing to note about advocacy businesses is that they are not directly affiliated with the Social Security Administration (SSA). They are independent organizations and they charge a fee for their services. The stated purpose of such support groups is to lead applicants through the process of filling out an application for benefits. The SSA must approve an advocate before they can take on clients and they must abide by the following standards:
- Pass a criminal background check.
- Possess liability insurance.
- Have a college degree, SSA or legal experience, training, or a combination of those.
How Disability Advocates are Paid
Though they may advertise their services as free till you win your case, your back pay award from the SSA will be directly impacted by the fee they charge. The SSA limits the amounts advocates can take from your back pay and you will sign an agreement with the advocate approving the fee.
Consider a Better Alternative
Many applicants are referred to a disability advocate and never consider the better option. Social Security lawyers can do everything an advocate does and more. Here are just a few benefits to using an attorney over an advocate:
- Attorneys also take no fee unless you win your case and the agreement is protected and approved by the SSA.
- Attorneys come with more education and legal experience.
- Attorneys offer to stand by you at every step, from gathering information to appeals at multiple levels.
- Attorneys will appear with you at your appeal hearing, cross-examine witnesses and vocational experts, and cite case law in support of your case.
Since you will be paying the advocate the same amount of money as the attorney, it just makes sense to talk to an attorney about your social security insurance case.