What is a disability advocate? A disability advocate is one that pleads the cause of another in regard to a claim for social security disability. This could be an attorney, family member, friend, or someone who is in the business of filing disability claims on behalf of a claimant. When someone files an application for Social Security disability under the Social Security Administration's two programs, SSD or social security disability and SSI or supplemental security income they are referred to as a claimant. This claimant has to make a decision regarding representation. A social security disability claimant has basically three choices.
1. Claimants can represent themselves. It is true that in order to receive disability benefits under either program a claimant does not need the assistance of a disability advocate. There is nothing that you cannot do that an advocate can. However there are certain things an attorney can do that an advocate or claimant cannot do, such as representation in Federal District Court. With that said is it a good idea to represent yourself with your social security disability claim? Not really. Claimants who have some sort of representation stand a better chance of receiving benefits than those on their own. This is especially true once you get to the hearing stage of your claim. If you have not been to a social security hearing before you do not want your first one to be your own case. While the hearings are somewhat informal compared to a trial, there are things a representative can do much more effectively than you can do on your own.
2. Claimants can seek the advice and counsel of a non-attorney representative. This non-attorney representation can be a family member, friend, or someone who specializes in filing and completing applications for social security disability. While I would not recommend a family member or friend with no experience handle your claim, if you decide not to have an attorney your next best choice is an individual who is in the business of doing disability claims for others. There are several agencies and companies who do this type of work.
3. The third choice and the most sound is employing the services of a social security disability attorney. Claimants that have attorneys handling their claims are more likely going to be awarded benefits. This is a bold statement, but it is true. The numbers speak for themselves. Many social security disability attorneys chances of success are very high. When it comes to your claim you should not risk your chances of receiving benefits without having counsel employed.