Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Social Security Disability Attorney Qualifications and Expenses

Choosing a Disability Attorney or a Disability Representative

Individuals who seek to be represented on their disability claim with the social security administration can obtain representation at any time. The representative may be a disability attorney, or a non-attorney representative.

A disability attorney is usually an individual who has chosen to specialize in handling social security cases; however, some disability attorneys are not true specialists and only handle the occasional social security case, incorporating such cases into their mix of work which might include personal injury, traffic, and malpractice cases.

For the most part, it would not be wise to use such an individual. Social Security Disability Law is reasonably detailed and appearing before a federal administrative law judge at a hearing should only be a task performed by a representative who has a strong knowledge of how disability claims are decided, how SSA makes mistakes on claims, and what types of evidence will be required to persuade a disability examiner or a disability judge to approve a claim.

Additionally, a good familiarity with the following will all be necessary to ensure the best possible representation for a claimant:

A) The SSA Disablity Evaluation handbook (the blue book),

B) How onset, or when a condition began, is determined according to the social security administration (for example, alleged onset, or AOD, as claimed by an applicant versus the established onset of disability, or EOD, that is decided by a disability examiner or administrative law judge after a decision has been rendered), and

C) The medical vocational guidelines that guide most of the decisions delivered on claims.

Unfortunately, a "part-time" disability lawyer may not be up to the task of delivering such qualifications.

A disability representative, as was stated, can also be a non-attorney. Such individuals are often former SSA employees, such as hearing office personnel, social security field office personnel, and former disability examiners (examiners make decisions on disability claims at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels). These individuals, owing to the fact that they have a personal familiarity with the disability system and how it works, from an insider's perspective, often make excellent representatives.

However, not every non-attorney representative is a former employee of the system. And for this reason, claimants may wish to inquire into the credentials of their possible representative, regardless of whether they are an attorney or a non-attorney representative.

Continued at: The Cost and Expenses of a Disability Attorney or a Disability Representative

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

What does a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative do for your claim?
Getting a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative for your case
How will an attorney help me win disability benefits?
Disability Lawyers, Medical Records, and Social Security Hearings
What Expenses Will A Social Security Attorney Charge In Addition To The Fee?
Can a disability attorney speed up my disability hearing case?
Should you get a Disability Lawyer before you File for Disability, or get an answer on your claim?
Using a lawyer for a Social Security Disability, SSDI, case
Should I have a local Social Security Disability Advocate?
Does the disability attorney fee have a cap?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria