How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

What is the Role of a Social Security Disability Representative?

There are different names for this role. Some individuals prefer to be known as disability advocates while the social security administration (SSA) uses the term "representative", most likely due to the fact that an applicant for SSDI (Social Security Disability insurance) or SSI does not have to be represented by an attorney, but, instead, may choose to be represented by a non-attorney representative. On that subject, two things should be mentioned:

1. An applicant does not have to be represented at all, though this is usually unwise if the claim has progressed to the level of a disability hearing where the decision on the claim will be delivered by a federal judge.

2. Many non-attorney representatives are actually former employees of the social security administration, including former field office workers, such as claims reps (the individuals who take disability and retirement applications), former disability examiners (the individuals who make the decision on initial SSDI and SSI claims), and even former administrative law judges (the judges who hear disability cases).

Regardless of what a representative is referred to as (a disability attorney, a non-attorney rep, an advocate), all representatives perform the same function. At the most basic level, this function is to act as the contact person between the social security administration and the applicant. And this is exactly why, after SSA has been notified that a representative has been named, SSA must provide copies of all correspondence that is sent to the applicant to the representative as well.

Even further than this, SSA must actually ask the representative's permission before directly communicating with the applicant, a stipulation that is designed, ideally, to protect the interests of the claimant.

However, the core responsibility of a representative for a Social Security Disability or SSI claim is to maximize the chances of winning the claim. This is why representatives often review the claimant's file prior to the request for a hearing (to get an idea of where the case stands, what evidence was previously considered, and why the case was denied by a disability examiner).

This is also why representatives will attempt to obtain additional medical record documentation and also qualified statements from an applicant's treating physicians.

A disability representative may attempt to win a claimant's case at the disability application or reconsideration appeal level. However, because the rate of denial at both those levels is fairly high (seventy percent for applications and eight-five to eighty-seven percent for reconsiderations), most representatives will confine their efforts to filing the necessary appeal forms and getting occasional status updates--until the claimant has at least been denied at the first level, the disability application.

This is because, for claimants who are denied at that level, the best opportunity for winning an awarding of benefits is typically at a disability hearing.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Should I be Represented by a Lawyer or a Non-Attorney Disability Representative?
What is the Role of a Social Security Disability Representative?
Getting a Social Security Disability Attorney or Representative for your case
Will an attorney or representative help me win North Carolina disability benefits?
Should I get a disability representative or lawyer in North Carolina?
Responsibilities of the Disability Representative Before and After the Social Security Hearing
If you apply for disability in Massachusetts
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Massachusetts?
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Massachusetts

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.