Social Security Disability Representatives and other help in Illinois
In a recent post, I talked about the various kinds of individuals (job types, actually) who can potentially provide assistance on disability claims filed with the social security administration. Of course, this list included social security attorneys, non-attorney representatives, and social workers.
I think I also included on this list, however, advocates who work for independent living centers and I expressed my general feeling that a claimant would be better off selecting an experienced disability representative who is an attorney. And, if not an attorney, then a non-attorney who has extensive experience handling claims at the hearing level---former social security field office claims reps and former DDS disability examiners tend to make good choices.
Not that I have anything against social workers or ILC advocates, but the truth is that A. it takes too long to get to a disability hearing and B. the outcome is too important to C. trust a case to someone who doesn't, for lack of better words, really know what they are talking about.
And I will stand by that statement. It is simply unlikely that a claimant will be represented by an independent living advocate who just happens to be familiar with the medical vocational grid rules, with the social security definition of disability, with work hypotheticals, etc, etc.... And that equates to having a disability representative who doesn't really know what they're talking about, which, obviously, means a less favorable chance of winning a Social Security Disability or SSI case in Illinois.
Why do I mention this again? Because I just came across an article written by an ILC advocate. In the article, she talks about the difficulty of getting approved for disability benefits. She also mentions some of her focus areas, which include peer counseling, independent skills training, employment counseling, and nursing home transition. You'll notice that, while these are emminently worthwhile activities, none of these have anything to do with how the federal disability system works or how to win a case.
In other words, if you need assistance on an SSD or SSI case, get a lawyer or a qualified non-attorney representative.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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