Am I Allowed to Have an Attorney for All Stages of the Social Security Application?

During the Social Security Disability (SSD) application process, you have the right to representation by an attorney or another qualified individual. You can even be represented by more than one person. However, you cannot be represented by the firm or organization itself, only by people. You need to name this person in writing as soon as possible by completing Form SSA-1696-U4, Appointment of Representative. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has resources for finding representation.

Your attorney is allowed during all stages of the application, from the initial claim to the federal court review. It is strongly suggested that you get an attorney if you are attending a hearing by and administrative law judge (ALJ), but they are also useful in the beginning stages of the application to help you include everything you need on the application the first time. An attorney will have a deep understanding and knowledge of SSD benefits and requirements, whereas most applicants do not. This may increase your chances of getting approved at the first claim.

An attorney can do a number of things to help you win your case. They can identify what medical information and work limitation evidence is necessary to include, and can help you get medical testing or records. Often the SSA is looking for specific terminology and your attorney can effectively work with your doctor. Many attorneys front the cost of the medical records. If you ever have a meeting, interview, or conference with the SSA, you attorney will go with you or can go in your stead. They can also interpret other communications you receive and advise you how to proceed. They will request a reconsideration, hearing, Appeal’s Council review, or Federal Court review if you are denied and work with you for each step in the appeal process.