When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits you will be working with a number of individuals. Some of these may include a disability attorney or advocate. You will also be working with a claims representative and an adjudicator.
The claims representative is a federal employee of the Social Security Administration (SSA). This person is responsible for assisting in you applying for Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits.
The claims representative is the SSA employee who determines whether or not you meet the initial entitlement requirements for the programs you are applying for in regards to law and regulations. For example, they will determine whether you have earned enough work credits for SSDI or if your income and assets are within the acceptable threshold for SSI benefits.
The claims representative is usually the individual who works with you during the first stage of the disability application process. He or she will enter the information they obtain into a nationwide database that processes Social Security Disability claims.
The claims representative is supposed to be an unbiased party, representing both your interests and the interests of the SSA. It is important to remember, however, that this is an employee of the SSA. This individual does not work for you and does not solely represent you. A claims representative, therefore, cannot do the same job as a Social Security Disability attorney or a Social Security Disability advocate.