A Social Security Disability Advocate is a professional who represents you in your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. These professionals perform the same tasks and responsibilities as a disability attorney during the initial stage of the application process and during certain stages of the appeal process.
When you first apply for Social Security Disability benefits, a disability advocate will help you complete your application paperwork and will help you gather the medical evidence that is necessary to support your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. They will then help you present your application to the SSA in the best light possible.
If your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, a disability advocate can help you with certain stages of the appeal process. The first thing they will do is file a Request for Reconsideration. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of these requests are denied by the SSA. If you are among those who are denied during this stage of the appeal process, your disability advocate will request a disability hearing. Your advocate will attend this hearing with you and will represent you before the administrative law judge who is put in charge of your case.
It is important to note that there is a difference between a disability advocate and a disability attorney. A disability advocate can only represent you up to a certain stage of the appeal process. If your disability hearing does not result in the award of your disability benefits and you wish to take your case to the circuit court level, your disability advocate will not be able to represent you in court. At this stage of the appeal process you need an attorney who is licensed to practice law.