What are Social Security disability representatives?
Basically, there are two types of Social Security disability representatives: attorneys and non-attorney representatives. Both attorneys and non-attorney representatives may be able to provide quality representation for your Social Security disability claim or SSI disability claim. And since the same function is provided by each, the Social Security Administration allows the same fee to be paid to both. Currently, the fee payable to a disability representative is 25 percent of whatever disability backpay an SSD or SSI claimant is entitled to, up to a maximum of $5300.00
Is an attorney categorically better than a non-attorney? Not at all, because when it comes to choosing the individual who will handle and represent your claim, the issue of competency is not synonymous with legal expertise. Social security adjudication is actually an administrative process. And this is why disability cases at the initial claim and reconsideration levels are determined by disability examiners (who, obviously, are not attorneys). And this is, further, why non-attorney claimant's representatives handle cases for claimants at the initial claim level, reconsideration, and disability hearing levels.
Many non-attorney representatives, in fact, are former disability examiners, such as myself, and many are former Social security claims reps (CRs, or claims reps, are the individuals who take retirement and disability applications at social security offices).
In fact, you might receive superior representation from a non-attorney representative who regularly attends administrative law judge disability hearings than an attorney representative who primarily handles traffic or real estate cases and only sporadically goes to hearings.
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