A Social Security Disability advocate working on a case for a clientThose that have been denied Social Security disability benefits do have the option to appeal this decision. As a matter of fact, many applicants may actually be denied after filing the initial application. However, an experienced and dedicated advocate can make a significant difference in the outcome of appealing a denied claim. While there is no shortage of law firms or advocates that are willing and able to serve the applicant, choosing the right advocate can mean the difference of getting approved or denied once again. There are a few things that the consumer should consider when seeking the appropriate representation for a denied claim for these reasons.

Advocate versus Attorney

Those seeking representation for a disability claim that has been denied should first understand that there are differences in an advocate and an attorney. While many lawyers that take on disability cases are in fact advocates, an advocate does not have to be an attorney. Advocates do have the ability to represent the applicant in court but there are some exceptions to this. For example, if the case were to go to federal court, the non-attorney advocate could not act on behalf of the applicant. Although most cases will not typically reach federal courts, it is important to be aware of these facts.

Experience With Social Security Law

Many lawyers advertise multiple services, including assistance with SSA disability claims. Since many states do not allow attorneys to specialize in any specific type of law, finding the right attorney can seem like a daunting process. Therefore, the applicant should seek an advocate with significant experience in dealing with these specific type of benefit claims. Meeting with potential representation or speaking with them to see if they handle these types of cases on a routine basis is a good place to start. In addition, it may also be equally beneficial to seek out the services of a lawyer that typically handles these specific kind of cases.

Advice on the law puzzle graphic

Use the Initial Consultation Wisely

Most attorneys offer the initial consultation for free and the individual is not at all obligated to retain services. The applicant should make the most of this meeting by asking questions about anything that they may not understand. This can include but is not limited to questions regarding experience, associated fees and how the advocate can be of assistance. Many times, questions may be forgotten about until after this meeting. It can be helpful to make a list of any concerns or questions that can be addressed prior to the initial consultation. This may save a considerable amount of time and money.

Genuine Interest in the Case

This should go without saying, but it is important to choose a disability advocate that takes a genuine interest. The right attorney will have time for their clients and will treat each case on an individual basis. An attorney that does not return phone calls within a reasonable time frame, does not address questions or concerns in easy-to-understand terms and is generally unavailable is a bad sign and should indicate that this is not the right advocate. In addition to having the ability to address any of these issues, the attorney will also ask questions about the claim and be able to discuss how they may best serve the potential client.