If your disability prevents you from working, you may want to file for disability benefits but don’t know how. The qualifying criteria for both supplemental security income and social security disability insurance are often confusing and overwhelming.

If you ever need help filing for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration, you should seek out a disability advocate. Advocates can help strengthen your claim and make sure that you provide the correct information on your application. While you might be looking for a social security disability lawyer, there are several benefits to using an advocate instead.

Here’s some FAQS about how to find a disability advocate that works for you.

What is a Disability Advocate?

A disability advocate is a case manager that specializes in filing applications for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration certifies disability advocates to handle claims while remaining up-to-date with laws and regulations regarding benefits.

At GAR Disability Advocates, our case managers work with applicants every step of the way. We understand the rules of the Social Security Administration and provide professional, compassionate support to every person we help.

5 Ways a Disability Advocate Can Help

When you start searching for a disability advocate, you should look for advocates that help you with every step of the benefits application process. 

#1: Manage Your Application

Since advocates understand the specific requirements of both social security disability insurance and supplemental security income, they can manage your application. This includes the initial submission, appeals, and hearings.

#2: Interact With Third Parties On Your Behalf

Advocates make the process easier by handling all communication regarding your application, whether it is interacting with healthcare providers or the Social Security Administration itself.

#3: Keep You Informed

Professional advocates keep you updated on the status of your application with regular phone calls, emails, and letters.

#4: Reduce the Chance of a Hearing

Since the number of applications for disability benefits keeps increasing, there is a significant backlog of hearings for the Social Security Administration. Sometimes, setting up a hearing takes up to three years.

Advocates make sure your initial application is strong, reducing the chance of your claim going to court.

#5: Represent You at a Hearing

If you ever need to attend a disability hearing, a disability advocate is an essential ally. The Social Security Administration allows advocates to represent applicants at the hearing. Disability advocates also gather expert witnesses like doctors to help increase your chances of approval.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Disability Advocate Over a Disability Lawyer?

While a social security disability lawyer may have more rigorous legal training than an advocate, the Social Security Administration does not require them to know the rules of disability benefits.

Along with being up-to-date on the rules, a disability advocate can also prepare the initial application, submit a reconsideration appeal, and represent you in a disability hearing. In many instances, advocates may have just as many years of experience representing applicants in a courtroom as a social security disability lawyer.

However, both lawyers and disability advocates cost about the same for their services. The Social Security Administration limits the amount an advocate or lawyer receives when they win your claim. Currently, advocates and attorneys charge 25% of all back benefits up to a maximum of $6,000.

How Many Claims Does the Social Security Administration Approve for Disability Benefits?

According to their Annual Statistical Report, the Social Security Administration only approves 26% of social security disability insurance applications. The approval rate for supplemental security income is slightly higher at around 32%.

Since the Social Security Administration denies 3 out of 4 applications, it is essential to have a disability advocate to strengthen your claim.

Hire an Experienced Disability Advocate Today

At GAR Disability Advocates, we understand how difficult the benefits application process is. We expertly navigate the process and do all of the hard work for you. We give you a case manager and an accredited disability representative to help you every step of the way. You don’t have to wait in line at the Social Security office or file through confusing paperwork.

If you need help filing an application for disability benefits or want to know if you qualify, contact us today at 201-470-6746 for a free evaluation.