When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you have the right to be represented by a Social Security disability attorney or an advocate.
Reasons an Attorney May Be a Better Choice Than an Advocate
The cost to hire a lawyer is the same as for an advocate. In addition, both are only paid if your application is approved, and their fees are taken out of your award. Because of this, it makes more sense to retain an attorney. Here are other compelling reasons you should choose an attorney rather than an advocate.
Reason #1: An Attorney Is More Experienced
A lawyer has more training and experience than an advocate. He is required to have these qualifications to represent clients:
- Bachelor’s degree, which requires four years of college
- Juris Doctorate (JD) degree, which requires three additional years of study in law school
- Admission to the state bar association, which requires passing a state bar exam and meeting other requirements.
In contrast, an advocate is a non-lawyer representative that is permitted to represent you by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In order to qualify, he would only need to have these qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualifications from work experience and training
- Criminal background check
- Professional liability insurance
- Passage of an exam administered by the SSA
- Continuing education course
Reason #2: You Have Attorney-Client Privilege With Your Lawyer
When you hire a disability attorney, you have the benefit of the attorney-client privilege. Your lawyer is bound to keep anything you tell him and your information confidential. This is not true if you work with an advocate.
Reason #3: A Lawyer Must Follow Strict Ethical Guidelines
Attorneys are required to follow strict ethical guidelines that advocates do not have to abide by. For example, your lawyer would have a duty to zealously represent you.
Reason #4: An Attorney Can File Your Appeal
If your application for SSDI benefits is denied, a lawyer can file an appeal of the decision for you in federal court. An advocate cannot do this because only licensed attorneys are permitted to represent clients in court hearings.
Contact Us for the Legal Representation You Need
Are you applying for SSDI benefits? Our New Mexico Social Security disability lawyers are here to file your application, collect the evidence you need, and fight for the benefits you are entitled to. Call our Roswell office or start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.