In California, an applicant for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits who needs help can choose between two options: hire a non-attorney advocate or hire an attorney. Obviously, there are differences between the two. There are things a non-attorney advocate cannot do. When a non-attorney advocate handles your claim, you may not receive the level of assistance you need.
There are just things a non-attorney advocate cannot do.
Non-Attorney Advocates Cannot Give Legal Advice.
They may know how to fill out paperwork, but they are not licensed to practice law. So, a non-attorney advocate who knows Social Security Administration regulations and requirements can fill out your application and make sure you have supporting documents. However, a non-attorney advocate cannot give you legal advice. Doing so could lead to an unauthorized practice of law complaint.
An attorney who serves as a disability advocate, on the other hand, can give a deeper level of advice.
A Non-Attorney Advocate Cannot Represent You in a Court Case.
Roughly 35% of Social Security Disability Insurance applications are approved the first time they are submitted. When a claim is denied, the applicant can go through an appeal process that ranges from a request for reconsideration to the filing of a lawsuit in federal court.
Wouldn’t you like your disability case to be handled by someone who can see it through to the end if necessary? A lawyer can do that. However, a non-attorney advocate cannot represent you in court.
A Non-Attorney Advocate Falls Short in These Areas
Attorneys have an edge over non-attorney advocates in several other key areas:
- Education and Training. Non-attorney advocates do receive some training and may be certified. However, an attorney receives in-depth training and education. This deeper knowledge can lead to advice that goes below the surface level of just filling out paperwork.
- Regulation. Attorneys are bound by strong rules of conduct and ethics. If an attorney breaks one of these rules, penalties can be severe. Non-attorney advocates are not covered by these rules. In fact, you may be unable to take action against a non-attorney advocate who has not handled your case corr4ectly.
- Attorney-Client Privilege. Attorneys are not allowed to tell anyone what a client has told them. Most communications between an attorney and client are confidential. Breaking attorney-client privilege is a serious offense for an attorney. Non-attorney advocates, again, are not bound by the same rules.
Always Representation by a Disability Law Attorney
For a free consultation with an experienced Social Security attorney, consult with an attorney at The Law Offices of Martin Taller. Call us at 714-385-8100. We assist clients through Southern California from our home office in Anaheim.