Authorized representative for SSDI can it be anyone?Recently on our disability forum a user asked, I do not want to hire a lawyer to help me with my Social Security Disability Insurance claim, but I do have a friend who is very legally astute. She has offered to help me. Can she be my authorized representative even if she is not a disability lawyer?
Many people are perfectly capable of filing for Social Security Disability Insurance without legal help. In fact, if you or someone you know has plenty of time to do the necessary research, to fully understand your condition, and review the legal requirements for winning SSDI then its likely you could win without legal help.
Additionally, if you have a really strong case or you have evidence that your condition meets a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments its likely your case will win the first time you apply, also eliminating the need for legal help.
Who can be my authorized representative?
So do you have to hire a disability lawyer to help you with your SSDI case? No, you do not. In fact, according to the SSA, you can appoint anyone you want to be your authorized representative as long as they meet the following requirements:
- They have good character and a good reputation.
- They can provide valuable help for your claim.
- They have not been suspended by the SSA to act as a representative.
- They have not been prohibited by law from acting as an authorized representative.
What does my authorized representative need to know?
If you do decide to hire a nonattorney representative its important to ensure they have the requisite knowledge to win your case. For example, all nonattorney representatives must meet the following requirements:
- They must know how to file all appeals, including a reconsideration and a hearing request
- They must be knowledgeable about disability rights and disability laws
- They must be equipped to handle all legal challenges
- They must be knowledgeable about all recent SSDI laws
- They must be knowledgeable about the SSDI process
- They must be ready to call the SSA and ask questions on your behalf
- They must understand how to review medical records and prove you are disabled
- They must be able to prove you cannot work
- They must know all of the deadlines for filing an SSDI claim
Why do most claimants hire disability lawyers?
Disability lawyers, as well as individuals trained to act as nonattorney representatives, are generally more than capable to handle your claims. In fact, they handle dozens of cases each year, winning many of the cases.
However, fewer claimants hire or ask a friend or relative to help them or to act as their authorized representative. The reasons for this are varied, but probably the most common reason is that friends or relatives generally do not have time to dedicate to winning a disability case. Many of them are rearing their own children or working full-time jobs. With that said, however, it is possible for them to help.
If you have a friend who is competent, understands disability laws and is willing to help you with your SSDI case, assuming she meets the requirements outlined above, there is no reason she cannot assist you with your claim and act as your authorized representative.
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