There are many non-attorneys representing applicants in Social Security disability cases. Some of them are very good, while others are not so good. However, no matter how good a representative might be, there are always advantages to hiring an actual attorney. First, an attorney is subject to a higher degree of regulation and scrutiny, as an attorney’s conduct is regulated by both the SSA and by the state in which the attorney is licensed. Second, your conversations with attorneys are protected by the attorney-client privilege (meaning they are confidential), while your conversations with non-attorney representatives are not. Third, an attorney can take your case all the way to federal court is necessary, while a non-attorney advocate cannot.
Unfortunately, some representatives do not actually disclose to their clients that they are not attorneys (and even advertise under the “attorney” section of the phone book), so we encourage you to ask.