How Do Disability Advocates and Disability Attorneys Differ?

If you’re planning to apply for Social Security disability benefits and need assistance, your first thought might be to turn to an attorney. Quite a few lawyers in Utah specialize in helping disabled individuals with the claims process, and working with a legal professional can increase the odds of you being approved for benefits.

However, the same could be said of a disability advocate. Attorneys and non-attorney advocates provide similar services – and in some cases, advocacy firms take a team approach, with lawyers and advocates handling specific aspects of a claim.

So who should you go to for assistance? Let’s take a deeper look at your options.

disability advocates Utah

Social Security Disability Advocates

Disability advocates have legal training and expertise, but they are not licensed attorneys.

To become an advocate, individuals must have either a college degree or training along with work experience that is equivalent to a college education. Other requirements include passing a certification exam and background check and the completion of continuing education courses.

However, the lack of a law degree does mean that a disability advocate cannot represent anyone in court hearings. In the event of a denial from the Social Security Administration, only a licensed lawyer can appeal the decision in federal court.

Social Security Disability Attorneys

Compared to disability advocates, attorneys have undergone more training, in that they have attended law school and earned a degree.

Disability attorneys have to pass the bar exam and remain in good standing with the Utah State Bar Association. Like advocates, they must also meet continuing education requirements – but the courses may pertain to several areas of the law, not just those related to disability claims.

Furthermore, at many Utah law firms, attorneys work on different types of cases – and various tasks may be delegated to paralegals and legal assistance. For these reasons, working with an advocacy firm can be a better approach than hiring a disability attorney.

Social Security Disability Advocacy Firms

For disabled individuals, the team approach taken by advocacy firms is beneficial, as it allows for ample support through every step of the claims process.

Utah advocacy firms typically have a team of professionals – including attorneys, non-attorney advocates, claims experts and case managers – each of whom specializes in a single phase of the process. Everyone works together seamlessly, doing whatever is necessary to get their clients approved for benefits.

Mountain West Disability is a trusted Utah advocacy firm, and we offer highly personalized service, tailored to meet each of our client’s needs. We’ve guided hundreds of disabled individuals in getting the benefits they need and deserve, and we’re ready to fight for your rights. For more information, or to discuss your claim with a friendly and knowledgeable disability advocate in Utah, contact us today.