Getting Assistance in Aapplying for Benefits

Getting Assistance in Applying for Benefits

Many people who seek benefits from the Social Security Administration apply by themselves, without the assistance of a lawyer or anyone else. You can ask anyone you want to go with you to the Social Security office, or to help you fill out forms or read and understand printed material.

You can, if you wish, ask an attorney or certain other individuals to act as your representative in dealing with the Social Security Administration. You can ask an attorney to help you when you first apply. Or, if you apply on your own, you can later ask an attorney to help you with an appeal or a lawsuit. The Social Security Administration has written guidelines which govern who can represent you, and how much they can charge.

If you have a limited income, you may be able to obtain a free attorney from a legal aid office in your area. You should consult the directory of legal aid offices for the office nearest you.

Private attorneys also can provide representation in obtaining Social Security Benefits. In general they will only charge a fee if they succeed in obtaining benefits at the end of the process, and will not charge you a fee just to begin representing you. You can obtain a list of some of the attorneys who specialize in Social Security cases from NOSSCR (1-800-431-2804), a private organization of lawyers and other individuals who provide such representation. The local bar association in your area may also have a list of attorneys who specialize in Social Security cases.