Never Allow A Non-Attorney to Represent You At Your Social Security Hearing!
You should NOT have a non-attorney clerk at your hearing? This seems obvious, but several Florida law firms and any company identifying themselves as “Experts”, some who are advertising on TV, are sending non-attorney clerks to Social Security Hearings simply because its cheaper for them to do so rather than have an actual attorney appear. How in any way is this helping the client or claimant to have poser clerks represent you? It’s not, it is just a costs saving to that particular company and is in no way beneficial to the client. Why pay the same to a clerk when you can have and are entitled to an actual Florida Bar licensed attorney.
Many clients who are unfamiliar with the Social Security representation paperwork are confused because the law firms often have an attorney and then a non-attorney sign the documents for the Florida law firm. Don’t be confused! Never ever let a non-attorney sign any documents. Always ask to see your representatives Florida Bar Card. If he or she does not have one find a lawyer who does immediately. Especially ask the person to show you their Florida Bar Card at your hearing! If that person does not have a Florida Bar Card or can not give you his or her Florida Bar number, DEMAND and assert your rights at the Hearing for an actual attorney. The Judge must grant you time to obtain an actual attorney.
There are non-attorney representatives who can represent you at the hearing which first came into being because the SSA Disability process was established to allow access to all in an informal manner. However, informal or not your Social Security Hearing is often the “final chapter” of a three year or more long battle. In other words, your final chance to win in consideration of all of the evidence.
It is shocking to think that many claimants leave the task of proving up their claim to non-attorney, often unskilled, without even the requirement of a high school diploma, representatives. In other words, claimants that would typically not hand over the future of tens of thousands of dollars are doing just that with a non-attorney representative.
Even more shocking, law firms who even advertise about representatives “hurting you”, are in fact the same, where they send non-attorney clerks to your hearing. Very true and very sad fact of the confusing process where you think a regulated law firm has your best interest in mind, but then send clerks to do a lawyers job.
Words of advice: don’t enter into any agreement with a non-attorney representative even if an attorney also signs the document. Do not let some Tom, Dick or Harry non-attorney poser represent you at your most important hour of need. Beware, any company calling themselves “Disability Experts” which are in fact, all poser-clerks and NOT even remotely associated with a lawyer. Often these so called “Disability Experts” try to tell you, we “work with lawyers” to mislead you in thinking somehow a lawyer is looking at your case, when in fact this will never happen while the “Disability Expert” has your claim. Notably, non-attorney clerks can never appear in Federal District Court, so after you lose your hearing then an actual attorney by law can only represent you in Federal District Court.
Make sure you have an actual Florida Bar Card license holding attorney at your hearing, if you don’t, then immediately tell the Judge you want a real lawyer and not a non-attorney clerk.
David W. Magann, Esq. has handled over 1600 hearings personally for Social Security and Veterans disability claims.