You are allowed to handle your own appeal if you are denied Social Security disability benefits, but there are phases where you will be much more comfortable if you have a disability attorney representing you. Make sure that you don't choose someone who has previously been disqualified or suspended from representing people by the Social Security Administration. The office will work with you or your representative.
If you want your representative to assist you, you must complete the Appointment of Representative naming your representative. You may choose one or more attorneys or disability advocates to represent you. Your attorney cannot charge you a fee for his service unless he first files a fee petition or a fee agreement with the Social Security Administration. They must agree to the amount charged, or an amount must be agreed upon, before you move on with your case.
Your representative or attorney will be your advocate during the entire application process and appeals process should your disability claim get denied. It is valuable to have someone represent you if you are unaccustomed to dealing with the bureaucracy of the Social Security Administration.
If you and your attorney have written a fee agreement, he may submit it to the Social Security Administration for their approval. Generally, they will approve the agreement, and then let you know in writing.
An attorney is important if you are not comfortable going through the disability appeals process by yourself. Be sure that you and your attorney both sign your fee agreement. Fees are contingent upon your claim being approved and you being awarded benefits that are past-due. The Social Security Administration will check to be sure that your attorney's fee is not more than one quarter of your benefits past due, or $6000, whichever dollar amount is less. If the SSA does not approve your fee agreement, they will let your representative and you know in writing.