The Difference Between a Benefits Consultant and an Attorney

Did you know the Social Security Administration allows most anyone to represent claimants in Social Security disability claims? Don’t feel bad. Most folks don’t. There’s a big difference between a benefits consultant and an attorney. Make sure you know what you’re getting into when it’s time for some help with your claim.


What is a benefits consultant?

Good question. Unfortunately, there’s no great answer. A benefits consultant is someone who is appointed to represent a claimant in a Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim and is not a lawyer. In other words, it is a phrase that non-attorney representatives have developed for themselves. For example, Andrea Pecora is not a lawyer. She’s a benefits consultant.

The only qualification a benefits consultant must have is the ability to provide good and valuable assistance. Otherwise, they do not have any qualifications or educational requirements. Yet, they charge you the same fee as a lawyer.

Since benefits consultants normally don’t have formal legal education or a license to practice law, they CANNOT represent you at all appeal levels available in a Social Security disability claim. If you need to appeal your claim to the federal court, the fifth and final level of appeal, a benefits consultant can’t help you. You will have to hire a lawyer if you want professional representation.

How important is your claim?

How important is your claim? You’re out of work. You probably don’t have any income since you quit working? The bills are still coming in. How important is it that you get the best possible representative?

I’m guessing the answer is extremely important! Let me be completely frank here. There is no good reason to hire a benefits consultant over an experienced lawyer. Here’s why:

  • They normally have no formal legal education and no license to practice law.
  • They have no governing body. This means they have no duty of confidentiality or professional ethical rules that must be followed.
  • They cannot represent you at all levels of appeal.
  • They will charge you the exact same fee as a lawyer.
  • The Social Security Judge handling your case is a lawyer! Do you want a lawyer or a consultant with you when you go up against the Judge?
  • Social Security has other lawyers called Attorney Advisors assisting the Administration with your case. Again, do you want a lawyer to take on Social Security’s attorney’s or just a consultant?

Think about it like this. If you need heart surgery, do you want a medical doctor doing your surgery or just a consultant in the medical field? Do you want a doctor who went to medical school and has a medical license or someone who has no medical education and no medical license. This is an easy decision. Hiring a representative in your Social Security disability claim is no different. The choice is clear.

If you have any other questions about the difference between a lawyer and a benefits consultant, don’t hesitate to call me. I would be happy to talk.

At Travis Miller Attorney at Law, we can:

  • File the initial application for you
  • Ensure all the forms and paperwork are completed correctly and on time
  • Gather all the needed medical records and other information needed to support your claim
  • Ensure your claim moves more quickly through the appeals process
  • Ensure you and your case are fully prepared for your hearing
  • Stand up for you when you go to your hearing
  • Make sure the judge hearing your case does not ignore the evidence or make legal errors
  • Appeal your case to federal court if Social Security continues to deny your claim

We represent clients through all levels of appeals. We will start at the beginning of your case and won’t stop until your claim is resolved.

If you need to file a Social Security disability claim and need more information, please call today for a free consultation. 304-842-8383!

Thanks for reading,

Travis Miller helps people throughout West Virginia, including the following cities:

  • Bridgeport
  • Buckhannon
  • Clarksburg
  • Elkins
  • Fairmont
  • Flatwoods
  • Glenville
  • Grafton
  • Harrisville
  • Kingwood
  • Morgantown
  • Pennsboro
  • Philippi
  • Shinnston
  • Sutton
  • Webster Springs
  • Weston
  • West Union

Get a free phone consultation with Travis!