Freedom Disability Hails Congressional Support of Non-Attorney Disability Advocates

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"Social Security Disability Applicant's Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010" Signed into Law. The swift passage into law by Congress and President Obama of H.R. 4532, the non-attorney disability representation bill, validates the value of choice for persons seeking expert help from advocacy groups such as Freedom Disability in filing disability benefits claims with Social Security.

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It's been exciting to see how easily H.R. 4532, the non-attorney representation bill, passed both the House and Senate with no debate

On February 27, President Obama signed into law the "Social Security Disability Applicant's Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010." The new law amends the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 to permanently extend attorney fee withholding procedures to qualified non-attorney representatives.

"It's been exciting to see how easily H.R. 4532, the non-attorney representation bill, passed both the House and Senate with no debate," said Jon Mayhew, president of Freedom Disability, a national non-attorney disability advocacy group. "Swift action by Congress serves to validate the value of choice for persons seeking expert help in filing disability benefits claims with Social Security. We know that our service helps thousands of people receive the benefits that they need. We appreciate the United States Congress providing legislative support to our efforts."

In October 2007, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a study comparing the professionalism, experience and quality of service between eligible non-attorneys and attorneys. It was determined that eligible non-attorneys generally have more experience representing disability claimants and are more likely to specialize in disability representation, whereas attorneys may also work in other areas of the law. Administrative Law Judges that review disability cases at the appeals hearing level also considered the performance of non-attorneys equal to attorneys, overall. The passage of H.R. 4532 into law validates the GAO's findings.

"Our non-attorney Advocates who represent claimants at hearings are accredited to do so," said Mayhew. "They must pass a stringent exam administered by SSA as well as meet other professional criteria. We also have in-house attorneys who work exclusively on disability cases. With this law now in place, there is no question that people looking for representation in filing a Social Security disability claim can get it with an expert non-attorney advocacy group such as Freedom Disability."

The Social Security Administration determines a standard fee paid to all Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) advocacy groups, including advocacy lawyers and attorneys.

The Social Security Administration is expecting to receive more than 3 million applications for Social Security disability benefits in 2010. The new law gives persons with disabilities accessibility to a broader pool of expert disability representatives to help them file for Social Security disability benefits.

About Freedom Disability:

Freedom Disability is a leading national Social Security Disability Advocacy group that provides education and representation services in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Freedom Disability's mission is to help people with disabilities apply for, and win, disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Find out more about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Insurance Income (SSI) at http://www.freedomdisability.com.

CONTACT:
Sean Libby, Vice President
Freedom Disability
(203) 925-2702
slibby(at)freedomdisability(dot)com
http://www.freedomdisability.com

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Joseph Palladino
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