It is important for Social Security disability claimants to have representation, legal representation. Certainly non-attorney claims representatives are allowed to represent disability claimants in their cases. Claimants do so, however, at their own peril.
Let me give you an example of non-attorney incompetence:
I will call the claimant Bill. Bill used to work as a CNA, but he can't because he is unable to lift more than 20 lbs. continuously. He only has a 12th grade education, and he is over the age of 60 so he does not have the residual functioning capacity to do sedentary work.
It comes up at hearing that Bill worked for a company that did parties to sell certain kinds of goods. Claims representative failed to question Bill about the job duties and whether he could perform the job. Judge issued am "Unfavorable" decision because he concluded Bill could do his job with the party company.
The representative should have asked how long Bill could stand. He should have asked if he could do the work eight hours a day five days a week. Then he should have asked how much weight Bill would have had to lift at the job. If these questions had been asked and answered, Bill likely would have prevailed at the hearing. Any attorney would have asked these questions.
Claims representative also left out that Bill's mother died in a car wreck in front of Bill when he was 7. Certainly this would bolster PTSD and depression claims.
The long and short of this was the claims representative was incompetent and clearly not a lawyer. A lawyer would have won this case.