Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration defines disability as a physical or mental condition expected to last at least one year or result in death, which keeps you from working at any type of job.  Many pieces of an individual’s life are included in the SSA’s decision-making process; your age, how far you went in school, last 15 years of your work history, specialized training for job skills and your medical conditions.

There are two types of Social Security Disability benefits:

  • Title 2 benefits (also referred to as SSDI): a benefit program that an individual earns as they work and pay into FICA taxes. Once fully in place, this earned coverage remains available for up to five (5) years after the applicant stopped working. This earned program carries a higher benefit payout, since it’s based on your prior work earnings
  • Supplemental Security Income (also referred to as SSI): a disability program designed to assist income-qualified applicants of any age.   To be eligible for this disability program, the Social Security Administration determines your financial eligibility through a review of your assets.


Applicants usually complete the initial application process themselves. Applying for disability benefits online begins at or a Social Security Disability application can be completed at your local Social Security Administration office.

Don’t be surprised if your initial application is denied – approximately 70 percent of initial applications are denied. Disability benefit denial does not however have to be the end of your disability application process.

If you are denied disability benefits after the initial application, you can appeal the decision.



Appealing a Social Security Disability denial can be handled on your own, but working with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney representative can relieve some of your stress. If you choose to file an appeal of the decision, it must be filed within 60 days from the date you received your Notice of Denial letter.  If you decide to file an appeal, you will want to consult with an attorney representative about your rights and have an expert in disability law represent you through the appeal process.

A Social Security disability expert can assist you in all parts of your appeal process, mostly with providing essential medical records and documentation of physical or mental limitations.  Medical records are the single most important part to a Social Security Disability claim; both historical and current medical records are a necessity to be allowed Social Security disability benefits.

The cost of hiring an attorney to help with the Social Security Disability appeal process is a concern especially when you are out of work.  The fee that can be charged by a disability attorney is defined by Federal law.  A disability advocate cannot charge any type of a retainer fee or upfront fee.  The only fee that can be charged by a Social Security disability advocate is 25 percent of past-due benefits up to a maximum amount of $6,000.  There may be additional expenses for items such as obtaining medical records or other necessary documentation.  However, these fees are collected only at the end of the case and only if benefits are awarded.

For a free initial consultation and to set up an appointment, please call (517) 507-5077. Our experienced attorney Andrew Rockafellow is available to assist you with your legal needs.