Social Security Disability Benefits
You may qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits if:

  • You can't work due to a medical problem or serious injury, and
  • You have worked long enough and paid enough work credits into the Social
Security  trust fund

Our law firm can help you:

  • Improve your chances of getting benefits
  • Get the maximum benefits you are due
  • Obtain medical records
  • Complete your application and supporting documents
  • File your Appeal if you get denied benefits
  • Prepare for and attend any hearings

What is the difference between Social Security Disability
(SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

  • The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays monthly benefits to you and
    certain family members if you have worked long enough to earn sufficient work credits and paid
    Social sufficient Security taxes.

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program which is
    designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have limited income and resources
    provide for basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter.  Click here to access the
    Benefit Eligible Screening Tool to determine if you qualify for SSI benefits.

  • The biggest difference between SSDI and SSI is that SSDI is available to workers who have
    accumulated a sufficient number of work credits which is paid through social security taxes
    deducted from their paychecks, while SSI disability benefits are available to low-income
    individuals who have either never worked or who haven't earned enough work credits to qualify
    for SSDI.

Disability Process Stages

1. Initial Application

The process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, starts with you filing  claim with the
Social Security Administration.  This can be done by visiting the local office, by phone or online.
Each method has benefits. Applying online or by phone may be more convenient and allow you to
avoid waiting for an appointment at the disability office.  By applying online, you can start your
application and save your progress if you want to take a break and finish the application later without
starting over.  The average time frame for a decision on your initial application is approximately 3-5
months.  While the initial approval rating is below 50%, this should not mean you are not entitled to
benefits.  There can be many reasons why you are not initially approved.  You may have a legitimate
claim for disability benefits, but insufficient medical documentation to prove your condition, or that the
condition is expected to last at least a year.  Whatever the reason, don't give up if your medical
condition and symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from working.

2. Request For Reconsideration

If you get denied on a reconsideration, you need to immediately file a request for hearing, which is
the second stage of the process.   Just because you receive a denial letter, it doesn't mean you are
not disabled.   Many people get frustrated and give up.  Don't let that be you. The deadline to file this
appeal is 60 days of getting the denial of your initial application.  Don't waste time.  Get your
paperwork filed immediately.

3. Administrative Hearing

This third step involves requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.  In most social
security cases, this will be your only opportunity to meet face to face with the person who will decide
if you are disabled.  You will be able to explain your case and give testimony about your medical
conditions.  You will be allowed to provide live testimony at the hearing, including witnesses who can
provide information about your medical conditions and their effect on your ability to work and/or
complete everyday work tasks.

If you don't have an attorney by this point, get one.   It doesn't guarantee approval, but helps your
chances at this critical stage in the disability process, where many cases that were initially denied
are approved at this stage.

It may take up to 24 months or more to get from the initial application to a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge, so it is important that you don't miss a step.

4.  Appeals Council

If you are denied or disagree with the hearing decision, you may ask for a review by Social Security’s
Appeals Council.

The Appeals Council looks at all requests for review, but it may deny a request if it believes the
hearing decision was correct. If the Appeals Council decides to review your case, it will either decide
your case itself or return it to an administrative law judge for further review.

Because the Appeals Council reviews cases for several different states, it can take up to 18 months
or more to get a decision from their office.

5. Federal Court

If you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision or if the Appeals Council decides not to review
your case, you may file a lawsuit in a federal district court. Once in District Court you can continue to
appeal the case all the way up to the Supreme Court, which is an extremely lengthy process of up to
3 years or more.  Most people can't wait that long for benefits to start and will often start a new

What can we do to help you?

The Social Security Disability application process is very long and complicated.  If you are suffering
from a physical or mental condition, the wait can be excruciating.  With family depending on you, this
long process can add to your family stress and financial hardship.  You and your family need the back
pay and monthly benefits paid by Social Security, and these are benefits you have earned through
years of hard work.

Considering how long this process takes and the toll that it can take on your life, don't try to do it
alone. And most importantly, don't give up.  There is no cost to you to see if we can help and help is
just a
call or click away.

We can:

  • Guide you through all steps of the Social Security Disability application process,
    including the Initial Disability Application, Reconsideration, Hearing Requests, and

  • Focus on your case and make sure that any information that supports your claim is
    provide, file you paperwork quickly

  • Obtain copies of all medical records and help you find referrals for first and second
    medical opinions

  • Help develop the best legal argument for your case following the regulations and
    guidelines regarding disability eligibility requirements

  • Prepare your case for hearings, including a Pre-hearing Brief for the Administrative
    Hearing to help increase you chances of winning Social Security Disability

  • Provide legal advice and counsel throughout the process, answering any questions
    you may have, while helping you fight for your benefits.
For a FREE case evaluation of your case,
please complete the form below and
someone from my office will get in touch
with you to discuss your case.  This
evaluation is free of charge and you are not
obligated to retain our services.
When was your application for benefits denied?
Do you have an attorney?
Are you working?
What was your most recent job?
List your medical conditions that affect your ability
to work?
Explain how these conditions prevent you from
Highest level of education completed:
Date of Birth:
Street Address:
City, State, Zip:
Main phone:
Alternate Phone:
Best time for us to call:
Questions, comments, or feedback:

    Q.        How do I qualify for Social Security Disability?

    A.        You may quality to receive money benefits
    paid by the Social Security Administration if you have a
    medical condition or injury that prevents you from working for
    a minimum of one year.

    Q.       How does the Social Security
    Administration determine disability?

    The Social Security Administration has a five step process in
    determining disability.

    Step One -The first step involves determining if you
    are working.  The amount of money you make if you
    are working is limited.  If you make more than allowed,
    you will not be considered disabled. (See Publication
    No. 05-10003 for current figure Update )

    Step Two - The second step is to consider the severity of
    your medical condition(s) if you make less than the current
    guideline amount.  This involves determining whether your
    medical condition(s) significantly affect
    you ability to perform basic work activities, i.e. sitting,
    standing, walking, for at least one year.  

    Step Three - If the condition is severe enough to limit basic
    work functions, the agency will determine if the medical
    condition(s) are on a List of Impairments for adults and
    children developed by the agency.  The impairments
    described are considered so severe by
    the agency that you can automatically be defined by
    law as disabled.  If your condition is not on the list, the agency
    can determine that  you are disabled if your condition(s) are
    as severe as those on the list of impairments.

    Step Four - If your medical condition(s) are not on the list of
    impairments or meet or exceed the severity of
    an impairment on the list, the agency will then
    consider whether you medical condition(s) prevent
    you from doing the type of work you did before.

    Step Five - If the agency decides that you can do the type of
    work you did before, then it will decide you are not disabled.  
    If not, then the agency will evaluate your medical condition(s),
    age, education, past work experience and skills learned from
    that work, to determine if you can do any other type of work.  
    If you can, then the agency will decide that you are not

    Q.     How long will it take to settle my Social Security
    Disability case?

    A.      This is a hard question to answer as there is no definite
    answer.  The current estimated time for disposing of a case
    from the filing of the initial application to a hearing is
    approximately 24 months (give or take a few months). This
    can be a very long
    and stressful process.  Put your case in our hands
    and let us help you through this process.

    Q.     How much will the Social Security Administration
    pay me if approved?

    A.     The amount of benefits is determined by your average
    lifetime earnings and whether your benefits
    will be reduced based on the receipt of other types of
    compensation for you medical condition(s), such as workers'
    compensation.  The Social Security Administration sends out
    a yearly statement providing your lifetime earnings and
    provides an estimate of
    your disability benefit. See the following publications provided
    by the Social Security Administration:  
    How Workers’ Compensation And Other Disability Payments
    May Affect Your Benefits (Publication No.
    05-10018); Windfall Elimination Provision (Publication No. 05-
    10045); and Government Pension Offset (Publication No. 05-

    Q.      How far back will Social Security pay me if I am

    A.      If you are approved for social security disability, your
    first check will be paid for the sixth full month after the date
    your disability started.

    Q.     What can I do to help win my Social Security
    Disability case?

    A.     You need sufficient medical documentation to support
    the severity of your medical condition(s).  
    You should keep up with your medical treatment and doctor
    appointments. It may also be helpful to keep a diary to help
    document on a daily basis your disability keeps you from
    performing your past work; your medications and side effects;
    your aches and pains;
    and how disability or medications affect daily activities such as
    driving, shopping, taking care of family,
    walking, standing, sitting, memory, concentration,
    coping with stressful situations, and dealing with other people

    Q.      Can I work and still receive Social Security

    A.       Yes. However, the agency limits the amount  can make.
    See current limits.

    Q.      Do I have to be permanently disabled to receive
    social security disability?

    A.      You are entitled to benefits if your medical condition(s)
    are severe enough to prevent you from working for a period
    of at least one year.  If your condition improves your benefits
    can be terminated.

    Q.     Will I receive Medicare?

    A.     You will get Medicare coverage automatically
    after you have received social security disability
    benefits for two years.

    Q.     How much will an attorney charge?

    A.     The Social Security Administration will withhold
    25% of your past due benefits to compensate legal fees.  

    Q.     Will my family receive anything if I am approved?

    A.     If you are approved for Social Security Disability
    benefits, members of your family may qualify for benefits.  
    They include but are not limited to the following:

    Your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older;
    Your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a
    child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled;
    Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or,
    in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child
    must be under age 18 or under age 19 if in elementary or
    secondary school full time; and
    Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has
    a disability that started before age 22. (The child’s disability
    also must meet the definition of disability for adults.)
Columbia, SC 29201

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    Links to Listings of Impairments

            Disability Forms

    Disability Intake Form

    Appointment of Representative

    Residual Function Capacity
    Evaluation- Physical Impairment

    Residual Function Capacity
    Evaluation- Mental Impairment

    Pre Hearing Brief

Ways to Win Your Case     

    Below are 3 very important ways to prove your eligibility
    for Social Security Disability benefits. Proving one of
    these methods makes you eligible for benefits.

    1.  You may win by proving a condition on the
    SSA Listing

    The Social Security Administration has Impairment
    Listings which describe, for each major body system,
    impairments or medical conditions that are considered
    severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any
    gainful activity (or in the case of children under age 18
    applying for SSI, severe enough to cause marked and
    severe functional limitations).  Most of the listed
    impairments are permanent or expected to result in
    death, or the listing includes a specific statement of
    duration is made. If you have one of these impairments,
    you are eligible for disability benefits under the Social
    Security guidelines. For all other listings, you must
    show that your impairment has lasted or is expected
    to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
    These criteria apply to the Social Security
    Administration's evaluation of claims for disability

    Part A of the Listing of Impairments (included on this
    site to the right) contains medical criteria that apply to
    the evaluation of impairments in adults age 18 and over.

    The Listing of Impairments criteria apply to one step of
    the multi-step sequential evaluation process. At that
    step, the presence of an impairment that meets the
    criteria in the Listing of Impairments (or that is of equal
    severity) is usually sufficient to establish that an
    individual who is not working is disabled.

    The lack of a listing-level impairment does not mean
    the individual is not disabled. Rather, it requires the
    adjudicator to move on to the next step of the process
    and apply other rules in order to resolve the issue of

    2.   You may win by proving Limited Capacity
    to Function

    hinders or reduces your capacity for work.  The
    Social Security Administration refers to this as
    “residual functional capacity.” Residual means that
    which is left over.  Functional refers to your ability to
    perform in a work or work like environment. Capacity
    describes your ability to perform in a competitive work
    environment.  So, if your residual functional capacity
    is less than sedentary, it means that you do not have
    the ability to perform even a simple, sit down, unskilled
    job 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

    If you have medical records and physician opinion
    evidence sufficient to prove that your residual
    functional capacity is less than sedentary, you are
    eligible for disability benefits. Judges give medical
    opinion evidence (especially if the physician has
    been treating the claimant on a long term basis) lot
    of weight if it supported by the medical records history.

    A residual functional capacity evaluation form or RFC
    can be completed by your medical for use with your
    disability application.  Your doctor will be asked to
    comment about your exertional capacity and your non-
    exertional limitations.  Exertional capacity has to do
    with your physical abilities - things like standing,
    walking, lifting and carrying.  Non-exertional impair-
    ments have more to do with things like pain,
    endurance and concentration. You can download
    a RFC form from this site for completion by your
    medical care providers.  This form can also be
    customized and amended for you as needed.  

    3.   Prove a “Grid Rule”

    This involves the effect of age and education on your
    ability to work.

    The third way to win your disability case is by proving
    that you meet the “grid rules,”  as they are referred
    to by the Social Security Administration.  These rules
    apply when you are 50 or older and have a physical
    type of impairment. These rules  do not apply to
    claimants with non-physical impairments like
    depression or pain.

    The grid rules take into account your age, education,
    work skills and physical capacity for work. You can
    line up each of these elements on the grid chart to
    determine whether you meet one of the rules and
    thereby qualify automatically.  SSA recognizes by use of
    these "grid rules" that workers who are older and less
    education will have a harder time finding an entry level
    job.  Realistically, fewer jobs are offered to workers over
    50, even if those jobs are simple and unskilled.   

    Workers between the ages of 18-49 are considered
    to be younger individuals.  Workers between the ages
    of 50-54 are considered closing approaching
    advanced age.  Workers over 55 are considered by
    Social Security to be in advanced age.

    Sedentary: Sedentary work means that you are able
    to sit for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, and lift up to
    10 lbs. occasionally during a day

    Light: Light work means that you can stand and walk
    for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, lift 10 lbs.
    frequently and 20 lbs. occasionally

    Medium: Medium work means that you can stand and
    walk for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, lift 25 lbs.
    frequently and 50 lbs. occasionally

    For example:  Grid rule 201.01 provides that a
    worker between the ages of 50 and 54, with limited
    or less than a high school education whose has no
    transferable work skills or performed unskilled work
    will be considered disabled.

    The older a worker becomes, the more Social
    Security accepts that simple, entry level work really
    does not exist in significant numbers in our economy
    to consider that the worker is able to find work.

    Click on the link to see the grid rules.  Use of the grid
    rules may be beyond the knowledge of the average
    disability claimant.  Therefore, it is very important to
    seek information about any element that may help
    prove your eligibility for Social Security Disability  
    benefits and win your case.  
if you wish to discuss your personal situation or the details the contents of this web site.

Counties Served: I represent Social Security Disability applications and appeals throughout South Carolina including Richland, Lexington, Kershaw, Fairfield, Sumter, Lancaster, Chester, Orangeburg, Bamberg, Newberry, Laurens, Lee, Greenville,
Spartanburg, and Darlington counties.

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