Applying for Social Security Disability

SSABefore applying you should consider that the law defines disability as the inability to do any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. See generally 20 CFR 404.1505. To qualify, you must have severe enough impairment that you cannot do any past relevant work, or any other substantial gainful work that exists in our national economy.

In many instances social security claimants will not have impairments that meet scheduled impairments, which would qualify them for benefits. In that instance, the social security administration (“SSA”) will assess the claimant’s residual functional capacity based on medical records and physician questionnaires to determine if the claimant can do past relevant work. If not, then the next step is to use the same residual functional capacity assessment in combination with age, education, and work experience to determine if the claimant can do any other work in the national economy.


To determine if you meet a listed impairment that qualifies you for social security disability, check out the SSA LISTING OF IMPAIRMENTS online.


          Attorney fees in social security disability cases are set by statute. Fees are based on past-due benefits.  Generally, the fees are 25% of the past-due benefits up to $6,000.00.  There are exceptions, but this is the predominant method of fee charging by attorneys.


You can apply for social security online. Before doing so, you should gather a multitude of items and information as the application process involves a detailed history of your employment, education, medical, and physician information.  A checklist can be found online at SOCIAL SECURITY APPLICATION CHECKLIST.  Once you have gathered your information and are prepared to answer the detailed questionnaire, you may APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ONLINE.

Once you file, you can expect a response to your application within 30 – 90 days depending on the complexity of your condition. If you are denied disability benefits, you should immediately seek the advice of counsel as you only have 60 days from the date of denial to file a request for reconsideration.  In the process your attorney can review the basis of the denial and work with your treating physicians to determine if SSA’s decision is correct.  In many instances independent medical reviews wrongfully discount treating physician assessments.  The SSA must give deference to treating physicians.  It is important that your attorney build a sufficient record of treating physician records, and statements, if obtainable, to prepare for a hearing before an administrative law judge, who will decide your case on the SSA administrative record.

If you find yourself being denied social security disability benefits, please call our firm as we have experience representing social security claimants before the SSA.


(203) 441-7425





About the Author: Rick Woods