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Disability is something most people don’t like to think about, but the chances that you’ll become disabled probably are greater than you realize. Studies show that 20-year-old workers have a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age.

The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits through the Social Security disability insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income program.

The Social Security disability insurance program pays benefits to disabled adults and certain family members if they have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

The Supplemental Security Income program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources, regardless of their work history.

For most people, the medical requirements are the same under both programs, and disability is determined by the same process.

Whether you apply for Social Security disability insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income benefits, The Social Security Administration asks you for information about your medical condition, work, and education history to help them decide if you are disabled under their rules.

Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.

How do I apply for benefits?

There are two ways that you can apply for disability benefits. You can:

  1. Apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov; or
  2. Call Social Security Administration’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, to make an appointment to file a disability claim at your local Social Security office or to set up an appointment for someone to take your claim over the telephone.

When you apply for either program, the Social Security Administration will collect medical and other information from you and decide whether or not you meet Social Security’s definition of disability.

If you were recently denied Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income benefits, you might request an appeal. Generally, you have 60 days after you receive the notice of the Social Security Administration’s denial to ask for any appeal.

If your claim is denied at the initial level, you have the right to ask for a reconsideration. A reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by a Disability Examiner who did not participate in the first determination. In the reconsideration, the Disability Examiner will look at all the evidence used in the original determination, plus any new evidence. If your claim is denied after the reconsideration, you have the right to request a hearing. An Administrative Law Judge conducts a hearing.

Should I hire an attorney or other representative?

You do not need an attorney or representative to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income benefits. However, if your claim is denied at the initial or reconsideration level, Goodwyn Law Firm can help.

Once you appoint Goodwyn Law Firm as your representative, an attorney will be assigned, and we will act on your behalf before the Social Security Administration by:

  • Requesting a reconsideration, a hearing, or an Appeals Council review.
  • Getting information from your Social Security file.
  • Helping you get medical records or information to support your claim.
  • Submitting a pre-hearing brief to the Administrative Law Judge.
  • Helping you and your witnesses prepare for a hearing.
  • Coming with you to the hearing and questioning any witnesses.

What are the fees charged by an attorney in a disability case?

The Social Security Administration must approve fees charged by an attorney. Goodwyn Law Firm uses the standard fee agreement, which pays the representative a fee of 25 percent of the past-due benefits, not to exceed $6,000.

If Goodwyn Law Firm is not successful in winning your case and obtaining past-due benefits, no fee is charged.

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