Social Security Disability

Social Security is a benefit which is available to persons who have earned wages. A portion of those wages has been withheld as FICA. Should a person become disabled, they may apply for Social Security disability.

In order to qualify for benefits, you must be able to show that you are disabled from any substantial gainful employment. Social Security regulations provide that in the year 2002, if your gross earnings do not average $780.00 per month, you are not doing substantial work.

In addition, your condition must be expected to last longer than a year for you to prove entitlement. Medical evidence is generally necessary to prove your entitlement to benefits.

The first step to apply for benefits must be done by the applicant at your local Social Security Office. If you are rejected, you must file a request for reconsideration. Generally, if you have been turned down at the first stage, you will be turned down at the reconsideration stage, unless you can show that your condition is severe enough to meet certain listings which Social Security has. The information is available online at Social Security's comprehensive web site: After the reconsideration stage, if you have been unsuccessful, you must apply for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. This individual may find you disabled even if you do not meet the listings, if your condition is severe enough to preclude you from working. It is at this stage that an attorney can be most helpful.

Social Security rules do not permit the charging of a fee for representation without agency approval. The amount of the fee which will be approved, as of the year 2002, is $5,300.00 or 25% of any past due benefits, whichever is less.