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Social Security Disability

When you work with Feldman Disability Law, we’re with you through the whole process. We know that in the application for Social Security Disability Benefits, the details matter. Thorough documentation – like information from your doctors – matters. And it all needs to be presented as clearly as possible.

social security disability law

What are the types of Social Security Disability?

Social Security disability benefits are payments to you from the Social Security Administration. There are 2 main types:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are based on contributing to the system

If you’ve paid into the Social Security system through income tax contributions taken from your paycheck, you may be eligible when you become disabled. Eligibility for SSDI isn’t based on your current financial position. It’s based on whether you’ve paid enough into the system for the required number of quarters. Some adults who became disabled prior to age 22 may also qualify for these benefits on their parent’s earnings record.

Supplemental Social Security Insurance (SSI) benefits aren’t based on contributing to the system.

SSI is for disabled people who have not worked long enough or recently enough so do not have the required quarters of coverage. It’s a program that’s “means-tested” – so you have to have under a certain amount of resources be eligible. Also, permanent legal residents and refugees can apply for SSI; you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for it.

What’s the Social Security Disability Application Process?

The process looks straightforward – “I can’t work because…” or “I can’t hold a job because…” – so you file an application. You have some medical information from your doctors. You include it. But then you’re denied.


1. Determine financial eligibility: Do you qualify for SSDI, SSI, or both?
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2. File a disability application: Do you have all the medical evidence and documentation?
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Win (or Appeal)

3. Win or Appeal: If you don’t win at first, we’ll appeal!
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It comes down to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and if they decide you meet the definition of disabled. Their definition of disabled is:

You must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically determinable physical or mental disability(ies) that is either:

  1. Expected to result in death, or
  2. Has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

Note: There is a separate definition of disability for children (under age 18) who are applying for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Contact our office for more information on childhood SSI claims.