The Social Security Disability Act allows monetary support to those who are unable to maintain substantial “gainful employment” due to mental and/or physical disabilities prior to retirement age. For those who have had a strong work history up until their illness rendered them unable to work, they may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. This is a monthly payment based on your past income and varies from person to person.
For those who do not have a strong work history or did not work in a job that paid Social Security taxes, there are Social Security Income benefits. Parties who apply for either of these benefits are often denied the first few rounds and do not receive approval until there is a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The process of obtaining benefits can take several months up to two years – or even longer.
The key for a claimant is that medical records document their condition and that they maintain a strong treatment history. While the ALJ will consider the testimony of the claimant, they will not approve benefits without the medical evidence supporting those claims. It is imperative that a claimant maintain consistent treatment with all physical and mental health providers.
An attorney will not charge any up-front fees to a Social Security/Disability client. Only if Social Security Disability benefits are granted will a standard percentage of the benefits be paid to the attorney.