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Social Security FAQs

We know that you probably have questions about how Social Security Disability (SSD) works. It is a complex, insurance-like system, with many rules and requirements. Our attorneys at Jacobs, Schwalbe & Petruzzelli, P.C., can help answer those questions and we have put together a list of some frequently asked questions.

Who Is Eligible For Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits can be paid to anyone who has a qualifying disability and who also meets other nonmedical requirements. For Social Security disability benefits, your entitlement is based upon your work history. For Supplemental Security Income, you must meet certain income and resource limitation requirements.

How Is Disability Defined?

To be disabled, you must have a medical problem that interferes with your ability to work and has lasted or is expected to last at least one year or result in death. For children to be considered disabled, the medical problem must seriously interfere with the child’s ability to function the same as unimpaired children.

Can I File A Claim On My Own?

Yes, applications can be filed for benefits online at the Social Security Administration’s website at or by calling 1-800-772-1213.

However, these claims are complex and mistakes or errors on the application can lead to denials or delays in your claim.

We encourage you to contact us before filing so that we can advise you about your potential rights and benefits and the information needed to file the claim properly. All initial consultations are free.

The SSD Claims Process

There can be multiple steps in a Social Security Disability claim, from the application to a possible appeal in federal court:

  • After an initial claim, if not approved, you have the right to request a reconsideration – a hearing before an administrative law judge.
  • From that hearing, you may then need a review by the Appeals Council.
  • After the administrative appeals process, if your claim has been denied, you have the right to file an appeal in the United States Federal District Court.

It Is Critical To Work With An Attorney Early In the Process

Due to heavy Social Security caseloads and government backlogs, claims can sometimes take years to resolve favorably. Working with an attorney can ensure that your initial claim is complete and that your application is properly filled out. We can assist you with this lengthy process and work for the most favorable results. Don’t wait to contact us.

How Much Will You Charge?

There is no fee to speak with one of our attorneys about your potential claim. Once we accept your claim for representation, there is no fee unless we obtain benefits for you.

All fees must be approved by the Social Security Administration and no fee greater than that approved will be charged. The fee will be no more than 25% of retroactive benefits. The fee may be lower than 25% in many cases but will never be more than that. Also, there is no filing fee to file for your initial claim or for your request for reconsideration.

Although the firm does not charge for its expenses, any fees required by your medical providers for obtaining your medical records or reports will be your responsibility to pay.

We work very hard to keep these costs as low as possible and to advise you in advance of any fees your doctors’ offices may charge. You can help us help you by asking for records at each doctor visit.

Time Limits Apply In Filing Appeals

There are very strict time limits for filing appeals. You have only 60 days to appeal a Social Security decision. Failure to appeal within that time may cause you to lose valuable rights under the Social Security Act.

It is very important that you keep us advised of any change in your condition or treatment so that we can obtain and submit all of the evidence necessary to prove your claim.

If you have a new accident or injury during the time your claim is pending, it is very important to notify us immediately. You may be entitled to additional benefits under other benefit programs.

Additionally, other types of claims such as workers’ compensation or other personal injury claims can affect your claim and the amount of your benefits.

Free Consultation For SSD Claims

At Jacobs, Schwalbe & Petruzzelli, P.C., we are always ready to speak with you to answer your questions. When you call, if one of us is not immediately available, please leave a detailed question so that we can be prepared to answer it when we call back.

Call us at 856-528-7991. Since our attorneys are in court almost every day, our staff is experienced and will answer many of your questions. You should also make an appointment to speak with an attorney in addition to speaking with our staff.