The Process

What is Social Security?

Social Security is a government program that many people in the United States count on when they become disabled or are unable to work. Unfortunately, like the majority of government programs available, obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be a complex and lengthy process. Social Security benefits can make the difference between struggling financially and having the funds you need to live and obtain sufficient medical care.

Time is critical in a Social Security Disability claim. The sooner you have a plan of action, the better your chances are of taking the correct steps and getting the results you want.

Your first conversation with Donna is a free consultation.

In an introductory conversation, Donna discusses basic information with you. Questions are along the lines of the following:


Are you working?


When was the last time that you worked?


Why did you stop working when you did?


What is physically or mentally keeping you from working?


In the past 15 years, how much have you worked?


For the past 2 years, how much have you worked?


Have you already filed a claim? Was it denied?

These questions help Donna understand your situation and whether or not you are insured. If you have filed a claim, you should be prepared to share when you filed the claim and the status of the claim. If you were denied, Donna will need the date of the denial and the reasons why you were denied.

If Donna can help you, an intake appointment will be scheduled.

After that introductory conversation, if there’s a good chance Donna can help you, an intake appointment will be scheduled. This is where paperwork gets signed, and Donna is there to explain it all. Documents you can expect to review include:


An agreement for Donna to be your attorney.


A form from Social Security to show that Donna is taking your case.


General releases for medical records.


Releases for employment information.

It’s also during this time that Donna explains the details of her fee, which is typically a contingency fee. Contingency means that there is no fee to you unless Donna wins your case.

The Claims Processing Period

After an initial application for benefits is filed with Social Security, an examiner will be assigned to your claim. The examiner may send additional forms for completion. Donna will assist you in filling out the forms to ensure they are correct and returned timely. Donna will also assist you in getting documentation from your doctors to add medical credibility to your claim. The examiner will order medical records, doctors will review your claim, and a decision made regarding whether or not you are disabled.

The Decision

Waiting for a decision to come back can be a nail-biting time, but don’t worry. Donna is ready to help regardless of the result.

If Social Security approves your disability claim, then they begin processing the claim for payment. You will receive a letter that explains how your back pay is calculated. Donna follows up with Social Security as needed and ensures you receive the correct amount.

If Social Security denies your claim, then Donna can appeal to Social Security for a Reconsideration of your claim. If your claim is still denied on Reconsideration, Donna can file another appeal requesting that your claim proceed to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. If the Administrative Law Judge denies your claim, there is another appeal that can be filed to the Appeals Council. If your claim is still denied, there are additional appeals that can be filed in Federal Court. Claims do not usually reach these higher levels of appeal. These steps are included just to show that Donna isn’t done with your case until you get your monthly benefits or she has exhausted all potential alternatives.

Let's Work Together