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Frequently Asked Questions

SSDI is a disability insurance program financed by your Social Security paycheck deductions. Unless prohibited by your age, you must have worked a total of 10 years (40 quarters), 5 of which must be within the last 10 years (20 of the last 40 quarters). In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must have earned FICA-taxed wages during this work period.

For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, no work time is required at all. There are, however, limits to eligibility based on how much property you own or money you have in the bank, as the SSI program is aimed at individuals who lack income or resources and are disabled. Benefits are paid as a flat rate, and the amount may be reduced if you receive any money or assistance from any source.

With both SSI and SSDI, you must be found disabled. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees both programs and defines disability as being unable to perform any “substantial gainful activity.”

No, SSDI can be seen as a safety net. It will pay monthly benefits to you based on the amount of money that you have already paid into the system through employment taxes.
If your claim is approved upon the first attempt, the process should take just a few months. However, it should be noted that only approximately one-third of claims are approved on the first filing. As such, most applicants need to go through the appeal process to secure their benefits. If your claim is then approved after an appeal to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, delays of a year or more before benefit payment commences are also common.
Attorney’s fees are 25% of the first retroactive payment to you by the SSA; however, the fee is capped at US$7,200 regardless of the amount of money you are owed by the SSA. There is no one-off or ongoing fee after you win your case. As the SSA can take several years to adjudicate a disability claim, disability claimants are often entitled to a large check for retroactive benefits for the period in which they were waiting for their claim to be decided. Our fees automatically come out of that first retroactive check, so our clients never have to pay us directly.
If your application is rejected on your first attempt, as is the case for many first-time applicants, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. An appeal must be filed using the proper forms within 60 days of the date of the denial decision. Your chances of winning an appeal are greatly enhanced by retaining a firm that specializes in Social Security law.

The monthly amount you will receive depends on factors such as age, past earnings, and type of benefit. To get a better idea of your situation, it is advisable to consult the SSA’s benefit calculator.

The results you deserve

With over 40 years of service, LaPorte Law Firm has won thousands of claims and appeals for our clients.

LaPorte Law Firm was wonderful to work with. They took a very stressful process and turned it into a positive experience by making me feel listened to and understood. They stood by me and were extremely supportive every step of the way. I would highly recommend them to anyone.

Donna Green

I was very down on my luck and got an appointment set up with LaPorte Law Firm. The lawyers were straight shooters. I appreciate them being very generous with their time and preparing me for the worst-case scenario. I would highly recommend this firm to anyone serious about their court case.

Eyez V.

Emeryville, CA

If problems arise when dealing with Social Security Disability, calling LaPorte Law Firm is the best thing you can do. Professional, experienced, confident, and reassuring are a few words I’d use when recommending them.

Mitch Boo

Award-winning service

Equipped with years of experience and thousands of successful cases, LaPorte Law Firm is the leading disability attorney in the Bay Area, and we have the awards and certifications to prove it.