Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Legal Services


The USA Legal Plan provides members who cannot work due to illness or disability with a free consultation and free document review and explanation. Additionally, your attorney will work on a contingency fee basis – that means there is no fee to you unless they win your case. For USA Legal Plan members with Social Security Disability cases, the fee is 25% of past due benefits, or $6,000 – whichever is less.


1. What are Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income?
Both SSD and SSI are disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSD is a benefit for those who had a relatively steady work history for a period of time prior to becoming disabled. SSI is a benefit for those who may have only worked for a brief period of time, or not worked at all, prior to becoming disabled. To be eligible for SSI, you must meet financial guidelines for Public Assistance.

2. How long do you have to be disabled before applying?
You should apply right away, because there are delays between applying and actually receiving benefits. There are certain requirements regarding the expected length of disability and certain waiting periods during which benefits are not payable. Our attorneys can explain these to you.

3. What if you are receiving other benefits, such as workers’ compensation, will they be affected?
In some cases, there are offsets (reductions) against your Social Security Disability benefits as a result of workers’ compensation benefits you may have received during the same period of disability. This is something that must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and we can advise you on an individual basis. Generally, Veterans Administration benefits and private pension benefits do not offset (reduce) SSA’s disability benefits.

4. What is the SSD process for determining whether you are disabled?
The Social Security definition of disability may be different than other programs. It is based on your inability to work at all for a long period of time.You are considered disabled and eligible for SSD benefits if you meet these conditions:

  • You are not working—if you earn more than $1,000 a month, you are not considered disabled
  • Your condition must be so severe that it interferes with work-related activities you must perform to do your job
  • Social Security maintains a list of medical conditions used to determine if applicants are eligible to receive SSD benefits—if your impairment is not on the list, you are not disabled
  • You are unable to do the work you did before you were disabled
  • You are not able to perform other types of work that your background may have prepared you to do
  • It is important to understand that this is a simple explanation that does not take into account special situations that may make you eligible for disability benefits even it you have not fulfilled all the above conditions. Disability attorneys at Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano can advise you regarding your eligibility and then help you apply.

5. How long does it take for you to start collecting benefits?
The process of obtaining disability benefits from SSA can be a long, confusing and tedious process. It typically takes anywhere from four months to a year and a half to get an award of benefits. At Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano, we can guide you through the process as quickly and effectively as possible. Social Security has adopted fast-track processing for certain disabilities. Our objective is to assist you in obtaining the benefits that you deserve as quickly as possible.

6. How can you afford to pay a lawyer to help with SSDI when you are applying for SSDI because of financial problems?
You owe no fees unless we are successful and then, as regulated by the Social Security Act, we get a percentage of the recovered benefits.

7. What are personal injury cases?
If a personal injury results from the negligence of a company or another person, it is considered a personal injury case. Some examples of personal injury cases involve motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall, medical negligence, or defective products.

8. How long do I have to take legal action if I am injured as a result of someone’s carelessness or negligence?
Eligibility requirements vary by state. In Pennsylvania, most negligence-based claims must be filed within a two year window. Some cases involving intentional misconduct may have as short as a one year window. You should consult an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to ensure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.

9. How quickly should I contact an attorney?
To be safe, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can provide you with guidance concerning your medical care and necessary treatment, and help you with your bills.

10. What will it cost me to hire an attorney?
Usually, personal injury cases involve a contingency fee agreement. Your attorney receives compensation only once you have recovered wage losses. If you win, your lawyer’s payment is a pre-determined percentage of the money you recover. If there is no recovery, there is no fee.

11. What if the negligence caused someone’s death?
Cases that result in death are known as “Wrongful Death” cases. The claim is usually pursued by an appointed special administrator, often a family member. In Pennsylvania, parents, spouses, siblings, and children are considered “wrongful death beneficiaries,” and claims are pursued on their behalf. The wrongful death beneficiaries may be entitled to compensation for economic losses they suffered as a result of the death and may also be entitled to claim damages for the mental anguish suffered as a result of the death of a loved one.

12.What is my case worth?
The value of your case depends on a lot of factors, including:

  • medical expenses
  • wage loss
  • future damages
  • disfigurement and scarring
  • evidence as to the degree of fault
  • the location of the accident
  • the likelihood of punitive damages
  • the amount of insurance coverage

Case values are determined by an agreement between all parties when there is a settlement. If parties cannot agree on a settlement, the case value is established by the “trier of fact” (usually the jury or a judge).

13. How long does it take for a case to go to trial once it has been filed?
This varies greatly on a case-by-case basis. The courts try to schedule the oldest cases first, but any scheduling has to take into account the trial schedules of all of the attorneys who are involved. Criminal cases normally have priority over civil cases, which are often postponed or
“continued” to a later trial date. The complexity of the case may also have an effect on how soon a trial date can be obtained. It is easier to schedule a one day trial than a trial that will last for weeks.

14. How do I pay for my student loans if I’m found disabled?
Under new U.S. Department of Education guidelines, those who have borrowed federal loans may be eligible to have their Title IV federal loans forgiven. Learn more about loan forgiveness and Social Security Disability.