How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Most people believe that applying for disability benefits is as simple as filling out a few forms.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  The initial application process requires the submission of multiple forms, extensive paperwork, medical records, and detailed personal information.

Approximately 67% of all disability claims are denied on the first application, often because applicants make minor errors and mistakes that compromise their eligibility.[1]  While you are not required to hire an attorney to complete the Social Security Disability application process, it can significantly increase your chances of being approved.  At the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we can prepare and submit your claim, or represent you if benefits are initially denied.  We can walk you through every step of the process and help ensure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.

Legal Fee Costs and the Cost of Benefit Denial

How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

As social security disability lawyers, we are only entitled to a percent of backpay (usually 25%) if we assist and a claim is accepted.  Thus if we are retained at the outset of a claim, our fee is often fairly minimal.  With significant experience, we have a much higher rate of initial success than the average success rate.

The costs of a denial of the initial claim, however, can be tremendous.  It may take many months before a denial is even issued, and thereafter, many more months before a claim can be appealed and potentially ultimately approved.  During this time, a claimant may be without much-needed income for an extended period, which may lead to taking extreme actions (like borrowing at high interest on credit cards).

How Do I Apply for SSD?

The first step in the Social Security Disability claims process is to file an application for disability benefits.  During the initial stage, you will submit your application to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) along with the Adult Disability Report.  Extensive medical evidence and supporting documentation (such as medical records from all physicians, therapists, hospitals and clinics, prescriptions, and names and contact information for all applicable healthcare entities) must be provided so that the SSA can determine a claimant’s ability to work.  It can take between 90 to 120 days to complete this stage of the disability claims process.

It’s important to understand that the default position of the SSA is to deny claims regardless of the nature.  The SSA simply does not have any ability to approve a claim that does not strictly meet all applicable requirements. As a result, most applications are denied upon initial review; however, this does not mean that benefits will not ultimately be awarded.  At our firm, we assist in both claim preparation, as well as help clients whose applications have been denied. 

Does My Injury or Condition Automatically Qualify as a Disability?

The SSA provides a Listing of Impairments that describes, for each major body system, impairments that are so severe that they automatically qualify as a disability.  Most of the listed conditions are those that are permanent, long-lasting, or expected to result in death.[2]

The following are some of the qualifying conditions for adults over the age of eighteen:

  • Musculoskeletal System – Major joint dysfunction, spine disorders, amputation, upper-extremity fractures, soft tissue injuries, surgical arthrodesis of a major weight-bearing joint.
  • Special Senses and Speech – Loss of visual acuity or efficiency, loss of speech, hearing loss treatable or not treatable with cochlear implantation.
  • Respiratory Disorders – Chronic Respiratory Disorders, cystic fibrosis, chronic pulmonary hypertension, lung transplant, respiratory failure
  • Cardiovascular System – Chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, recurrent arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, aortic aneurysm, chronic venous insufficiency
  • Digestive System – Chronic liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging requiring blood transfusion, liver transplant
  • Genitourinary Disorders – Chronic kidney disease, kidney transplant, Nephrotic syndrome
  • Hematological Disorders – Thrombosis and hemostasis disorders, bone marrow failure disorders
  • Skin Disorders – Ichthyosis, bullous disease, chronic infections of the skin or mucous membranes, dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa
  • Endocrine Disorders – Pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal gland disorders, diabetes mellitus, chronic hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems – Non-mosaic downs syndrome
  • Neurological Disorders – Epilepsy, benign brain tumors, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, post-polio syndrome, neuropathy
  • Mental Disorders – Schizophrenia, neurocognitive disorders, autism, personality impulse-control disorders
  • Cancer – Malignant neoplastic diseases
  • Immune System Disorders – Systemic vasculitis, dermatomyositis, lupus, inflammatory arthritis, HIV[3]

How Does the SSA Decide If I am Disabled and Eligible for SSDI?

In order to obtain Social Security Disability benefits, you must qualify under very stringent guidelines that the SSA has put forth.  These requirements must be met even if your doctor has labeled you as disabled.  The following are the five considerations considered when making an SSDI determination:

  • Are you working? If you are working in 2020 and earn more than $1,260 a month, you generally will not qualify.
  • Is your condition “severe”? Your condition must significantly limit your ability to perform basic tasks such as standing, walking, sitting, lifting, or standing for at least one year.
  • If your condition found on the list of disabling conditions? As mentioned above, The SSA maintains a comprehensive list of medical conditions that it considers so severe that it prevents a person from completing substantial gainful activity.  If your injury is not listed, the SSA must make an individual determination as to whether your condition is as severe as another condition on the list.  If it is, you will be considered disabled.
  • Can you do the work you previously accomplished? If your impairment does not prevent you from performing any of your past work, you will not qualify.
  • Can you do any other type of work? Even if you can’t do past work, the SSA will evaluate whether there is other work that you can perform despite your impairment.  Age, education, past work experience, and any transferrable skills will be considered when deciding whether you can perform other tasks.  If you can do other work, you will not have a qualifying disability, and your claims will be denied.[4]

Can My Doctor Submit a Social Security Disability Application for Me?

Physicians cannot submit SSDI applications on behalf of patients, and a report certifying disability is not enough to support a claim for benefits.  However, your doctor will still need to provide the SSA with a written statement regarding the extent and circumstances of your disability.  This statement should be detailed and supported by objective medical findings, such as laboratory test results and x-ray images.

What Documents Will I Need to Provide for SSDI?

When you apply for SSDI, you may be asked to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:

  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status
  • S. military discharge paperwork if you have military services before 1968
  • W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax returns
  • An Adult Disability Report that collects details about your illnesses, injuries or conditions, and work history
  • Medical evidence in your possession (including medical records, doctors’ report, and recent test results)
  • Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements, or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers’ compensation-type benefits[5]

We Look Forward to Learning About How We May Be Able to Help with Your SSD Claim

The Social Security Disability application process can be complicated.  We offer a free consultation, and there is no fee unless benefits are awarded.  We help clients with claim preparation and filing, as well as those seeking to overturn benefit denial. Call our offices to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help secure the benefits to which you may be entitled.


[1] Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2018, SSA, https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2018/di_asr18.pdf.

[2] Benefits Planner, Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/listing-impairments.htm

[3] Listing of Impairments – Adult Listings (Part A), SSA, https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm.

[4] Benefits Planner: Disability|How You Qualify, SSA, https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/qualify.html.

[5] Form SSA-16|Information You Need to Apply for Disability Benefits, SSA, https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-16.html.

Client Review

“Great job of communicating throughout the entire process. Rhonda and staff were very professional, with great knowledge, and results.They were able to get my speeding ticket completely dismissed.”

Kendrick Wiggins
Client Review

What Our Clients Say

I'm an out of state driver who received a speeding ticket in smyth county. Mark Hurt Law firm helped me get the charge completely dismissed at a very affordable cost! Great Firm , highly recommend!
Luke Robinson
Luke Robinson
21:48 22 Apr 21
A very professional team who understands the stress of being in an accident. Our paralegal, Courtney Cormier, made us always feel as if things were being taken care of and it was nice to be worry free.
Kristina Murray
Kristina Murray
18:29 03 Mar 21
Diana Phipps
Diana Phipps
13:46 03 Mar 21
After my car accident, Mr. Hurt and his team worked very diligently to get me a fair settlement. Courtney Cormier, a paralegal on the team, was an invaluable asset to me. She always kept me informed of everything that was happening. I couldn't have had a better experience.
Caleb & Kristina Murray
Caleb & Kristina Murray
21:54 22 Feb 21
I could not be more pleased with the service I received. He is a wonderful lawyer and he gets the job done.
Country living woman Mountains
Country living woman Mountains
05:52 22 Dec 20
This law firm has great people skills and are very professional and efficient I would definitely recommend anyone to this law firm.
Lucas Green
Lucas Green
18:06 06 Dec 20
Courtney done a very good job with my case at the abingdon va office very quick and efficient great job highly reccomended my auto accident was in may and alreadh we have settled for maximum amount thanks so much
James Smith
James Smith
06:57 05 Dec 20
I contacted the law offices of Mark T. Hurt regarding a traffic ticket I received. Initially I was concerned because I live between Florida and New York, and with Virginia being midway, handling my ticket would be a major inconvenience, and I wanted to keep my record free of any infractions.Choosing Mark T. Hurt to represent me was the best choice I made, and it was further improved with the assistance of Rhonda, who contacted me once they received my request. Rhonda is one of those unique people who has mastered the fine line between being perfectly professional and friendly. Every conversation we had, was made to feel as if I were speaking to a close friend. One of the most appreciated aspects of working with her was her understanding and respectful of my schedule and time.For my work, I have a hectic schedule and very few free moments, so being able to handle things quickly and effectively is a priority for me, and Rhonda understood that and took care of everything as if she knew exactly what I was expecting. I even got sick while working with Rhonda, and her first comment was to wish me well. She also went out of her way to find solutions regarding my traffic citation that worked around my schedule. The price was fair, and when considering the quality of work and more importantly, the quality of people you will be reliant upon to ensure the best possible outcome for whatever your situation is, they can ask for 10x more than what I paid and it would still be worth it.All in all, recommendation for this law office, and for Rhonda herself, could not be higher. If you are searching for someone to represent you in any legal matter whatsoever, this is the office to work with. Thank you again Rhonda.
Al Fortunatti
Al Fortunatti
00:47 07 Nov 20
My lawyer Courtney in charge of my case was very professional, and very responsive to my personal injury and auto claim. She had it settled in a timely manner very polite and I would recommend this office to anyone.
Samantha Mays
Samantha Mays
21:28 06 Nov 20
I would highly recommend this law firm! Courtney helped me with my personal injury case, she answered all my questions and was always responsive throughout the entire process.She advocated for me efficiently and strived for the best possible outcome.
SCTC-Kimberly Dickey
SCTC-Kimberly Dickey
17:16 27 Oct 20
I'm not a Virgina resident and had found this firm through Google. I have a traffic violation case in tennessee and was desperate to get awnsers. This law office's staff was so helpful even though I wasn't able to even be a client, I believe the person who awnsered was Ashley. After their direction on finding another attorney and my case I was able to push my court date back and will be able to find someone to represent me.I'm not even a client, they didn't have to help me at all! I just wish they practiced in the tri cities area! Would recommend this group!
Benjamin Smith
Benjamin Smith
18:34 22 Oct 20
I contacted the affordable Law Offices of Mark T Hunt regarding a ticket I received. They requested certain documents from me, went to court on my behalf and got the ticket dismissed! The entire process was easy, fast and efficient. When I emailed or texted them their response time was impeccable!I would HIGHLY recommend them if you are looking for a professional attorney!
Davina Waller
Davina Waller
16:41 22 Oct 20
Under the circumstances that I had to have an encounter with Mr. Hurt, if I needed another team to represent me, I wouldn't hesitate for a second. The sheer communication that I had with Ashley was phenomenal. I was informed every step of the way. I was directed to each step of the process. I thoroughly enjoyed working with this law firm and would HIGHLY reccomend them. They were able to have my ticket completely dropped with no points added. Thank you all so much for all your hard work you did for me.
Chris Sanders
Chris Sanders
16:56 21 Oct 20
Mark and his team were very professional and courteous. They done a excellent job with my traffic ticket. I would highly recommend them.
Shannon Hanes
Shannon Hanes
16:26 21 Oct 20
My son got a speeding ticket in Virginia going back to school in Alabama. We contacted Mark Hurts office and they were very responsive and handled the entire situation for us.
Mary Ellen Fennell
Mary Ellen Fennell
22:54 20 Oct 20
The Law Offices of Mark Hurt made the process of dismissing my ticket so effortless! They were told me all the steps I needed to take to make Mr. Hurt’s job easier, and he was able to dismiss my ticket! I’m so thankful I used Mark Hurt to represent me in court. I would highly recommend him to anyone I know.
Cristina Marie
Cristina Marie
16:33 15 Oct 20
Friendly. Efficient. Professional.I’m thankful!
Moody Witoutcoffee
Moody Witoutcoffee
03:56 09 Oct 20
Rafael Oliveira
Rafael Oliveira
11:13 06 Oct 20
Cleber Bandi
Cleber Bandi
00:06 06 Oct 20
Lindaura Williams
Lindaura Williams
23:47 05 Oct 20
Flavia Oliver
Flavia Oliver
14:48 05 Oct 20
T. O.
T. O.
19:55 03 Oct 20
anita R Oliveira
anita R Oliveira
15:25 03 Oct 20
I highly recommend anyone to choose The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their issues! They were extremely nice, helpful, and professional, especially Courtney! Every question and concern was always answered. I am thankful for all their help!!
Brittany Gobble
Brittany Gobble
17:35 29 Sep 20
They were very helpful, and answered all of the questions I had, and got great results from my court hearing, I would highly recommend!
Bodie Breitbach
Bodie Breitbach
15:49 21 Sep 20
This law firm is the best of the best and Courtney was just wonderful in every aspect. Extremely helpful and answers every question and always willing to help! Mark Hurt and his crew are the best! Thank you all for helping my family in a very difficult time. Highly recommend.
Tony Statzer
Tony Statzer
14:41 17 Sep 20
Late in July I was charged with a reckless driving ticket in Greenville County, Virginia. I got caught going 83mph in a 55mph zone. It was my first offense on my driving record and I did not need a misdemeanor which could hurt my career. I was assured by Mrs Rhonda Hurt not to worry and that her team would take care of it. On my end, the only effort I put in was taking a 12 hour defensive driving course and sending her my driving record. Two months later, the result of my hearing was a reduction to a defective equipment/non driving violation with 0 points off my record. The other good part about this case was I did not have to go to court. In court fees I paid $68 and a fine of $78 for my ticket. Mrs. Rhonda and her team put together a miracle in that county and I cannot give her enough credit. I sincerely recommend this firm because I know they worked hard on my case and will do the same for you. Thank you again!
Marqus Keith
Marqus Keith
14:54 15 Sep 20
I highly recommend this law firm! Rhonda answered all my questions regarding social security questions and she put my nerves at ease! Im so thankful for her kind spirit and her honesty!
Catina Ratliff
Catina Ratliff
17:51 05 Sep 20
The law offices of mark hurt was very good to me and my family great people great service and great results courtney was our paralegal that presided over the case could not have asked for more to be done.
Danny Kiser
Danny Kiser
18:34 31 Aug 20
I got a traffic ticket while I traveled passing through VA in May.It is a big deal if you have the Law Section: 44-1/46/2-862 and speeding excess of 80 MPH in your ticket. It is a Criminal Misdemeanor Reckless Driving Charge!I saw Mark T. Hurt's Law office simple letter, I decided to give a call and get a free consultation.From the call, Rhonda provided a detail explaining the criminal charge of the Misdemeanor Reckless Driving ticket is about. She is a very caring and honest person, no sale pressure to me to take their law office at all.Once I decided to use their firm to represent me in court, it didn't take an hour, I was told totake some actions and wait for cout day to see the result. That is that simple and no worry at all. On the court date, I received text messages from lawyer's office. Guess what? The lawyer did a miraculous and fantastic job for me in the court.The Reckless Driving Misdemeanor ticket has been reduced to an Improper Driving traffic ticket.Thanks to Mark T. Hurt's Law office team! They are not only very professional and transparent but also does the best quality job you can find. I strongly recommend them to be your lawyer if you need one in VA.
C.Y. Kuan
C.Y. Kuan
01:07 23 Aug 20
Having landed a Reckless Driving (99 in a 65) on my way back to FL from WV, I came across this law firm when searching something along "best reckless driving lawyers Virginia."Mr. Hurt's firm dropped my "Criminal Misdemeanor" to an improper driving. Which from my understanding is right next to a normal speeding ticket.All expenses accounted (payment, court cost, fine), I'm out roughly $1,100 ; but I'd much rather pay that once today, than every six months to an insurance company for the next... God knows how many years. I am extremely grateful and overjoyed with my outcome.As far as speaking with the great ladies at these offices, everyone was always kind, quick, and considerate. They answered all my questions, explained all my options and possible outcomes. I had a clean record, and had now experience dealing with courts or lawyers, so their patience and knowledge was especially helpful. If I ever screw up again (I pray to God I don't) I hope it's in Virginia, so I can call upon Mr. Hurt's offices.
Nomadic Wolf
Nomadic Wolf
21:06 21 Aug 20
I would like to thank Hope for helping me get my SSDI. She was a true professional a great help with my success. great asset to the law firm and honest lady could not ask for anyone better. Thank You, David
David Harden
David Harden
21:17 20 Aug 20
I had a miracle outcome
jose feliz
jose feliz
22:14 18 Aug 20
I got stop in wyth county saw good reviews on Law of Mark, i can say i highly recomend them, got stop 79mph on a 60mph, they all i had to pay was a low amounth of $200 fine plus court cost $76 and they got me out with zero point infraction, if you looking for lawyer on traffic tickets here its the place to go with! Very professional and representatives will be there to help any time!
Brisio Gaza
Brisio Gaza
23:12 15 Aug 20
This law firm is the up most professional and highly knowledgeable in it's field of work. Courtney is awesome and a pleasure to work with she is the best at her job. We highly recommend this law firm!
Christy Statzer
Christy Statzer
02:52 11 Aug 20
Courtney Cormier and the law office, was amazing! Courtney was very efficient, timely, and responsive. I had an issue with a previous employee, but due to that, Mr. Hurt wanted to ensure that I was completely satisfied, so he made adjustments on his fee, just to make sure I was happy! You couldn't ask for a better paralegal or law office! I highly recommend this firm!
Jessica Ann Roberts
Jessica Ann Roberts
20:10 30 Jul 20
I called seeking help with a traffic ticket I received. I spoke to the legal assistant, Ashley and she was very helpful.
Nathan
Nathan
13:54 30 Jul 20
my Attorney Courtney Cormier was amazing and very helpful and patient with me and the case and always keep me updated on all the steps and procedures of the process i would definitely recommend her and this office they are amazing
Branden Lewis
Branden Lewis
15:24 21 Jul 20
These guys got my reckless driving charge of a 94 in 70 down to a improper driving. You won’t regret hiring them to help you out!
Haley Walser
Haley Walser
23:22 20 Jul 20
Great experience with Courtney Cormier! Thanks for the professional help!
Alisha Fagan
Alisha Fagan
16:26 20 Jul 20
Thank you for doing the best you guys did an amazing job with my case I appreciate everyone that worked on my case I definitely recommend this law firm!!
Abdullah Shaikh
Abdullah Shaikh
14:56 16 Jul 20
Great people! Very helpful and professional.
Heather Foster
Heather Foster
21:53 15 Jul 20
Wonderful, family oriented law firm. The staff are very attentive and courteous especially Courtney. I highly recommend this legal establishment!
Duane Cormier
Duane Cormier
17:25 15 Jul 20
Amazing group of people to work with Courtney is fantasticI would highly recommend this group
Kara Ginter-Hensley
Kara Ginter-Hensley
21:41 14 Jul 20
Great firm!! Diana will walk you through everything you need to take care of a traffic ticket.
Braden Alexander
Braden Alexander
19:28 14 Jul 20
They are very professional, and respectful with everybody, including one of his employees, Rafael
Flavia Oliver
Flavia Oliver
17:01 14 Jul 20
The personnel who work here are constiment professionals. Rhonda Hurt kept me abreast of all proceedings and changes without the need for me to follow up, allowing me to maintain a piece of mind knowing that the Law Offices of Mark T Hurt were on the job (Rhonda kept me up to date through text and e-mail).During the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak all court dates were changed. I received a personalized letter from Mark assuring me that he and his team was on the job and was going to see my case through to the end while keeping me looped in.Thank you for all your help and persistence to see the great outcome I received.I highly recommend anyone to use the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their issues!
Jon H
Jon H
11:34 13 Jul 20
They are a hard working team that care about their clients.
Frederick Baker II
Frederick Baker II
05:13 26 Jun 20
Fast, professional, and friendly. One of the best we have had for our family case and would HIGHLY recommend!!
Jonathan Mora
Jonathan Mora
19:13 04 May 20