What is Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides income supplements to people who are unable to remain employed because of a severe disability. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked in jobs that were covered by Social Security. You must also have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability.

The Social Security Administration uses a step-by-step process to determine the extent of your disability. To determine if you qualify for disability benefits, the SSA asks five questions including:

  • Are you working?
  • Is your condition severe?
  • Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
  • Can you do the work you did previously?
  • Can you do any other type of work?

If you are filing for social security benefits after suffering from a severe disability, contact the experienced Social Security disability attorneys of Ooten Law Firm today.


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are both government benefit programs managed by the Social Security Administration. The key difference between these two programs is that SSDI is available to disabled workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits. SSI disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who either haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI or haven’t been able to work at all.

SSDI is funded through FICS Social Security taxes. Through payroll taxes, workers make contributions to the Social Security trust fund every year. Over the years, a worker may accumulate enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. In 2020, a worker must earn $1,410 to qualify for one Social Security work credit.

Supplemental Security Income is a need-based program funded by general fund taxes that has nothing to do with work history. To qualify for SSI, you must have a very limited income and have less than $2,000 in assets. For couples, you must have less than $3,000 in assets.

What Does It Cost to Hire a Disability Lawyer?

When you hire a Knoxville, TN disability lawyer, you don’t need to worry about paying upfront costs. Social Security Disability lawyers work on a contingent fee basis. That means your disability lawyer is only paid when you’re granted Social Security benefits. You don’t have a contingency fee to worry about if your claim isn’t approved at any point in the process.

When you agree to work with your disability lawyer, you’ll sign a contingency fee agreement, which will set the exact terms of your lawyer’s payment. These fee agreements are then reviewed and approved by the Social Security Administration.

When your disability claim is approved, your lawyer’s fee will be 25% of your back benefits, which is typically paid to them directly from the SSA. However, no matter how much in past-due benefits you receive, the fee is capped at $6,000.

Why Choose Ooten Law Firm?

It’s recommended to call a Social Security disability lawyer as early into the SSDI filing process as possible. The Social Security disability lawyers of Ooten Law Firm can help you evaluate the strength of your case, make the initial SSDI application, and navigate the SSD process should your application be denied.

With years of experience helping hundreds of clients get their claims approved, Ooten Law Firm has the Social Security disability lawyers Knoxville, TN residents can rely on to improve their chances of success in the SSD application process. Although every case is unique, an experienced lawyer can help you navigate the SSD process more efficiently, which can help your case move more smoothly through the system.

For more information on Social Security disability insurance and benefits, or to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Social Security disability lawyers, contact the law offices of Ooten Law Firm today.

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