Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC – Law Firm in Fairview Heights, IL

Social Security Disability Lawyer Fairview Heights, IL


Social Security Disability (or SSD) is a Federally Administered program designed to help people with disabilities. SSD is actually split into two programs:
  • Social Security Disability Insurance:  If you have paid Social Security taxes and meet the medical criteria for Disability, you may be eligible for Disability benefits. Eligibility for benefits varies on your job history, education, medical condition, and other factors.
  • Supplemental Security Income: Even if you have not paid Social Security taxes, you may be eligible for SSI benefits. Created to help those that may be visually impaired, elderly, or have a disability, SSI provides cash for food, clothing, and basic necessities.
The Social Security Administration manages both of these programs. SSD Insurance is supported by payroll taxes. SSI is directed toward people with disabilities who have not paid Social Security taxes. SSDI benefits are granted when and if you are unable to work due to a disability. The Social Security Administration has complicated rules for disability payments, and it is essential for people to find a qualified Social Security Disability Lawyer for help.


If you are under age 50 and unable to perform any type of work, you might qualify for Social Security benefits. If you are age 50 – 64 and can no longer perform any of your past jobs, you might qualify for benefits. There are many factors Social Security considers when determining eligibility for SSD or SSI benefits. We are happy to discuss your situation with you.

You can apply for benefits at any Social Security local office. To find out which office is nearest, call (800) 772-1213. Some claims can be filed online by visiting During the COVID pandemic, start by calling. There is a very low chance of success at the Initial Claim and Reconsideration steps, but they are required.

If you live in Illinois, there is an Initial Claim application, a Reconsideration step, and then a Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. There are additional appeals to the Social Security Appeals Council and then to the Federal Court system. If you live in Missouri, the steps are the same except the Reconsideration level is skipped.

Social Security uses a 5-step process called Sequential Evaluation to determine eligibility for SSD and SSI benefits. In simple terms, it asks the five following questions: 1. Are you working? 2. What are the medical conditions which prevent you from working? 3. Does your condition meet a specific statutory provision? 4. Can you do any of your previous jobs? 5. Can you do any other job that exist in the economy?



The Initial Claim level typically takes 3-6 months. If the case is denied, the Reconsideration level takes another 2-4 months. The Hearing level usually lasts 12 months before a hearing is scheduled but it can sometimes take longer depending on the current backlog of case at a particular Hearing Office.

If you are turned down twice (Initially, and again on Reconsideration), you must file a “Request for Hearing” within 60 days. This step is the longest, but often it is where there is a much greater chance of getting your claim approved. The hearing is before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)—who will spend hours reviewing the evidence, hearing your testimony, and generally giving your case much more attention. This step can take a year or more, but with our help we can often make the wait worth it. 


The Social Security Claim process can be confusing and overwhelming. We can help simplify the process and be your guide during this difficult time in your life. Call us to discuss your situation. We look forward to hearing from you! 

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