Hugh D. Cox, Attorney in Greenville, NC, proudly representing the disabled for rightful veterans benefits, Social Security benefits and Workers Compensation.
        2411 B Charles Boulevard
       Greenville, North Carolina 27858
       Post Office Box 154
       Greenville, North Carolina 27835-0154
 Phone: (252) 757-3977
 Fax: (252) 757-3420
            North Carolina Bar Number 6567
           Department of Veterans Affairs Accreditation number  8925


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The information contained in this website is general legal information and not legal advice on any legal subject. It is no substitute for the services of a

competent professional attorney experienced in these matters. This information is subject to change at any time due to new legislation or new court cases.


 A Short Guide to Social Security Disability:
    (Scroll down for Valuable Information)

My Social Security Contract

Self-Reporting Forms to Help Prove Disability  (Adobe Acrobat PDF Format)

 Our Social Security system is the greatest of our governmental programs. It serves every citizen.

FREE copy of
William J. La Croix's Superb Social Security Guide
to all Social Security clients.

The information contained in this brochure is general legal information and not legal advice on the subject of Social Security disability. It is no substitute for the services of a professional attorney experienced in this field of law. This information is subject to change at any time due to new regulations or new court cases.
The National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives (NOSSCR) maintains an excellent website for valuable Social Security information at:

I personally represent my clients: I interview, prepare clients for testifying, write briefs and go to trial and hearings with clients. You need not worry that someone else will "handle" your case. I am your lawyer and will be with you at all times to represent you.

Why should I hire an attorney for my disability case?

There are many advantages in hiring an attorney experienced in Social Security law to represent you. Government statistics show that disabled people with attorney representation are more successful than those without. The ALJ’s are fair so an attorney is not absolutely essential. An attorney can give you the following crucial help:

n Gather medical evidence.

n Gather evidence such as work records.

n Obtain your SSA file and review it.

n Compare your SSA file to the regulations.

n Get your doctors to write letters to clearly show your disability.

n Review prior applications to see if they can be re-opened.

n Prepare you for testifying at your hearing.

n Question doctors or vocational experts at your hearing to help your case.

n Prepare a written brief of contentions proving your disability.

n Show good reasons why you may have been late in past appeals.

n Help you if you are a Hyatt claimant.

n Appeal your case if denied.

n Research using a specialized law library.

What is Social Security?

When you work for a living, your employer is required to withhold Social Security taxes (FICA) from your paycheck just as he withholds your federal and state taxes. These Social Security taxes pay for your insurance with the Social Security Administration and provide insurance coverage if you should become disabled before your retire. This federal insurance program continues your disability coverage for a period after you are disabled. When you apply for disability benefits, your Social Security taxes, age and the number of years of coverage determine the monthly amount you are paid for disability. If you are not insured, you are still eligible for another disability payment called Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This disability program is administered by the federal government and the Social Security Administration.

What is Disability?

The Social Security Administration has complex regulations to determine if you are eligible for disability insurance benefits (SSDI) or supplemental security Income (SSI). These benefits are paid to people not yet retired who have physical or mental health limitations which prevent any work in the national economy when your disability is expected to last for 12 months or more. The Social Security regulations take into consideration such additional factors as your age, education, past work and potential for obtaining a job. Disability means that you have a medical condition which prevents you from performing any full time competitive employment in the economy.

How do I apply for Social Security benefits?

Go to your Social Security Administration (SSA) local office and apply for benefits immediately if you believe you are disabled and will be so for 12 continuous months. After your medical records are reviewed, the local SSA office will send you a letter giving you a decision. Most people who apply are denied disability benefits at this initial stage of application.

How long will a decision take?

If your case requires a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, you may have to wait for a year or more for a favorable decision.

Should I appeal my initial denial?

Yes! Unfortunately, many people simply give up after an initial denial. The next stage of appeal is called "Reconsideration". You must request Reconsideration within 60 days after initial denial or your claim cannot be appealed without a good reason. Many people hire an experienced Social Security attorney after initial denial. Most people who apply for Reconsideration are also denied again.

Should I appeal my denial of Reconsideration?

Yes! Now you are getting close to your best chance of winning benefits. After Reconsideration denial, you must appeal within 60 days by requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ is an experienced United States judge who will allow you to testify at a private hearing. The ALJ is independent from the Social Security Administration. ALJ’s take great pride in their ability to evaluate your testimony and evidence and the ALJ will send you a written decision setting forth complete reasons for the decision. In short, ALJ’s review all cases carefully to insure that the social security regulations are applied fairly.

How can I find an attorney experienced in Social Security law?

Most attorneys do not practice social security law. The Yellow Pages identify attorneys by areas of practice. Look under "Social Security". Always inquire about an attorney’s experience in Social Security law when you make an appointment. Perhaps the best indication that an attorney is experienced in the area of Social Security law is his or her membership the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR). NOSSCR can be contacted in Washington, DC by telephoning 1-800-431-2804.

When should I see an attorney?

Immediately! Preparation of your claim for benefits can make the difference in winning or losing. Preparation takes time. The best time to hire an attorney is the earliest stage of denial - or even before you apply for Social Security benefits.

What does it cost to hire an attorney?

An attorney cannot charge a fee for representing a Social Security claimant unless approved by the SSA or ALJ. Fees are limited to 25% of past due benefits by SSA regulations - except in exceptional circumstances. Most attorneys charge a percentage or "contingency" fee of 25 percent because most disabled claimants cannot afford an attorney until benefits are awarded. A contingency fee means no attorney fee is owed if benefits are not awarded, however, most attorneys charge actual office expenses (such as doctor charges for medical records) even if the case is lost. The SSA withholds 25% of past due benefits for the attorney in disability cases. The claimant is expected to pay the attorney 25% directly for SSI benefits. After winning benefits, the attorney is not entitled to further fees for future benefits.

Can I ask for benefits before the date I applied for Social Security disability?

Yes! If you are still insured, you can ask for benefits up to 7 months before you applied for Social Security disability. If not insured, you can only obtain SSI benefits from the date of application. If you can prove disability back for several years, you may be able to prove that you were insured at the time of disability and be eligible for current insurance benefits.

Can I work and still be disabled?

Yes. The Social Security Administration looks carefully at your work to see if you engaged in an unsuccessful work attempt where your disability kept you from continuing to work. Part time work with accommodations to fit your restrictions is usually considered as disability.

What if I am in the Hyatt class of claimants

Then you may be eligible to have your case or cases re-opened from past claims which were denied if you met the Court criteria and dates. The Hyatt case is still ongoing so delays can be expected. If you think you may be eligible for Hyatt benefits, you should go immediately to your local Social Security Administration office to apply for Hyatt benefits. Then you should see an experienced Social Security attorney.