Community Legal Information Clinic

The Disability Law Program

The Disability Law Department places focus on helping students and community members by providing legal information on how to file for disability benefits. We give legal information to individuals that need to appeal an application that was denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). We focus on both SSI and SSDI disability claims and can help with the interpretation of the material presented in the application process. We can answer simple questions that have to do with disability claims. Also, we provide information on the restrictions and the conditions that need to be meet under those disability claims.

There is also the possibility that a member of the Disability Law Department can advocate for a client in an Administrative Hearing; however, this depends on each individual case. Our services give us the opportunity to work with clients to ensure that they meet the requirements needed to ensure the highest possibility of winning a disability claim.

The Community Legal Information Clinic (CLIC) is an undergraduate law clinic comprised of paralegal interns only.  WE ARE NOT ATTTORNEYS AND CANNOT PROVIDE YOU LEGAL ADVICE NOR LEGAL REPRESENTATION.  We are paralegal interns and provide legal information only. 

10 Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can assistance be provided if I already have a lawyer?
No. CLIC cannot help individuals that already have lawyers. We cannot help those who are already receiving legal advice or representation from another party.

2. Will my information remain protected when receiving help from CLIC?
Definitely! CLIC holds a strict policy of confidentiality. All the information given to us will be managed solely by our staff and coordinated with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

3. What are the disability requirements needed to file for benefits?
There is quite a list of requirements needed to qualify for disability. These can be found in the Social Security Administration Website. Social Security will determine one to be disabled if they meet these along with other requirements:

  1. Social Security finds that you cannot do work that you did before.
  2. Social Security decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  3. Social Security finds that your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

More information can be found in the link below: in new window)

The section(s) that contain the medical evaluation of impairments can be found in the Social Security Website as well. in new window)

4. Can my child file for disability benefits despite being underaged?
Yes. Any child of any age can file for SSI disability benefits; however, they must meet the requirements needed to qualify for those benefits. These requirements are different compared to those applying as an adult. For a child to be eligible for SSI they must either be blind or disabled. The following link bellow provides more information. in new window)

5. How do I start an application for disability benefits?
Your options include applying by:
  1. Apply at in new window)
  2. By phone 1-800-772-1213
  3. Or you can go your nearest Social Security Office

6. How do I know whether to file an application for SSDI or SSI?
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that pays benefits to yourself and family members that fall under an “insured” status. This means if the individual has worked over a long period of time and recently enough, they can be covered.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program that pays benefits to an individual(s) that have very limited income and resources. 

7. How long will it take for my application to process?
Applying for disability benefits can be a lengthy process. Once you start your initial application it could last 60 days until a decision about your case is made; however, the exact time depends on how long it takes to get the applicant's medical records and other evidence needed to make a decision.

8. What can I do if my disability application is denied by Social Security?
If one’s disability application is denied they could request for an appeal in response of their case decision. This shifts from an initial application to a reconsideration. You will have 60 days to file for an appeal and you can file that appeal by using one of the following:

  1. Through the website in new window)
  2. By phone 1-800-772-1213
  3. Or contacting you Social Security Office.

9. Do you provide advocacy assistance when going to a hearing?
Yes, we do provide advocacy assistance. This depends on the individual’s disability case and the amount of time that is left until that individual’s hearing takes place. This is to ensure that enough evidence is gathered to maximize the client(s) success rate. 

10. Can I receive backpay if I were to receive your help?
Yes, backpay is given to those who are awarded disability benefits, and the amount is based on the initial date of the application or when the individual was first considered disabled; however, there are conditions that could affect the clients outcome when it comes to their backpay.

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) are used to provide quick accessible information to those who would like to know more about CLIC and about the application/rules for disability benefits. Everyone’s disability claims are unique; therefore, different results may be presented to anyone applying for disability. CLIC is not responsible for any decision that the individual takes while they apply for disability benefits; thus, it is encouraged that the individual pursue help from either our services or from some sort of attorney representation. If one decides to receive assistance from an attorney we will be unable to provide any legal information