Kavanagh and Kavanagh, LLC specializes in the handling of Social Security Disability and Social Security Income claims. We will fight to get you the benefits you are entitled to. We handle all types of Social Security Disability cases, as well as Social Security Income cases. A Social Security Disability case is based upon whether you are disabled and have worked enough to be considered insured and entitled to Social Security benefits. Social Security Income is based upon disability and financial needs. Kavanagh & Kavanagh, LLC offers a FREE consultation for all Social Security inquiries.

How can a lawyer help you in receiving benefits?

A lawyer can help you prepare your case by establishing your disability through medical records and evidence, testimony and legal arguments. A lawyer also can help by having medical providers complete forms for the judge that will help prove your disability. A lawyer with experience will likely increase your chances of success at the hearing and will help avoid delays in getting to a hearing or receiving a decision following a hearing. A lawyer can also speed up the case in some of the most dire of circumstances. A lawyer can request a ‘Dire Need” hearing to help get to a hearing more quickly.

When should I hire a lawyer?

Most claimants seek legal representation once they are denied after their initial application. Once you receive your denial, contact a lawyer immediately, as the appeal must be filed within 60 days of receiving the decision.

How much will a lawyer cost?

A lawyer’s fee will be based upon winning your case. If you do not win, the lawyer will not get paid. There should be no up front money from you. If you are successful, the lawyer will receive 25% of your back benefits up to a maximum amount of $6,000. This fee is paid directly from the Social Security Administration.

How do I know which lawyer is right for me?

You should meet your lawyer in person prior to hiring and to retaining him or her. Since most claimants are depending on receiving the Social Security Income or Social Security Disability benefits. You should ask questions about experience and prior success rates. Experience is important to knowing which documents and testimony will be necessary to prove your claim before an Administrative Law Judge.

  • Blindness
  • Auditory impairments
  • Orthopedic injuries/impairments
  • Neurological disease and disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Mental Health issues
  • Rheumatic conditions
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Cardiac impairments
  • Learning disorders
  • Immune disorders
  • Cancer
  • Skin conditions
  • Hematological disorders
  • Renal impairments
  • Digestive impairments
  • Alcohol/Substance abuse

The Social Security Administration uses a Five Step procedure for evaluating whether you will be deemed disabled and entitled to benefits. You may be eligible for Social Security Disability if you have worked enough to be considered insured. In general, you must have worked 5 out of the last 10 years to be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. If you are not entitled to receive Social Security Disability benefits, you may be eligible to receive Supplemental Social Security Income benefits. This will consider whether you are disabled, along with your financial needs. In general, you cannot be working and cannot have any resources that exceed the amount of $2,000 for a single person and $3,000 for a married couple.

How will the judge determine whether I am disabled?

In determining whether you are disabled for the purpose of Social Security Disability or Social Security Income, the judge will use a five step process.

Step One:

The judge will ask whether you are engaged in substantial gainful activity. If you are, you cannot be disabled no matter what the level of disability. To reach substantial gainful activity, you will need to be doing significant physical and mental activities. Gainful work is done for work that is usually for pay or for profit. If you are not working or engaging in substantial gainful activity, you proceed to Step Two.

Step Two:

Is your impairment severe enough to prevent you from working? This Step will focus on your functional capacity for basic work related activities, such as sitting, walking, lifting, carrying and bending. If the answer to this is no, you are deemed “Not Disabled”, if the answer to this is yes, you proceed to Step Three.

Step Three:

This Step focuses on a “list” of impairments that are considered so severe that they would interfere with ones ability to work. One who meets one off the listing impairments is presumed incapable of work. You need to meet a listing impairment through the presentation of objective medical evidence, which is based on medical judgment given by a medical professional. Usually, a claimant who meets a listing is considered “Disabled”. If you do not qualify for disability under Step Three, you would proceed to Step Four.

Step Four:

This Step focuses on whether the claimant can do Past Relevant Work. Past Relevant Work is based upon the work you did in the 15 years before becoming disabled. This Step will also involve a medical assessment of your Functional Capacity, meaning whether you are capable of sedentary work, light duty work, medium work, or heavy work. The judge will determine, based on your medical functional capacity, whether you can physically perform any of your Past Relevant Work. If the answer to this is yes, you are deemed “Not Disabled”. If the answer to this is no, you proceed to Step Five.

Step Five:

This step focuses on whether you can perform any other job that is available within significant numbers in the national job market. This step will also focus on your functional capacity based on the medical evidence presented, as well as your educational background, age, and any skills acquired through training or your past relevant work experience. The judge will determine whether based on these factors and whether your skills are transferable, if there is any other work that is available in the national job market that you are capable of performing. If the answer is no, then you will be deemed “Disabled”.

Under the above analysis, you can win disability on Step Three or Step Five.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY benefits are based on how much you have earned and for how long you have worked and paid in to the Social Security Disability system. For an idea of what you might receive, please visit:

SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME is a fixed rate and may slightly vary depending on whether you are single or married. For 2015, the maximum monthly Social Security Income rate for an individual is $733.00, while it is $1,000 for an eligible married couple. In New Jersey, there are supplementary income benefits, which would increase those amounts to $764.25 for an individual and $1,125.36 for an eligible married couple. For more detail, visit

BACK PAYMENTS: In many cases, an individual who is entitled to Social Security Disability benefits or Social Security Income will be entitled to a lump sum for back payments. In almost all case, the judge will set the disability at a time before the actual hearing, in which case the individual will be entitled to the payments that have accrued during that period.

FAMILY BENEFITS: A spouse, a minor, or disabled dependent child may also be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits as an auxiliary. Following a successful hearing and a decision awarding benefits, the claimant will attend a meeting with a representative from the Social Security Administration to calculate which auxiliary benefits the family may be entitled to.

MEDICARE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY RECIPIENTS: Once you receive an award for Social Security disability, you will qualify for Medicare payments two years after you are deemed eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. A claimant who is awarded Social Security Disability will be given an onset date based on the review of medical evidence presented by the lawyer. The two years begins ticking from the onset date, not the date of the hearing. Usually, the onset date will predate the hearing and the Medicare benefits can be received soon after reaching a decision.

SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME RECIPIENTS WILL RECEIVE MEDICAID: Once you have received Social Security Disability Income, you should be approved for Medicaid coverage. Many times, an individual applying for Social Security Income, will have already applied and have been approved for Medicaid prior to even going to the hearing.

Am I too young to receive Social Security Disability or Social security Income benefits?

Although it becomes easier to receive Social Security Disability/Social Security Income after the age of 50, it is also possible to receive it well before that age if the disability or impairments are severe enough.

Can I work while receiving Social Security Disability benefits?

One can work as long as the work is not considered Substantial Gainful Activity, or “SGA”. SGA for the year 2015 is $1,090 and slightly changes each year.

How much will a lawyer charge me?

A lawyer can only be paid based on the back benefits after receiving a successful award of Social Security Disability or Social Security Income. A lawyer will get paid directly from the Administration out of your back benefits. The payment is 25% of your back benefits up to a cap of $6,000. A consultation at Kavanagh & Kavanagh, LLC is free.

Do I have to go to a hearing to be awarded Social Security Disability or Social Security Income?

While many cases are heard before an Administrative Law Judge, some cases are won on the initial application directly with the Administration or on a Request for Reconsideration if new evidence is presented to the Administration prior to being scheduled with an Administrative Law Judge.

How long will it take for me to get a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge?

Although the time it would take to be scheduled for a hearing after being denied by the Administration does vary, it is not uncommon for it to take approximately 12 months to be assigned a hearing date.

How will a lawyer help me win my case?

An experienced lawyer will know which objective medical evidence and legal arguments are necessary to establish your disability under the Social Security laws. A lawyer will also be able to collect the right medical records and medical reports and submit them to the judge prior to the hearing. In addition, there are forms that could be presented to medical providers that can be significantly helpful and prevail at the hearing. A lawyer will know which forms need to be submitted and help you with having your doctors complete the forms on your behalf.

What if I miss my appeal deadline?

If good cause is shown for missing the deadline, we can make the appeal anyway. If there is no good cause, you will have to refile a claim with the Administration.

  • “My experience with Brendan Kavanagh has been spectacular.  He has dedicated a lot of time towards all of my cases.  Mr. Kavanagh and his law firm have helped me receive the best results possible given the facts of my case.  I have hired Brendan Kavanagh a few times, and each time I was greatly satisfied with his work.  Also, his staff is very kind and always available to help.  Kavanagh & Kavanagh is just an all-around professional law practice.  If you are in need of a good lawyer that gets results, I strongly recommend you call Kavanagh & Kavanagh.  You will not be disappointed.”

    – C. Baxter
  • “Your firm is professional. Victoria Kavanagh did a great job. She did not leave any stone unturned and I am very pleased with the outcome of my case.”

    – Mr. S. Tomlinson
  • “I cannot rave enough about the Social Security Paralegal, Sandra. I was in a dire need situation and I was very happy to have won my Social Security Disability case the first time I went to court. I was very happy that Sandra was on top of everything the entire time she was handling my file. I could not have asked for a better outcome from Victoria Kavanagh. I definitely will recommend her to anyone in my situation.”

    – A. Velasquez
  • “I am writing this to let you know how pleased I am with Victoria Kavanagh’s handling of my case. She got positive results in a very short period of time, and cut all the leg work for me. If I hadn’t hired Victoria Kavanagh, I know that I would still be fighting for my disability. Victoria Kavanagh took a big load off of my mind. I would highly recommend you to anyone that has similar problems with Social Security.”

    – T. Britton