1. Typically, the attorney's fee is taken out of your backpay and equals 25% or $6,000, whichever is less. You will sign a fee contract with the attorney that will be sent to the social security administration along with appointment forms.
2. It is not uncommon to be denied at the first and second stage of the process. In fact, approximately 65-70% are denied at the first step and an even higher percentage at the second. It is important to continue to build your case and lay a good foundation in preparation for the hearing stage where you will actually be seen and heard by a judge.
3. I'm pretty sure you are not being denied based on government funds, but rather based on the medical evidence or lack thereof in your file. The judge at the hearing phase is not bound by the previous denials and will be looking at everything including your testimony when making his decision.
Best of luck.
The information provided in this answer is not, and should not be taken as legal advice, but rather basic information for viewers to use at their own risk. By submitting this information, no attorney-client relationship has been created.
A few things to think about in addition to the answers you've already been given. Going to lots of different doctors is not the best approach to either your healthcare or your disability application. What you need is a physician (internist or family medicine) who will look at all of your issues together and recommend to you how to treat them. Then you need to follow his or her recommendations.
It's possible that there is work you could still do and if so, that would be better than going on disability at your young age. Have you tried your state's Vocational Rehabilitation Office? In Oregon, anyone can access their services for free and find out if there is work they can still do. If your pain or the medication you are on makes it impossible for you to do any work on a full-time basis -- and if your doctor supports that -- you can still obtain disability benefits even though you are young.
Best to retain one of the above social security lawyers, or Avvo has a terrific "find a lawyer" tool to find a top-rated Avvo attorney with a low contingency fee. Good luck.
Licensed & have offices in PA & NJ ONLY. (Philadelphia, PA & Marlton, NJ)
As the other attorneys mentioned, attorney fees are paid from an award for back payments. Most of us offer free consultations.
Your age is a factor considered in your denial. To be found to be disabled under SSA, you must not be able to do any work on a full time basis. Given your age, it is unlikely you've earned money to qualify for SSDI (insurance benefits based on your work history). Given your age, you'd have had to earn 6 credits in the three year period before the onset of your disability. Because your disability started before you were 22, you may be eligible for benefits under a parent's earnings if didn't earn more than $1000 (or so) a month for a consistent period before you became disabled.
The disability standards haven't changed much, despite the economic woes of the federal government and SSA in particular.
If you do consult with an attorney, bring your paperwork and any medical records and income statements you have so they can help you decide whether to proceed to a hearing.
Good luck to you.
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice. It is merely intended to provide general information to aid the poster in finding answers to the problem posed. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. In most cases, it is best to contact an attorney directly to find answers to your problems.
The underlying question here is "what are you trying to achieve?" Medical care? Money? The ability to return to fulltime work? Retraining? Education? Other? Social Security benefits may or may not be the best bang for your buck depending on your goals and purpose. The question may not be "why did SS deny me" but instead, "what programs and remedies exist that can help me live a better life?" If you know what you want, an attorney can help guide you through your rights and possible remedies.