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Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

our practice


How does Social Security define disability?

Social Security defines disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” The disability may be, but does not have to be, permanent.

When can I file for Social Security benefits?

You can file for Social Security benefits any time, including as early as on the day that you become disabled if you believe that you will be out of work for one year or more.

Do I have to be permanently disabled to get Social Security disability benefits?

No. You only have to have been disabled for at least one year, or be expected to be disabled for at least one year or have a condition that can be expected to result in death within a year to qualify. You do not have to wait until it has been one year. You can apply and be approved if it looks like you will be disabled for at least one year.

How do representatives who help Social Security applicants get paid?

Cases are generally handled on a contingency basis. This means that the attorney receives a fee only if you win your case. Normally the fee is 25% of your back benefits and must be approved by Social Security. If you do not win your case, there is no fee. There are also occasionally costs in each case for which you will be responsible. You can find experienced legal help even if you do not have any money at this time.

If I am approved for Social Security disability benefits, how much will I receive?

For disability insurance benefits, it all depends upon how much you have worked and earned in the past. The average worker’s rate is between $1,000 and $1,100 per month. For disabled widow’s or widower’s benefits, it depends upon how much the late husband or wife worked and earned. For disabled adult child benefits, it all depends upon how much the parent worked and earned. For all types of SSI benefits, there is a base amount that an individual with no other income receives. Other income that an individual has (e.g. spouse’s income, rental income, etc.) reduces the amount of SSI which an individual can receive.

Types Of Benefits

Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Disability Widow/Widower Benefits (DWB)

Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB)

Childhood SSI (SSIC)

“A short note to say thank you for taking the extra time and efforts to follow through with Kyla’s case. After visiting you at your office, you gracefully followed through to correct the errors made….I thank you for your compassion.”
- Sharron,
“Thanks again for everything. I appreciate you that day in court when I was really nervous. You were more than a lawyer, you were like a friend. Thank you and God Bless. I wish you the best.”
- Lisa,
“I can’t begin to put into words how much it means to me today. Your kindness and understanding made me feel understood and respected. I don’t know how other lawyers would have been, but you were perfect for me. Thank you so very much.”
- Wayne,
“I recently had a favorable decision with my SSI case. It’s been a long, hard, discouraging road to get to this point. To be honest, I thought I never would. I was amazed at the amount of material you had to go over for just one case. I felt I was in good hands and I wasn’t wrong. Thank you again.”
- Lorne,
“We would like to say “thank you” for your professionalism in Michael’s case today. We truly appreciate the time that you dedicated in preparing for his hearing on this day. We, also, would like to thank you for your genuine kindness towards us during this sensitive and personal time.”
- Toni and Michael,

our team

Kelly McKenna Cournoyer, Esq.


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400 Westminster Street, Suite 53, Providence, Rhode Island 02903