Applying for Benefits?

If you are unable to work due to physical or mental disability you may qualify for Social Security disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the Social Security Administration’s disability programs. If you have applied or are considering applying, or have been denied and wish to appeal, you can contact The Hawkins Center at 510-232-6611 or by email  to discuss your disability claim. We represent clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area at all stages of the claims process.

What Is Disability?

Social Security’s rules and regulations are detailed and complicated. Proving that you are disabled requires medical evidence of your disabling condition(s) and information about how your disability affects your ability to work. To be considered “disabled” by Social Security, you must:

  • Not be able to do the work that you’ve done before;
  • Not be able to perform or adjust to other work because of your disabling condition(s); and
  • Have physical or mental health conditions that have been or are expected to be disabling for at least one year or are expected to result in death.

"The Social Security lawyer I worked with was insightful and informational. She told me what rights I have and the more I spoke to her the more she helped me understand that I don’t have to suffer. I realized I don’t have to do it on my own."

Representation on Your Application

The Hawkins Center provides assistance and representation to individuals at all stages of the application process. Whether you have already filed an application or are just getting ready to file, we can help you. We provide free consultations, by phone and in person. We will discuss with you  your specific situation, explain how we can help, and if you choose to have us represent you we will assist you throughout the appeal process, including filing appeals if necessary.

Application Process

Applying for SSDI or SSI benefits begins with completing an application. You can begin this process by contacting Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (1-800-SSA-1213) or by going to a local Social Security office. You may also file an SSDI application (but not an SSI application) online at

After the application is filed, you will need to complete additional forms asking you for information about your medical treatment, your disability and your daily activities. Social Security will order your medical records, possibly send you to a doctor for a consultative evaluation, and make a decision if you qualify for SSDI or SSI disability benefits. Your local Social Security office will send you a letter notifying you of the decision.

The disability determination process is slow – it can take several months before you receive a decision. If you are denied and have to appeal – which most people do –  it will take many more months.  Out of frustration and a lack of understanding of the complicated process Social Security uses in deciding claims, many people give up when they are denied. However if your disability prevents you from working, you have the right to appeal and we encourage you to do so. We are happy to discuss your case with you to help you understand whether filing an appeal is right for you.

Contact Us

If you have a disability which prevents you from working at your past job or from working regularly and are interested in representation The Hawkins Center is here to help.