I would say if you are considering applying for SSD, do it locally. You need to apply at your local social security office and work your way through the process. Sometimes it takes years and some get it in a few months, depending on the local backlog in your area. When you get to a point where you need to decide on getting a lawyer or not, the SSD office can give you a list of lawyers that are approved by SSD, so that the lawyer can not take more than the allowed amount for his fee.
If you get denied keep appealing the decision and filling out the paperwork. If you quit when denied then later reapply you lose more of your back money. Local is aways the best way to ensure you don't get cheated or taken advantage of by some unknown party.
I'm new here, but I've applied for disability due to fibro and I was denied SSI due to my husband making too much money and I'm waiting for their answer on my SSD. I've been unable to work since July 11, 2013 due to the pain and I've missed a lot of work since last year when the pain first started. I'm hoping I get help, but if I get denied I know we have a lot of local attorneys who help people who've been denied for SSD and they only charge a fee if you get paid.
My brother in law actually has gotten disability for fibro. I didn't know men could get it, did you? They recently reviewed his case though and took some of his money and drugs away. Not sure what that is all about---do they make periodic reviews? He's pretty young too, maybe fifty.
I was rejected on Christmas eve day. Who says they don't have a heart? I repealed and have been waiting ever since. If they reject me again, before I am eighty, I will get a lawyer. I guess it is not uncommon and they don't make it easy!
They don't make it easy for a reason, and that is there are a lot of people that try to cheat the system. Some people think living for a hand-out is a good life, so even thou they could work they don't want too. That leaves a shorter supply of money for those that truely need it. Also many people do not have enough work credits built up to even qualify for SSD. You can check that by getting a copy of your SS work record history. It says how many work credits you have. In those cases if your income is low you might qualifty for SSI instead.
Differences are that SSD is your money paided into the system. If you start working again some might have to be paid back. In SSI, all is usually paided back when you pass on from your insurance policies. Also with SSI if you start getting it keep some in the bank, as they sometimes make mistakes and give you too much and then out of the blue request it back. This happened to someone I knew in Florida.
They often do checks to make sure you are still disabled and unable to work. If you start working and earn over a certain amount they will reduce the amount of SSD or SSI you get, or may stop it all together.