When we talk about new or worsening disabilities it doesn’t take long for the subject of “filing for disability” to come up. And the myths about it are many. Among my friends and collaborators there are lots of stories of how we filed, the challenges we faced and our ultimate successes. To put together a real picture of disability law, I contacted David Lillesand, an attorney with extensive experience in this field. And I asked him to speak with me on my latest podcast.


Mr Lillesand shared his knowledge from years of work helping clients to understand their options and improve their probabilities of obtaining benefits.

He explained about the differences between private and government (Social Security) disability insurance. He also talked about the role of work history when seeking SSDI and how that compares with SSI benefits. And he explained how each plays into their related health insurance benefits.

Mr. Lillesand explained that individuals can file for disability on their own but often benefit from the help of an attorney if there are questions or denials.

He recommended that people file as soon as they find themselves unable to work. And we were reminded that having good work and medical records available is very important to successful filing!

Although we know that qualifying for benefits can be tricky, this discussion was a reminder that good programs are available and help to support many of us as we face new or worsening physical challenges.

This is Mr. Lillesand’s graphic of the 5 step evaluation process for filing a Social Security Disability claim: