Welcome! This site is written for Social Security disability claimants, for their legal representatives, and for the network of people involved in the Social Security disability claim process. I hope you find it helpful.
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Gordon Gates specializes in Social Security disability law, and he handles claims at every level of the Social Security disability claim process. He assists clients with initial applications for disability benefits, with appeals of denied claims, and with hearings by an administrative law judge.

Gordon has successfully appealed unfavorable administrative law judge decisions the Social Security Appeals Council and to U.S. District Court (District of Maine) to have those claims remanded for new hearings.

Gordon attended Maine Maritime Academy and Tulane University Law School. At Tulane, he served as Senior Articles Editor of the Tulane Law Review and graduated magna cum laude. He was admitted to practice law in Maine in 1991. Since 2005, he has concentrated his law practice on Social Security disability and SSI cases.

Gordon is the publisher of Social Security Disability Lawyer, a nationally-read legal blog. He presented at the Fall 2010 conference of National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) on the topic of Writing Hearing Briefs for the ALJ.

If you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, your minor children are also awarded benefits. These benefits are in addition to your monthly disability payments, and are intended to help provide the necessities of life for your children. If you remain disabled, the children’s benefits will continue until their 18th birthday (a child still in

Those applying for Social Security disability benefits want to know when their claim will be decided. Since by definition a disabled person cannot work, the wait for a decision is a real struggle for most disability claimants. However, there are a couple of steps you can take to speed up the disability claim process.

First,

The things you tell your doctor about how you are doing (and what you are doing with your time) frequently end up in your medical progress notes. These progress notes provide your doctors with context and information about your condition.

Anyone applying for disability needs to know that those medical notes become part of the

I talk with many prospective disability clients who are clearly unable to perform their past relevant work. I spoke recently with a person who had been a welder for  years, but could not continue due vision and to degenerative back problems. He clearly is not going to be able to work as a welder, his

There are many benefits to being a Social Security disability lawyer. You are able to help people who really need the help, and it is very gratifying when a claimant receives disability benefits.

I received a Fully Favorable decision on a claim where, in addition to getting disability benefits for the client, I may have

Back in 2006 or so, the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals changed its name to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), as part of a reorganization at Social Security and new regulations. The name was widely panned at the time.

Now, a decade or so later, the Hearings office has been renamed the

Each year, the Social Security Administration releases statistics about the disability and SSI programs in an easy-to-understand format, called the “waterfall” chart. The waterfall chart shows the percentage of claims approved and denied at the various levels of review.

The chart shows what claimants can expect, statistically, for their claim for Social Security disability benefits. 

It is tax time, and each year I hear from clients who won their cases the previous year and are wondering about the tax consequences of their disability benefits. This topic is particularly important for those who received a significant payment of past-due benefits.

The answer is part of your disability benefits may be taxable.

I get calls and emails from people who are still working, but are struggling, and are considering Social Security disability.

Depending upon a person’s individual circumstances, this is typically what I say to those who are currently working, but are exploring the disability process:

It is hard to plan for disability. First, there is no