Richard I. Feingold & Associates, P.C.

Richard I. Feingold & Associates, P.C. is an Uptown law firm specializing in helping those suffering from chronic illness, sickness, or accidents qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Recently, Uptown United spoke with Rich about the challenges of navigating disability law, his work educating clients about their rights, and the need for supporting those with disabilities.

An attorney since 1986 and in Uptown since 2006, Rich works to lessen his clients’ pain and suffering caused by their circumstances. Qualifying for benefits is a stringent, multi-step process where numerous criteria need to be met, including work, medical and vocational factors – all of which vary depending on the circumstances. Navigating the qualifying process and the different disability programs is complicated and Rich stresses that it helps to secure representation early. Even though some may be hesitant to hire an attorney, clients don’t need to be denied before being seen by his firm. More importantly, clients don’t need to pay up front.

However, the process is like an uphill battle and can be especially taxing for those who already have physical or mental challenges. Many, he says, give up after being denied their benefits – without realizing that numerous appeal options may be available. Thus, educating people about their options and how the process works is a key piece of Rich’s practice and he manages a frequently updated blog on the firm’s website where he answers questions and misconceptions about disability law.

But for most, disability benefits is not a familiar subject and many are unaware that there may be federal benefits available to them – especially for those under full retirement age. That’s because disability is different from retirement benefits, meaning that one doesn’t necessarily have to be of a certain age.

Overall, Rich is an advocate for protecting and expanding disability benefits, because he feels it’s important to have more tolerance for people with disabilities, and to have means to get people back to work and more programs to help those who – for whatever reason – can’t work.

Aside from his blog, Rich performs in-service talks on topics related to disability law to local social service agencies, such as Uptown’s Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, plus doctors and organizations. He was also recently interviewed for the magazine of the Spondylitis Association of America, an organization for those with spondyloarthritis, a group of rheumatic diseases that can make it impossible to work. An avid transit user, having his office in the landmark Broadway Bank building lets him commute to work by Divvy bikes. Some of his favorite Uptown restaurants include Fiesta Mexicana, Hopleaf, and Taste of Lebanon.