Hi and welcome to HW!
Please don't feel like you are wrong to apply for SSD. An attorney will be your best resource, but please look for one with a very good reputation. As around in your community and I'm sure people will talk. This is how I found mine and she was wonderful. There are so many factors that determine whether or not you are awarded ssd and there is no way to know in advance.
I would try some serious medical intervention before I gave in to surgery (in hind sight) unless there are no other options. That's just my opinion, but then again I don't do too well with surgery and mine was a failure. Some people do wonderfully. I also use the RFA procedure now and it helps me tremendously. I still have to take the meds, but life is livable with the RFA and meds. Without them is horrible.
If you are ready to file for ssd, just go online and look at the ssd site. It's pretty easy to do online, but you need to have some medical documentation to support your claims. As far as the 1/3 for the attorney goes, that's up to $6000.00 total right now. I just won mine so I'm up to date as recently as a few months ago.
I wish you all the best!
Failed fusion L5-S1, Pituatary damage, HGH Def, Fibro, Bladder surgery failure, Nissen Failure, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CTS (Bilateral Surgery completed), CFS, TMJ, Migraines, Vit D, A, Magnesium deficiency, Pre-glaucomic (sp?), HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia, Edema, too many Drug/Food allergies, sensitivites, and current meds to list.