Thanks for the response Jim1969 and straydog. I will attempt to address both of your replies in this note.
The very first time I applied for SSDI was in 2003 and I was denied soon after. I didn't apply again until this year 2012. I am a disabled Veteran, 80% since 2010, but was 50% in 2005. Due to left knee surgery that I received while in army. Was medically discharged due to severity of knee. The firm I have seems fine, but so far I haven't been given any real information to say that I will win my case, but because they took on my case I am hopeful. Since I applied in 2003, I am assuming that application won't count, and many of the ailments I had back then were upgraded. For instance, I was first initially diagnosed with low back strain, now med records state "Herniated Disc once diagnosed as low back pain". I do have a herniated disc and when my back goes out it is so very painful and takes several days before I can walk again. I know I'm digressing, so I will move on. I had a second surgery on my left knee in 2009 to trim the ACL because it was causing my knee to lock. It is now 2012 almost 2013 and I still have episodes of knee locking, my right knee has done it twice but shows no ACL tear.
Both of my claims were denied, the one from 2003 and the one in 2012. That's when I sought help through a firm. I haven't asked my doctors for any particular help. I just keep detailed medical records of all my ailments, doctors notes and even my c-file from military. I did look in SSA's blue book listing for adults - part a, and yes, almost everything I have is listed.
Jim1969, I hate to hear that you have two! herniated discs. I can't imagine having more than one I have and it makes me miserable. Diabetes runs rampant in my family, but I've dodged the bullet so far and I hope I never get the disease.
Susie, I appreciate your response and hope I've addressed your questions. I haven't been told any odds of getting approved from the firm I chose, but communication is good, and from what I can tell, they are waiting for me to get a letter (award or denial) from SSA then go from there. Its one of those firms that don't get paid unless you are approved. So hopefully things will go my way. Also waiting for decision from VA on 100% decision.