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Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability

New York SSD Attorneys

If you can’t work because of an illness or injury, you may be able to pursue benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security disability (SSD) benefits are available to anyone who meets the requirements for paying into the Social Security system and who cannot work for at least one year because of physical or mental injury or illness.

While unfortunate, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies many valid claims. To maximize your chances of an approval of your application in a timely manner, it is important to choose an experienced lawyer to represent you.

At Pyrros & Serres LLP, our lawyers understand the anxiety that comes when you can’t work or provide for your family because of an injury or illness.

Our firm handles all matters related to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. After evaluating the details of your situation, we gather, review and preserve all evidence to support your application for benefits. Our office will prepare and file your application for benefits, along with all relevant documentation. We will also represent you at all administrative hearings and appeals before the Appeals Council (AC).

Our lawyers handle Social Security disability claims involving injuries and illnesses of every kind, such as:

  • Injuries suffered in an accident, including paralysis, back injury, amputation or loss of limb, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord trauma
  • Mental disorders, such as PTSD, depression or schizophrenia
  • Repetitive stress or motion injuries
  • Illness or disease, including cancer, diabetes, heart failure or disease, stroke, muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis

Types of SSD Claims

Under federal law, if you have an injury or illness that prevents you from working for at least twelve months, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Your injury does not need to be work-related. In fact, workplace injuries are covered by workers’ compensation insurance and Social Security. Social Security Disability claims encompass a wide range of non-work-related conditions; however, the process of obtaining benefits can be difficult.

Eligibility for SSD Benefits

Under Title 11 of Social Security regulations, benefits are available only to those individuals who have paid into the Social Security system and earned the requiredcredits. In addition, you must have a medical impairment that falls within the Social Security Administrations definition of disability. To be eligible for benefits, you must demonstrate to the SSA that your physical or mental impairment will last at least 12 months or is expected to result in death.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If you do not meet the earnings requirement for Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income may be an option. SSI is a federal program based on financial need, which has the same standard of disability as SSD. Once your disability has been determined under the Social Security regulations, the Social Security Administration will evaluate your income and resources in determining eligibility.

New York Social Security Disability Lawyer

Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is often a challenging process, and the relatively low approval rates are especially difficult for those dealing with health issues and the inability to work. With the help of a Social Security Disability attorney, you can bypass many of the technical mistakes that often result in the denial of benefits.

If you already submitted an application and received a denial response, a Social Security Disability law firm can guide you through the appeal process and help you build a stronger case. No law requires you to hire representation, but most Social Security attorneys work on contingency, requiring no upfront financial investment from you to get started on your case. You can get professional legal help at no risk.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?

The Social Security Administration offers several programs to assist individuals with disabilities and seniors financially. The two most common are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

With a qualifying disability and an adequate work history, a person with a disability can receive SSDI benefits. However, many people find it necessary to consult a Social Security Disability lawyer even when they meet all the requirements for approval.

Collecting the evidence to support your case can prove challenging, but an attorney can save valuable time by ensuring you have every required document the first time around.

Differences Between SSDI and SSI

Before you decide to apply for one or the other, you would benefit from reaching out to a New York Social Security Disability lawyer to help you understand the differences between the SSDI and Supplemental Security Income programs. You may qualify for one more than the other.

Some notable differences between SSDI and SSI include:

  • Eligibility. SSI is for seniors and individuals of any age with blindness or disability who have low income. SSDI is for anyone with a qualifying disability and sufficient work credits.
  • The average amount of benefits. The average for SSI is $624 monthly. SSDI averages $1,223 monthly.
  • The maximum monthly amount available. SSI available for singles is $841 and $1,261 for couples. The SSDI available is $3,345 for individuals depending on qualifying work credits. 

Upon approval, anyone receiving SSI or SSDI benefits may also receive medicare healthcare coverage in most states. However, SSDI beneficiaries, who receive Medicare, must wait 24 months for coverage unless they have a condition that qualifies them for immediate coverage. With the help of a Social Security Disability attorney, you can evaluate the circumstances of your disability and work background to determine which program better suits your qualifications.

What Are the Requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance?

When you speak to a Social Security Disability lawyer about applying for SSDI, the first element to assess is whether you meet the requirements for eligibility.

Those requirements are specific to work credit and medical disability.

Work Credit Requirements

Work credit refers to the work history during which you paid Social Security taxes, also known as FICA taxes. In New York, you can earn as many as four credits annually and qualify for SSDI.

To apply for SSDI, the general expectation for your work credits looks something like the following:

  • You received at least 20 work credits.
  • At least half of your 20 work credits must come from the last 10 years of employment.
  • You obtain one work credit for roughly every $1,500 you earn.

Keep in mind the credit requirements vary depending on age. Younger applicants can qualify with fewer credits than older applicants. The general idea is the more years you have of working age, the more credit you should have.

Additionally, you may qualify for a work credit exemption under certain circumstances. For example, an individual under the age of 22 may be exempt based on a lack of legal working years. Speak with a Social Security Disability attorney or contact the SSA to see if you held a position that has unique rules for work credits.

Medical Requirements

To receive SSDI benefits, you must prove that your condition sufficiently meets the New York standard for disability. According to the Social Security Act, a disabled person is somewhat unable to participate in any gainful activity sufficient enough to maintain a reasonable income.

Additionally, you must prove that your disability dates back a minimum of five months before you can receive benefits. Speak to a New York social security disability lawyer about your condition to see if it falls under the SSA’s list of conditions that qualify for SSDI.

What Conditions Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance?

One of the first questions a Social Security Disability attorney will ask is about your medical condition. The SSA keeps a list of qualifying conditions, and if yours is on that list, you may likely meet the medical requirements for SSDI.

The qualifying conditions include:

  • Disorders affecting the immune system. This includes any condition that affects your body’s ability to produce antibodies, as is often the case with autoimmune diseases.
  • Cancer. The list of qualifying cancers is long, but some common examples include lung cancer, skin cancer, leukemia, brain cancer, and more.
  • Mental disorders. This can include intellectual and psychological disorders, such as depression, autism, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and several personality disorders.
  • Impairments affecting mobility. Examples include musculoskeletal impairments, such as amputation or significant burns.
  • Neurological and neurocognitive disorders. Neurological disorders include any condition affecting physical functioning, such as epilepsy. Neurocognitive disorders include impairment of mental function, as seen in disorders such as schizophrenia or any psychotic impairment.
  • Sensory disabilities. This refers to individuals suffering from hearing or vision loss. Speech disabilities may also qualify.
  • Congenital disorders. These often form before birth. For example, Down syndrome is a congenital disorder.
  • Respiratory disorders. The most common respiratory disorders are asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis.
  • Disorders affecting hormonal balance. Examples include endocrine disorders involving the thyroid, adrenal, or pancreatic glands.
  • Heart conditions. Anyone with cardiovascular illnesses or injuries, such as chronic heart failure or vein and artery obstruction, qualifies.
  • Hereditary or pathological skin disorders. Your skin condition must cause chronic infections or blistering.
  • Gastrointestinal diseases. This includes anything causing significant disruption to the digestive system, such as inflammatory bowel syndrome, hemorrhaging, malnutrition, or hepatic dysfunction.
  • Benign hematological disorders. Any non-cancerous diseases disrupting white and red blood cells, such as hemolytic anemias and hemostasis, can qualify.
  • Chronic kidney disease. If you have any genitourinary disorder, speak with a New York Social Security Disability lawyer about your medical history to see if you qualify.

The SSA provides a much more thorough breakdown of what qualifies as a disabling condition. Additionally, the administration evaluates every case individually. Therefore, speak to a Social Security Disability lawyer before you decide for yourself whether or not you meet the medical requirements.

What Do You Need to Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance?

When you fill out an application for SSDI benefits, you must provide a significant amount of information to prove your claim. Prepare to provide personal and work history information and the necessary documents to support that information. During this part of the process, many people receive an immediate denial for failing to provide everything required for the application. If you want to submit your application or appeal with certainty that you included everything, contact a New York Social Security Disability lawyer for help completing the paperwork.

Your Personal Information

You can find a checklist of the required information on the SSA website, but to help you get started, consider this list of personal data required on your application:

  • Your birth information, including date and place of birth
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your current or former spouse’s birth and Social Security information
  • Dates pertaining to marriage, dissolution of marriage, or death of a spouse
  • Names and birthdates of any minor children
  • Your banking information

Additionally, you must provide information regarding your medical condition, including the name and contact information of anyone who can attest to your medical condition and help you complete the application. Of course, you will also need to provide specific details about your diagnosis and treatment. Include the following information:

  • Names and contact information for doctors that treated you
  • Addresses and phone numbers for hospitals and clinics where you received treatment
  • Your patient ID numbers provided during treatment
  • A list of medications your require
  • A list of medical tests you needed for diagnosis

Be sure to include the names and contact information of the doctors that prescribed your medications and ordered any diagnostic testing. If you work with a Social Security Disability lawyer, they will collect and organize all of this information for you.

Your Work Information

You will also need to provide extensive information about your work history. Your Social Security Disability attorney will ask about the following:

  • How much money have you earned in the most recent years
  • The name and addresses of your most recent employers
  • The last five positions you held going back as far as 15 years before you were unable to work
  • Active military experience before 1968
  • Information about any other benefits you filed for in the past or intend to file for in the future, including workers compensation, federal employee retirement benefits, or black lung benefits

Your transparency during this process is critical. If you have questions about your work history and how it may affect your eligibility, talk to an attorney before you file. A simple mistake can immediately deny a valid claim and leave you without benefits while you navigate the appeals process.

Necessary Documents

The SSA accepts only original copies of your proof of birth, such as your birth certificate, and your proof of citizenship, such as your passport. In addition, lawful residents must provide proof of their U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services status. The SSA will return all official documents to you.

Additionally, you must provide photocopies of the following:

  • W-2 forms for your previous employment
  • Tax returns if your income came from self-employment
  • Medical records showing reports from doctors and lists of medications and diagnostic testing
  • Proof of any benefits you received in the past, including workers’ compensation or settlement agreements

One benefit of hiring a New York Social Security Disability lawyer is knowing they will walk you through the documents you need and help you obtain them.

What Can a Social Security Disability Lawyer Do for You?

Receiving a denial for Social Security Disability insurance can be devastating, especially when you suffer from an injury or illness that hinders your ability to earn an income. However, try not to lose hope.

Here are some ways that a Social Security Disability attorney can help you whether this is your first time applying or you just received a denial:

  • Conduct a thorough review of your case. At any point in the application process, an attorney will go over the details of your case and assess what steps you need to take next.
  • Gather the evidence you need to support your claim. A SSDI application requires extensive medical evidence. An attorney experienced in disability knows what you need and will collect it for you.
  • Review your application to ensure you complete everything. Incomplete applications are a common cause for denials. An experienced SSDI attorney handles these applications regularly and will thoroughly review yours to help you avoid rejection.
  • Represent you in communications with the SSA. Communicating with the SSA can be stressful and tedious, but an attorney will handle that aspect of the process for you.
  • Start the appeal process if you receive a denial response. The SSA denies a significant number of SSDI applications, but an appeal process is in place. Many valid claims receive approval on appeal, especially if they have legal representation.
  • Act as your legal representation in hearings. If you receive a denial response and file an appeal, your attorney can step in for you during a Social Security Disability hearing with an administrative law judge or other panel. 

Preparation for application, appeal, and a disability hearing is often stressful. At the law offices of Pyrros & Serres, LLP, we can offer invaluable experience and expertise in Social Security Disability cases in ManhattanBrooklynQueensBronx, Staten Island, and surrounding areas.

Our attorneys will help you pursue your claim with persistence. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and charge nothing to listen to your situation. We also have workers’ compensation lawyers and other personal injury experts.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a Social Security Disability attorney and find out how we can help you.

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Attorney
Michael C. Pyrros received his bachelor’s degree from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1985.
Attorney
Michael Serres is a 1989 graduate of St. John’s University School of Law. Mr. Serres was admitted to practice law in New York.
Attorney
Nicholas Rupwani has been practicing workers’ compensation law since August 2004.