Have you been injured at work? If so, you’re far from alone. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 2.6 million workplace injuries in 2021, nearly 5,200 of which were fatal. Falls, burns, electrocutions, and repetitive stress injuries are just a few of the ways people are injured on the job.
If you’ve had an accident that prevents you from working, Queens Social Security disability lawyers may be able to help you claim benefits. Unlike workers’ compensation, which covers workplace accidents only, the government offers these benefits for anyone who’s suffered a personal injury or a disabling illness/ disease, regardless of whether it happened at work.
That means if you’ve been injured on the job, had a car accident, disabled from a serious illness or slipped on an icy sidewalk and hurt your back, you could qualify for benefits. However, claiming Social Security disability benefits is complicated, and it’s common for Social Security to deny applicants the first time around.
Would you like to boost your chances of approval or find help for appealing a denial? Here’s what to know from our Social Security disability lawyers in Queens, NY.
The government offers two Social Security programs to people with disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Many people confuse the two because of similar-sounding names, but while both programs serve disabled people, they have a few differences to be aware of.
SSDI is akin to an insurance program for people who can no longer work because of a disability. Benefits are based on your work history, which means if you haven’t held a job for long, you might not qualify. If approved, the Social Security Administration pays a percentage of your average monthly earnings.
Work requirements vary depending on your age. We’ll outline these requirements here:
To qualify for SSDI, you must expect to be disabled for at least one year, and that disability must prevent you from doing any kind of work. If eligible, it takes about five months for benefits to kick in. When they do, the SSA could give you back payments dated up to 12 months from the time of your application.
SSI is a benefits program for people who are disabled, blind, and/or 65 or older. You must also have low income and limited resources to qualify. To be eligible, you can’t have more than $2,000 of cash, stocks, or property ($3,000 for couples). Income from retirement benefits, pensions, and unemployment benefits can lower your benefit amount.
The good news is that you don’t need to meet work history requirements, so this program is open to you even if you’ve never held a job before.
If you qualify, you can earn a maximum benefit of $914 per month for an individual or $1,372 for a couple. In 2024, those amounts increase to $943 and $1,415, respectively.
Disability criteria depend on the program for which you’re applying. If you want SSDI, you must have a health condition that prevents you from doing your current job or transitioning to a new job. The disability should last at least a year, so partial and short-term disabilities usually don’t count.
For SSI, your disability must make it impossible for you to do the work you did previously or transition to other work. This impairment must last at least 12 months or be expected to lead to death.
Many people forgo filing a Social Security disability claim because doing so feels too complicated. That sentiment isn’t exactly false. The claims process has quite a few steps, and it’s not always obvious what you must do next.
Here’s a condensed outline of what happens during the SSD claims process:
The SSA is known for denying disability claims, but why is this so? Below, an SSD lawyer in Queens, NY, explains.
The SSA has a list of conditions that qualify for benefits, such as cancer, mental health disorders, and serious digestive problems. However, your condition may not fit neatly into any of those boxes. If that’s the case for you, the SSA must decide whether your condition compares to those on its list.
If the SSA can’t find a comparable condition, it will likely deny you.
You can’t simply say you’re disabled and expect the SSA to pay benefits. It’s common for the SSA to deny people who don’t have a concrete diagnosis, lack solid treatment records, or don’t have notes from their doctors explaining their disability.
This is why you must include adequate evidence when applying. Ask your doctor for copies of your records, as well as a written statement detailing your condition and inability to work.
If you’re applying for SSI, you can’t have over a certain amount of income and assets ($2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for married couples). Few people meet this criteria, so the SSA often denies claims for this reason.
However, there are some exceptions to the resources you can own. They include your home, household goods, one vehicle, burial plots, wedding rings, and up to $100,000 in an ABLE account.
SSDI functions similarly to retirement benefits in that the amount you’re paid depends on how long you’ve worked. If you haven’t met the work requirements, as we outline above, the SSA will deny your claim.
Waiting for the SSA to make a decision can be frustrating. Many assume their application was lost, so they submit a second one in hopes of speeding things along. Some people submit another application after the SSA denies them, too.
If the SSA denied you, it’s better to file an appeal before submitting a new application. Attorneys from our Social Security disability law firm can help you do this.
Is the SSA making you jump through hoops for benefits? Are you still wondering, “Why does Social Security deny disability claims?” Let our Queens Social Security disability lawyers help.
Contact Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani at (718) 626-7730 for a free case evaluation now.