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Understanding Social Security Disability

New York Social Security Disability Lawyers Who Fight for Compensation

Like most New Yorkers, you've probably been working hard your whole life but may be unaware that, with every paycheck, you paid a small amount into the Social Security Disability system, in the form of what is called a "FICA" contribution.

If you are now unable to work due to a medical condition, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). It’s like withdrawing some of the money you’ve been depositing into the SSD fund through all your working years. When you suffer a medical crisis, such as stroke, or sustain a severe and permanent injury such as a lost limb, SSD might be the only way you’ll be able to stay afloat financially.

However, the process to apply can be complex, and most initial claims are denied. Our experienced SSDI attorneys can help you move forward.

Who is eligible for SSDI?

If you've worked for 5 years out of the last decade, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits If you are under 31, the requirement is less.

To get SSDI benefits, you need to have a qualifying medical condition. This is an injury or illness that prevents you from working and is expected to last at least 12 months (or result in death). The Social Security Administration maintains a list of covered medical conditions, but ultimately, it’s all about whether you can work, not the specific medical diagnosis you have. Even if your medical condition isn’t on the list, you may still be able to qualify.

An SSD eligible disability can be based on a work related or non-work-related injury or illness, whether physical, emotional or a combination. The impairment must prevent the ability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA), and it must be verified by a physician who has provided treatment to the claimant during the period of disability.

How much does SSDI pay?

The amount you receive in SSDI benefits depends on the amount of income you have earned in jobs covered by Social Security. Your average earnings are called your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME); based on your AIME, the Social Security Administration calculates your monthly benefit, formally called your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). Your benefits may then be reduced if you are receiving certain other government benefits, such as workers’ compensation or state or federal retirement.

How to apply for SSDI

You can apply for SSDI benefits through the Social Security Administration. You can apply online, or call or visit a Social Security office to make an appointment. Either way, you will need to provide verification of your medical condition, your work history, and other documentation related to eligibility.

Unfortunately, many SSDI applications are denied. If your application is denied, there is an appeals process, but you need to hit tight deadlines throughout the process to protect your rights. This process includes:

  • Request for Reconsideration: A different SSA official will review your application and make a decision. You can also submit additional information for consideration.
  • Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ): If your application is denied again on reconsideration, you can request a hearing. During a hearing, you can make your case before an administrative law judge, who will make a decision based on the law and the facts you present.
  • Appeal to the Appeals Council: If the ALJ rules against you, you can request a review of their decision by the Appeals Council, which is the highest authority within the Social Security Administration itself. The Appeals Council can decide your case itself, or send it back to the ALJ for further consideration.
  • Appeal to Federal District Court: If the Appeals Council rules against you, then you can take your case to a U.S. District Court, where a federal judge can reverse the decision or send the case back to Social Security for further examination.

Again, there are tight deadlines at each stage, and if you miss a deadline, you have to start over. That’s why it’s critical that you have experienced legal representation throughout the process.

We Know Social Security Disability Law Inside and Out-Get a Tough NY SSD Lawyer In Your Corner

Regardless of a disabled New Yorker's eligibility, most SSD applications are rejected. For many of our clients, it was only when they got an experienced SSD attorney on their side that they were finally awarded SSD benefits. The Social Security Administration's regulations are complicated and applying for disability benefits can be extremely confusing and discouraging.

Call the New York Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today at (800) 692-3717 or contact us online for a free evaluation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain and we serve all five NYC boroughs, as well as Westchester and Long Island.