New York Social Security Disability Lawyers
A social security disability lawyer is often required to receive benefits in New York State. Just over a third of all applicants were successfully awarded disability benefits in 2010, according to the most recent statistics from the Social Security Administration.
The percentage of awards has declined 56.1 percent since 2000, with the vast majority of cases flat-out denied. A denial is not the end of the world, but the Congressional Budget Office says that only 3 to 13 percent of all appeals are reconsidered and subsequently awarded benefits. However, 80-90 percent of the cases that make it through the appeals process are represented by social security disability advocates.
Here at The Sanders Firm, we understand the amount of suffering and sacrifice that takes place while waiting for the bureaucracy to consider your claim. Our exclusive team of labor lawyers and disability advocates will do everything possible to help you get a favorable and expedited resolution.
New York Social security disability benefits defined
The Social Security Disability program is one of the largest Federal assistance programs in the country. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to individuals with physical or mental disabilities who have worked long enough to pay social security taxes.
SSDI only pays for full, long-term disability – not for partial disability or short-term disability. If you have become temporarily disabled due to accident or injury, you are expected to access other resources such as: worker’s compensation, insurance, investment money or your own personal savings.
The administration defines a “disability” as follows:
- You cannot do the work you did before you became disabled
- You cannot adjust to other work because of your current condition
- Your disability is expected to at least for at least one year or result in your death.
In addition to meeting the medical criteria, you must have also paid into the system. Generally speaking, you need 40 “work credits” (with 20 credits earned in the last 10 years) to gain benefits. A “work credit” is earned for every $1,200 of wages or self-employment income received, with a total of four credits allowed per year. So, after earning $4,800, you will have four credits for the year. A homemaker can sometimes earn disability benefits based on how much his or her spouse earned. This can be a confusing system, so it helps to speak with a knowledgeable social security disability attorney who can assess your case.
Compensation available for disabled New Yorkers
The amount of compensation a person receives depends upon how much he or she was earning while working. The average monthly disability payment was about $1,129, according to The Center for American Progress statistics as of March 2013. Male workers received $1,255, while female workers received $993 on average – with children of disabled workers receiving about $300 a month.
“Disability insurance benefits typically replace less than half of a disabled worker’s previous earnings,” they report. Yet, most beneficiaries depend solely upon the income they receive from disability insurance. Payouts for a third of recipients can be as low as $525 per month.
Disabled individuals can continue receiving benefits until they return to work or reach retirement age – at which point Social Security payments will kick in. You will be automatically enrolled in Medicare two years after you started receiving social security disability benefits.
Work incentives may also be available, including a trial work period of up to 9 months, during which you may earn as much as you can. If you are still disabled for three years after a successful trial work period, you will be able to receive a monthly benefit without a new application for any month your earnings drop below $500.
The social security disability process
Since the application process can take more than a year, the sooner you start the better. While it takes a long time to process, the good news is that approved beneficiaries can receive retroactive payments. In most cases, monthly benefits will start the sixth full month of your disability.
The social security disability benefits process occurs in stages:
- Stage One: An initial claim is filed with your local Social Security Office. Several months later, the case is usually denied and you receive a denial letter from your state office. At this point, you can give up, file a brand new social security claim, or appeal the denial within 60 days.
- Stage Two: Most people decide to appeal their decision by making a request for reconsideration within 60 days of the denial date stamped on the official denial letter. Several months later, you will probably receive a second denial letter. Now your options are to give up, file a brand new claim, or file another appeal.
- Stage Three: Next you must file a request for a hearing within 60 days of your last denial letter. You will then need to appear before an Administrative Law Judge who hears thousands of similar cases each year. The Huffington Post reports that it takes an average of 373 days – a little over a year – for the hearing process to commence! Eventually, you will receive a notice of hearing 20-30 days in advance. At this point, you should seek legal representation from a social security disability lawyer immediately if you haven’t already. These cases have a very good possibility of winning if the case is strong.
- Stage Four: After several weeks or months, the judge will issue a decision on your claim. If approved, you will receive a notice of decision from the judge and a notice of award from the social security office. You could receive several hundred or several thousand dollars in back pay depending on the “date of onset.” A good attorney will ensure you have the most favorable “date of onset” possible, given the medical evidence. If denied, you will receive an unfavorable notice of decision from the judge. From there, you may make one last plea to the Appeals Council, although very few cases pass this way. Usually a claimant will start over with a brand new claim at this point.
You can go through the whole process on your own, but a social security disability attorney will do everything possible to win a case. Legal representatives typically only receive compensation if you receive benefits. The legal fee is 25 percent of your back pay amount, with a minimum charge of $1,000 for the costs associated with obtaining the necessary medical records and testimonies. Yet, most cases will not win anything without a representative’s help.
A NY social security disability advocate will:
- Make sure all paperwork and claims are completed and mailed in
- Obtain a copy of your social security file
- Collect your most recent medical records
- Pursue physicians to complete medical statements
- Submit all paperwork to the judge
- Craft the argument that will be most persuasive in getting the claim approved
- Speak to the judge on your behalf, sharing all supporting evidence
- Cross-examining medical and vocational experts to build credibility for your case
- Provide emotional support every step of the way and answer all your questions
How the Sanders Firm can help with your social security disability lawsuit, appeal or claim
With over 45 years of experience in social security disability claims, The Sanders Firm is a group you can count on. We are well-staffed with a team of board-certified personal injury attorneys, disability experts, medical consultants, paralegals and support personnel. For your convenience, we have office locations in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island.
To begin the claim, we will need:
- Medical records, lab results, diagnostic test results
- Names and addresses of your doctors, therapists, clinics, hospitals and caseworkers
- A list of prescription medications you are taking
- The name and address of your pharmacy
- The name of a doctor who is willing to state that you are disabled
Call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY for a free consultation with a qualified social security disability lawyer.
- Huffington Post – Judges Sue Social Security Over Case Quotas http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/19/judges-social-security_n_3115363.html
- SSA – Outcomes of Applications for Disability Benefits http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2011/sect04.html#chart11
- Disabled World – New York Disability News http://www.disabled-world.com/news/america/newyork/
- SSA – What We Mean By Disability http://www.ssa.gov/dibplan/dqualify4.htm
- The American Center for Progress – The Facts On Social Security Disability http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/report/2013/05/30/64681/the-facts-on-social-security-disability-insurance-and-supplemental-security-income-for-workers-with-disabilities/