If you cannot work because of a permanent impairment, it can become almost impossible to make your ends meet. For many people, disability benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), offer a way to provide for their families even when they can no longer work and earn a living.
The process to claim disability in New York is not complicated, but it pays to plan in advance and understand when you need to call a lawyer for assistance before you apply.
For help understanding how to claim disability in New York, call Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., today at 631-600-0000.
What Information Do I Need to Claim Disability in New York?
While the most difficult part of getting disability is usually proving you are disabled, this is not the only qualification. You need to complete several forms and meet a number of other qualifications to receive benefits.
If you have not worked enough in the last decade to earn enough work credits for SSDI benefits, for example, your claim will receive a technical denial. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not look at your medical condition without proof that you meet all the technical criteria for the program. For this reason, it is important to review the qualifications and collect any documents you may need beforehand.
There are two ways you can meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled.” You must meet all the criteria outlined in one of their published impairment listings or qualify through a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. Both of these rely heavily on medical evidence from your doctor, including treatment notes, imaging scans, and other test results. For this reason, it is important to discuss your condition with your doctor and let them know you plan to claim disability.
How Do I File My Claim?
Once you feel prepared to file your claim, you have several options. Our attorneys can help you through this process. Local Social Security field offices accept disability applications and clear them for all technical issues. You can file your claim by calling your nearest field office or making an appointment to file in person. You can also apply online.
There are dozens of Social Security field offices in New York, so there is sure to be one near you. You can find the nearest field office online or by calling 800-772-1213 during regular business hours. An SSA representative can also set up an appointment to file your claim at your local field office from this number.
Once the field office reviews your claim and determines there is no reason to issue a technical denial, they forward it on to Disability Determination Services. There, a disability determination evaluator will review your application, request your medical records, and determine if you meet the medical criteria for disability. In most cases, you should hear back about your application within six to eight weeks. If not, we can help you check on the status of your claim.
What Happens If I Receive a Denial?
Unfortunately, many people who claim disability benefits receive a denial, either from the local Social Security field office or Disability Determination Services. When this happens, you will need to file an appeal. This is a good time to give us a call. Many applicants find it difficult to navigate this process without the help of a disability attorney.
We will need to act quickly to request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This is the first step in the appeals process. Before this hearing, we can review your application and identify any issues. We can also submit additional evidence, if necessary. We will have some time to handle this step, because the average wait time for an appeals hearing in New York is two years.
The hearing itself will take place in one of the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) locations in New York State. During the hearing, the judge may ask you questions and interview witnesses who support your claim.
Following the hearing, the ALJ issues a decision in writing. Often, we can get approval for our clients at this step in the appeals process. Many of those who come before an ALJ receive approvals.
When we receive approval, you will begin receiving monthly payments. You will also receive back pay for the period between your application and the time you received approval. If we do not receive approval from the ALJ, we can appeal to the Appeals Council or take your claim to federal U.S. district court.
How Can I Talk to a Disability Lawyer in New York?
At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., our disability attorneys are here to help you navigate the claims process. If you have questions about filing your claim or need help handling an appeal, call our team at 631-600-0000 to schedule a free consultation today.