Social Security Disability Lawyer in Queens
Social Security Disability benefits are a crucial lifeline for many New Yorkers. If you are disabled, disability benefits could make it easier to pay for groceries, rent, and other necessities. The process of applying for benefits is often more complex than it has to be. If you are confused by this process—or if your claim has already been denied—a Social Security Disability lawyer in Queens, NY can help.
Call Shulman & Hill at 917.793.0642 to receive your free consultation today.
What Is Social Security Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of disability benefits. Each is designed with different qualifications to help people in need by providing monthly financial assistance. While most people only qualify for one type of benefit, some can receive both. An attorney from Shulman & HIll can tell you for certain which benefits you should apply to receive.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI is for people who have worked and paid into Social Security for at least ten years. After making these payments, they can qualify for SSDI if they:
- Suddenly develop a permanent or long-term disability (e.g., through a workplace accident)
- Are diagnosed with a terminal or serious illness (e.g., cancer or AIDS)
- Have a chronic condition that has gotten bad enough to prevent them from earning a living (e.g., arthritis or severe back pain)
Temporary or short-lived conditions, like a mild concussion, are not enough to qualify you for SSDI. Your condition must prevent you from working for at least a year or result in your death, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Unlike SSDI, SSI does not require applicants to have any kind of employment history. The only requirements, per the SSA, focus on:
- Income level: Whether or not you work, you must have very limited income and other financial resources.
- Disability: Again, “disability” in this case means a condition that will affect you for at least a year and/or end your life.
- Age: If you are not disabled, you can still apply if you are over the age of 65.
For both SSDI and SSI, an applicant may also receive benefits if they are the spouse or child of someone who qualifies, even if the spouse or child themselves would not qualify on their own.
What Is the Disability Application Process?
The application process may differ slightly, depending on which type of benefit you are seeking. For instance, SSDI requires different forms of proof than SSI.
In general, the process may go like this:
- Contact the SSA by phone or fill out an application online
- Send in all requested documentation
- Wait for the SSA to process your request and determine your eligibility
- Begin receiving benefits (if your claim is approved)
- Begin the appeals process (if your claim is denied)
Evidence Required for a Disability Application
To prove you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, you may have to send in some or all of the following:
- A complete work history, including statements from recent employers
- Recent tax filings
- Proof of disability, including a diagnosis and a statement from a doctor
- Information about other benefits, like military benefits, you receive
- Proof of citizenship
SSI applicants may have to send in documents like:
- Tax filings, to show that your income is low enough to qualify you for benefits
- Proof of disability (if applicable)
- Proof of citizenship
A lawyer from our team can review your case, determine what evidence you may need, and help you acquire that evidence for your case file.
Do I Have a Disability?
The SSA’s definition of “disability” is stricter than the everyday use of the word. As previously mentioned, a condition only counts as a disability for their purposes if it is fatal and/or expected to last for at least a year.
The SSA’s Blue Book contains a list of the conditions that they consider “disabling,” including:
- Many kinds of cancer
- Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and HIV/AIDS
- Serious burns
- Mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
- Heart conditions, such as a transplant or chronic heart failure
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of sight
- Respiratory issues, such as asthma or cystic fibrosis
- Congenital conditions, such as Down syndrome
- Blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia or thrombosis
In addition to having one or more of these conditions, you must meet the SSA’s income requirements. If you suffered a catastrophic injury (e.g., paralysis) but are still able to make a good living, it could affect the benefits you receive.
If your condition is not in the Blue Book but meets the other criteria (i.e., it will keep you from working for more than a year), you could still receive benefits. Our lawyers would be happy to sit down with you, review the evidence about your condition, and determine whether you are eligible for benefits.
What if They Deny My Disability Application?
Denials are, unfortunately, a common occurrence for Social Security Disability applicants. One of our Social Security Disability lawyers can help by:
Determining the Cause of the Denial
Sometimes, a case is denied for something as simple as a missing piece of evidence or a lost form. If this is what happened to you, we can work with the SSA to make sure they get what they need to make a fair determination.
If the SSA genuinely believes you do not have a disability or that you do not have an appropriate work history, fixing this issue may be harder. We are not afraid of tough cases and can work through whatever problems the SSA finds with your case file, no matter how long it takes.
Requesting a Reconsideration
You have sixty days from the date of the denial to register your dissatisfaction with the SSA’s decision. If you miss this deadline, you may have to start the application process over again, so be sure to tell us as soon as you receive a denial.
A reconsideration involves asking the SSA to assign someone new to review your application. For the reconsideration, you may include additional documentation that addresses the reasons for the initial denial. The new reviewer of the application would:
- Go over your application as if it had been submitted for the first time.
- Not be prejudiced by prior conclusions, as they have never seen your case file before.
- Render an independent decision that may or may not be different from the original. In other words, they can deny or accept your application at their discretion.
Requesting a Hearing
If the new reviewer for the reconsideration still denies you benefits, we can request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This stage would involve:
- Meeting with an ALJ, either in person or via video conference
- Speaking directly to the ALJ about your case, including how your disability affects your life and why we believe you qualify for benefits
- And again, you may provide any additional evidence the ALJ believes may help your case
Requesting a Review
If your case is denied yet again after a hearing with the ALJ, we can ask for a review by the Social Security’s Appeals Council. This panel of judges will decide what to do with your case. They may:
- Order your case back to a new Administrative Law Judge
- Go over your case themselves
- Uphold the previous denials and decide not to take action
How Long Does It Take to Get Disability Benefits?
The disability benefits application process can be very long. How long it takes to get your benefits depends on:
- Whether your claim is accepted right away or denied
- Whether you miss any deadlines or follow their instructions correctly
- How many stages of appeal you have to go through
However, there are ways to expedite the hearing process, especially if your condition is severe or urgent. Our team can fight to get you a decision as quickly as possible. We can also:
- Provide you with updates throughout the process so you are not left in the dark
- Advise you on ways to shorten the process
- Answer all of your questions about the application or appeals process—just knowing more about your situation can make things seem less confusing or bleak
- Work within all rules and deadlines set by the SSA so your case is not delayed on a technicality
With Shulman & Hill by your side, you could be confident that your case is being handled by legal professionals who care deeply about your well-being. We take every case personally and are eager to help you pursue the Social Security Disability benefits you need.
Need Social Security Disability Help? Call Us Today
You do not have to struggle through the Social Security Disability application alone. To find out how Social Security Disability lawyer from Shulman & Hill in Queens, NY, can help with your case, call 917.793.0642. Receive a free case review when they call our office.
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