Applying for Social Security Disability in NY

Social Security and “Disability SS” are terms we hear thrown around a lot but seem to have little more than a basic level of understanding in regards to what they are and what they do for people in our communities. Social Security is a program designed to utilize money people have paid into the program through their taxes to help offset the cost of living once someone retires and is no longer working. Social Security Disability does much the same thing but focuses on those who are unable to work due to a disability or a limitation that makes them unable to be gainfully employed any longer.


What are the eligibility requirements for disability benefits?

To be eligible for disability benefits, an individual must have worked long enough at jobs that were covered by Social Security and that they paid taxes on their paychecks with.  In most cases, it is a minimum of 10 years that is needed. Then, the individual must have at least one condition that satisfies the Social Security Department’s definition of disability. These can range from things like blindness, back injury, severe arthritis, severe depression, and more. In most cases, New York Social Security will pay monthly benefits to individuals who have a disability severe enough to keep them out of work for over a year or that is so severe it is expected to end in their death within a few years’ time frame. The disability must be so severe that they can no longer work and the determination for Disability SS will also consider things like age, education and experience to determine how easily they could find and hold a job similar to the jobs they had been doing previously.


Online Applications and In Person Applications

If you believe you meet the eligibility requirements needed to receive disability benefits there are two ways you can begin the process- online or in person applications.


Applying online for disability benefits offers several advantages:

  • You can begin the application process immediately and you do not have to wait for an appointment or a special time or place to file your claim.
  • You can apply anywhere that has a computer and internet access so you can do it where you are comfortable or have the support that you need.
  • You can save time and money by avoiding a trip to the SS office and the long waits and stress of waiting in lines.


The benefits of waiting for a face to face appointment with a Disability expert is:

  • You can enjoy a support system and you can get answers to any questions and clarifications when you need it without waiting for a call back or an email.
  • You can be sure you understand everything that is in the application and get clarification before proceeding and before finalizing your application.
  • You can take advantage of the resources available and can be sure you have done everything to the best of your ability when filing for disability.

Challenges Involved in Applying

  • Literacy problems
  • Access to computers
  • Non-English-speaking applicants
  • Few registered SS offices
  • Poor navigator/applicant ratios
  • Physical disability limitations
  • Poor judgment rulings
  • Insufficient funds to cover claims


Overcoming Problems During Application

There is much good that Social Security does and it is a vital part of our societal construct. People rely on that safety net to survive later in life.  Challenges exist in both the application and qualifying phase as well as in the very funding of the program. Much works needs to be done to restore SS and Disability and much work needs to be done to maintain these vital safety nets. Progress has been made as more and more people are becoming aware of it, but there is still much work that has to be done to make New York Social Security and disability applications and claims fair and easy once again.