About Social Security Disability Insurance

New York Social Security Attorneys Offer Helpful Insight

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is a United States federal insurance program that provides financial support to those who cannot be gainfully employed due to a physical or mental disability. To obtain benefits under this payroll-tax funded program, an applicant must meet certain work and disability requirements. Applying for disability benefits may be the furthest thing from a healthy worker's mind, but it is something one should consider. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has this to say regarding disabilities in America:

Disability is something most people do not like to think about. But the chances that you will become disabled probably are greater than you realize. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 3 in 10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age.

Napoli Shkolnik PLLC represents disabled workers and their families across New York and the entire U.S. from our headquarters in New York City and additional office locations in seven states. Our lawyers can handle every step of the Social Security Disability claims process including filing initial SSDI applications, filing requests for reconsideration if claims are denied and representing our clients at SSA hearings and appeals to help them seek the benefits to which they are entitled.

Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits

Eligibility for disability benefits is determined based off two key requirements: work and disability.

To meet work requirements, an applicant must have worked long enough and recently enough. Work credits are earned based on an applicant's yearly wages or income if self-employed. The amount of money needed to earn one credit will vary from year to year. In 2012, one work credit equals $1,130 in wages or income. An applicant can earn no more than four credits in one year. The number of work credits an SSDI applicant must have earned to be eligible for benefits will vary depending on his or her age. The general requirement is 40 credits, 20 of which have been earned in the last 10 years. Younger workers may qualify with far fewer work credits, depending on their age.

To meet disability requirements, an applicant must meet the SSA's definition of "disabled." When the SSA receives an application for disability benefits, it will first review the claim to determine whether the applicant meets work and other requirements. If the worker meets those requirements, the SSA will send the application to the appropriate Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in the applicant's state. This state agency will review all medical records and information to determine whether the applicant is disabled, based on five key qualifiers:

  • The applicant must not be working or must not be earning more than a certain amount of money.
  • The applicant must have a severe medical condition that is serious enough to render him or her unable to work, and this condition must have lasted or must be expected to last at least 12 months or must be expected to result in the worker's death.
  • The applicant must have a medical condition on the List of Impairments or must have a condition equivalent to one of the disabilities on the list.
  • The applicant must be unable to perform the same work he or she once performed.
  • The applicant must not be able to perform any other type of work.

There are some exceptions, so it is important to talk to your lawyer about your particular mental or physical condition and whether it may qualify as a disability.

Social Security Disability Help in New York

Social Security Disability benefits are provided to a worker for the entire time that he or she is disabled. This money can make all the difference for a disabled worker. Unfortunately, the process of filing for a claim is complicated and many applications are denied. Our firm is dedicated to helping clients across New York seek disability benefits. To learn more, contact Napoli Shkolnik and schedule a free case review.