Who Qualifies for Disability Compensation in New York?

woman with bandaged arm signing a documentWhen an injury impacts your ability to earn a living and support your family, the physical, emotional, and financial fallout can be overwhelming. Whether you were hurt on the job or outside of work, the disability lawyers at Nappa, Monterosso & Poznansky, LLP, provide the compassionate legal support you need. We can evaluate your case and help you understand your options. Our practice areas include helping clients obtain benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance or workers’ compensation in New York.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

If someone is unable to work due to a debilitating illness or disability, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides financial assistance. The State of New York also offers cash assistance under its Disability Benefits Law (DBL), but it is a short-term program with different requirements than federal SSDI.

Eligibility Requirements for Disability Benefits

The qualification process for disability compensation is complex. There are specific non-medical and medical requirements that applicants must meet to qualify and receive benefits. You must meet the definition of disabled as outlined in the Social Security Act, which states that a disability is “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of medically determinable physical or mental impairment.”

Non-Medical Requirements for Disability Benefits

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have paid into Social Security and worked a certain number of years. Each year you work and pay taxes, you earn a number of credits. Generally, you need at least 20 work credits to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Work credits do expire, but in some cases, it may be possible to prove you were disabled before your date last insured (DLI).

Your medical condition must prevent you from working for at least 12 months, and there is a monthly income limit to qualify for SSDI. The Social Security Administration will ask you for information about your age, marital status, immigration status, and whether you have dependent children.

Qualifying Medical Conditions for Disability Benefits

Qualifying conditions for disability benefits include:

  • Cancer, including lymphoma, lung cancer, and many other types of cancer.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders, such as amputation, severe burns, immobility, and injuries to the skeletal spine.
  • Special senses and speech disabilities, such as loss of hearing or vision.
  • Respiratory disorders, such as pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, and asthma.
  • Cardiovascular impairments such as chronic heart failure and disorders of the veins or arteries.
  • Digestive disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), gastrointestinal hemorrhages, and hepatic dysfunction.
  • Genitourinary disorders that cause chronic kidney disease, such as diabetic nephropathy and nephrotic syndrome due to glomerular dysfunction.
  • Hematological disorders, such as hemolytic anemia, thrombosis and hemostasis, and bone marrow disorders.
  • Skin disorders, such as ichthyosis, bullous diseases, dermatitis, chronic infections of the skin or mucous, genetic photosensitivity disorders, and burns.
  • Endocrine disorders stemming from hormonal imbalances caused by the dysfunction of the pancreas or pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, or adrenal glands. These may include diabetes, hypothyroidism, and other endocrine disorders.
  • Mosaic Down Syndrome and other congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems.
  • Neurological conditions, such as epilepsy and other neurological disorders that limit physical and mental functioning.
  • Mental disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, autism, and other psychological conditions.
  • Immune system disorders, including HIV, lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, and other immune function or autoimmune disorders.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of injuries and conditions that may qualify you for SSDI benefits. A disability lawyer can review your medical records and evaluate your case to determine whether you have an illness or impairment that may qualify.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

If you’re considering filing for disability benefits through the federal government or the State of New York, it’s important to seek the counsel of an experienced disability lawyer. The process often can take more than a year, and understaffing at the SSA, delayed access to medical records, or failure of applicants to provide the required information can slow it down even more. Many of these claims are denied on the first go-around.

An experienced disability attorney can help ensure you include all relevant information and submit your application promptly. If your SSDI claim has already been denied, a disability lawyer can help you appeal the decision. Our disability lawyers offer free case evaluations and work on contingency, so you have nothing to lose by seeking the counsel of an experienced attorney.

Contact a Greater NYC Disability Lawyer

If you or a loved one needs assistance with a disability claim or appeal, our team at Nappa, Monterosso & Poznansky, LLP, can help. For more than 30 years, our disability lawyers have helped clients in Staten Island and the Greater New York City area obtain the benefits they need. Attorney and partner Rolando Cubela is proud to assist our Spanish-speaking clients. Call us at 718-273-9000 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.

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