Serving injured workers

In Albany Since 1925

Guide To The SSDI Claims Process

Our Guide To Social Security Disability Claims

If you are injured or become ill or sick on the job or experience an event that makes it impossible to work, you will still need to pay bills, buy groceries, pay rent or the mortgage. While it should be easy to file and receive the monetary assistance you need, it, unfortunately, is not. Here is where Social Security Disability (SSD) (also called Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI) can help.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal disease, you have our heartfelt sympathy. At Buckley, Mendleson, Criscione, and Quinn, P.C., it has always been our goal to treat you, as our client, with the compassion you deserve.

Our mission is to ease your burden. We will take on your case and relieve you of having to understand all the bureaucratic processes and legalese involved in applying for the benefits you or your loved one earned through a lifetime of work. On this page, we’ve done our best to make the SSD terms and process understandable for everyone and to not use “legalese” whenever possible.

We’ve created this guide to answer the most common questions people have about getting SSD benefits, but we are available to help at any time. Call 518-430-0026 and speak to a member of our team. Your phone call, email or any visits with us about your SSD case are always free of charge, so reach out to us.

What Are Automatic Qualifications For Disability?

There are some diseases and illnesses that need urgent attention. You only have to show proof that you have the disease in order to obtain SSD. The Compassionate Allowances List includes pancreatic, liver and small cell lung cancer as well as stage IV and inflammatory breast and other cancers. You are automatically eligible for SSD if you are diagnosed with leukemia, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) or early onset Alzheimer’s disease. If you have been diagnosed with any of the diseases on the Compassionate Allowances List you should be able to get a decision on your claim – in some cases within a month of submitting your application.

The Listing of Impairments manual is used by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The impairments on this list are the ones that qualify you or your loved one for disability benefits. You only need to show your medical records to be eligible. If you have had an organ transplant (kidney, liver, heart, lung) or cochlear implant, you likely qualify. Your application will be reviewed at the end of a year or at the end of three years for lung transplants. Make sure you have all of your medical records. The more detailed the records you provide the stronger your case and the easier it will be to determine your benefits during the claims process.

Can You Lose Disability Benefits?

It is rare for SSD benefits to be taken away because someone’s condition improved. However, there are instances where you may become ineligible for SSD benefits. You could lose your benefits for the following reasons.

Changes in assets or income. If you have a marked increase in income, for example, if you work too many hours, even if those hours aren’t paid, or your spouse receives an increase in income, your SSD can be reduced. If you are working as part of a return-to-work plan then this should not affect your SSD payments. For children who receive SSD, a portion of the parent’s income is used to determine the benefit amount. If your living situation includes free rent and food, this can affect the amount you receive. Likewise, if you inherit significant property, such as a house or another valuable asset, this could affect your SSD payments.

When you retire your SSD will stop and will convert to retirement benefits and likely will stay the same. When you die, your benefits stop. Your family members may be able to get survivor’s benefits.

If the Social Security Administration (SSA) says that your claim was not true or fraudulent in any way (if you were inaccurate as to how much money you earned, or if you have a job, or if you exaggerate the extent of your injury or severity of your disease), you will not get benefits anymore. You could also be charged with a crime. If you go to prison, your benefits will stop one month after your sentence begins.

How Much Do You Get For SSD In New York State?

You will get a monthly payment that is based on your lifetime earnings before your disability started. The average amount people receive is about $1,250 per month. The minimum is around $800 and the maximum amount per month was $3,011 in 2020. The formula used to figure out how much you will get each month is based on your age, the number of years you’ve worked and when you would normally retire. More answers to questions are available on our FAQ page.

SSD gives you money if you worked but aren’t able to do so anymore. You can get this benefit if your injury or disease will keep you from working for a year or more. You can get Medicare after you’ve gotten SSD for two years or more. If you want to see what you’ve earned, go online and check your annual Social Security Statement at

How Do They Determine How Much SSD I Will Get?

To figure out your SSD payments, you first need to figure out your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). This is used to then figure out the primary insurance amount (PIA).

Basically, the amount you will get paid each month on SSD is based on the income you earned and paid Social Security taxes on. This income is called “covered earnings.” The average amount you earned over the course of 35 years (usually your highest earnings) up until you turn 60 is your AIME. The SSD formula takes your income, adjusts for inflation and uses the highest 35 years of indexed earnings to figure out the monthly average. An attorney who works in SSD can explain in greater detail how this will apply to your specific situation.

How Often Is My SSD Reviewed?

Typically every three years your SSD benefits will undergo a Continuing Disability Review by the SSA.

Get A Free Question And Answer Session With A New York SSD Attorney

You most likely have more questions about your own situation that have not been answered on this guide. At Buckley, Mendleson, Criscione, and Quinn, P.C., we offer a free question and answer session with one of our SSD attorneys. We want you to understand your rights, know your options and find out how we may be able to help. Over the course of our nearly 100 years of service, we have helped many people get the answers and resolution they need. Call 518-430-0026 and set up an appointment. You can also send us a firm email and we will be in touch with you.