FAQs About Social Security Disability Claims In New York State
BMCQ Law is dedicated to personalized, individual attention and your unique situation will make a big difference in your individual case. The following questions are some of the ones we’ve gotten the most over the years:
What are SSD and SSI?
There are two types of Social Security Disability programs. The first is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for a person who is disabled but has not worked enough to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. An SSI recipient will also have low income and may be aged or blind.
Social Security Disability (SSD), on the other hand, is for those who are disabled and have worked and put enough money into the Social Security system to qualify. To be eligible for SSD, you must have worked for five years within the 10-year period before you were disabled. Your disability or disabilities must meet the Social Security Administration’s definitions and must prevent you from working as you did before, either at your previous occupation or at another suitable one.
Do I need to have been injured at work to be eligible for Social Security Disability?
No, a work-related condition is not one of the requirements for receiving Social Security Disability benefits. At BMCQ Law, we do represent many SSD clients who have been injured at work and are eligible for workers’ compensation, but whose disability is sufficiently long term as a result of that injury — having lasted more than a year — to make them eligible for SSD as well as workers’ compensation.
If I think I have a Social Security Disability claim, what do I need to do?
The first step is to file a claim with the Social Security Administration by filling out an application either online or in person at a Social Security Administration office. This claim will be either denied or accepted after a process that may take several months. Our SSD law firm strongly urges people who plan to file a claim to get free legal advice before filing. However, we can also help you if you filed on your own and were denied.
Should I get an attorney if my Social Security Disability claim is denied?
If your SSD claim is denied, a hearing can be requested. It is a good idea to get legal representation for the hearing process. According to figures released by Andy Slaughter, the shadow legal aid minister, of the 25,500 incapacity benefit cases in 2009-2010, some 60% of people without legal representation lost, compared with just 33% of those who had lawyers. A 2011 American Bar Association (ABA) survey found that 75% of lawyers believe that people who represent themselves are more likely to lose their cases. With a 50% better chance of winning with an attorney, it makes sense to have legal representation in SSD cases.
How is the attorney compensated?
Attorney’s fees are contingent fees, meaning they are conditioned upon your being successful in your case. If you are successful, back benefits will be owed to you. The Social Security Administration will automatically take out 25% of that amount and send it to the attorney to cover the legal fee, while the other 75% is sent to you. It is a one-time fee, for back benefits only.