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How Disabled Do You Need to Be to Receive Social Security Benefits?

Video Transcript

Hi, everybody. I’m Troy Rosasco. I’m with Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco and I’m a New York social security disability attorney. I want to talk to you today about how disabled you have to be in order to get social security disability benefits. Well, the bottom line is, you don’t have to be an invalid. You don’t have to be out on a stretcher, you don’t have to be home, you know, racked in pain to get social security disability benefits. Let me give you an example. I handled a case early in my career probably at least 17 years ago. Gentleman was a butcher who’s over age 55. As a result of working as a butcher for 35 years, he developed trigger finger in his index finger. That was his sole disability, okay? But when you get trigger finger in your index finger on your dominant hand and you’re chopping that meat each and every day and you’re cutting that meat each and every day, you can’t do your old work.

Well in social security, it’s easier to win cases. Number one, the older you are, if you’re older than age 50, easier to win a case. Number two, if you have less education. This gentleman had been a butcher for 35 years, but he only had a high school education. He wasn’t trained to do anything else other than be a butcher. And number three, if your job is physical. When you have a physical job and you’re prevented from doing your past relevant work, you can’t go into an office. No one’s gonna hire you to start doing secretarial work or picking up phones. It’s just not realistic, okay? Social Security recognizes that.

And so here was a gentleman with nothing but a trigger finger problem, okay? And I was able to prove that because he could not do his past relevant work as a butcher, he had no transferable skills into other lines of work and they granted them social security disability. He had a great earnings record. He was a union man. He probably got well over $2,000 a month. His kids were over age 18, so his kids didn’t get some of the extra money he could have gotten had his kids been minors. But the bottom line is, at age 55, he started to collect social security benefits well before his normal retirement age, which would have been 65, okay?

Let’s take a different example now. Let’s take a secretary, okay? Let’s take a secretary who is 35 years old and is claiming disability because she has chronic fatigue syndrome, or she has fibromyalgia. Those are autoimmune disorders that can really be devastatingly disabling. That’s going to be a tougher case to prove. I’ll tell you why. Because number one, she’s young. There’s the perception that younger people can transfer into other jobs much more easily.
Secondly, she didn’t have a physical job, so she didn’t have to cut that meat every day. So that’s going to be a tougher case. I’m really gonna have to get a good report usually, in that type of case from a rheumatologist saying that not only can she not be a secretary, she can’t do any other work.

So that’s a general overview of some of the things I need to prove, depending upon your age, education, and work background to win a social security disability claim. Why am I telling you this? Why? Because I do this every day and I help people win social security disability every day. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call me. I’m Troy Rosasco. You can reach me at 1-877-NY-DBLAW. Thank you.

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