The Requirements for Obtaining Social Security Disability (SSD) Benefits in New York
If you have been severely injured or became gravely ill, Social Security Disability benefits (SSD) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a lifeline. The government program pays you benefits if a permanent disability renders you unable to earn income. The Social Security Administration (SSA) imposes strict criteria on SSD eligibility. A mistake on your application or confusion about the rules can result in a delay or denial of a valid claim. Fortunately, a knowledgeable social security attorney at our firm can assist.
Turley Redmond & Rosasco has nearly 30 years of experience helping people with disabilities recover benefits and damages for serious medical conditions. We conduct a full analysis of your situation to determine the full range of benefits you are eligible for and file successful applications for SSD, workers’ compensation or other programs.
Do You Have a Permanent Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines “disability” differently than other government programs. Therefore, you may meet the definition of disability under workers’ compensation laws or recover for a disability in a personal injury lawsuit and yet not be eligible for SSD. For the purposes of SSD, you are disabled if:
- You can no longer perform the work you did before your medical condition
- You cannot perform alternative work because of your medical condition
- The disability has lasted for at least one year, is expected to last at least one year or is expected to be terminal
How Your Income Affects Eligibility
The SSA disqualifies disability benefit applicants that earn to much income. The standard is very low, but increases incrementally annually. For example, in 2017, you would not qualify for SSD benefits if you earned more than $1,170 on average each month. In addition to job income, you must report income from other sources, including:
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Veterans benefits
- Unemployment compensation
- Disaster relief
- Alimony and child support
- Personal injury settlements
- New York disability benefits
- Rental income
- Stock dividends
- Assistance from loved ones
Severity of Your Medical Condition
Social Security disability benefits are only available to individuals with severe injuries or illnesses. To assess the severity of your medical condition, the SSA first determines whether it interferes with basic work-related tasks. Upon a finding that it does, the SSA checks whether your condition is included on its listing of impairments. Conditions on this list are automatically deemed disabilities. Conditions not on the list are subject to an independent review by the SSA to determine whether they are comparably severe.
Returning to Work
You may still qualify if your medical condition does not equal the severity of the listing of impairments. First, the SSA considers whether the condition interferes with job-related tasks. Next, the SSA assesses whether you could perform other work considering your education, experience, age, and transferable skillset.
Workers pay into the Social Security system with each paycheck. The SSA tracks your contributions through work credits. The number of credits you need and have earned depends upon your age when you acquired a disability and whether you have gaps in your work history.
Negotiating Settlements in New York City and Long Island with the Help of a Social Security Attorney
The insurance company “makes you an offer you can’t refuse” to “buy out” your long term disability claim or policy. Should you take it? Not until you speak with an experienced social security attorney.
When to Reject a Settlement Offer
Before you can evaluate any settlement, you first need to make an informed decision about whether you are first better off continuing to receive monthly benefits. Many group long-term disability policies are tied into continued receipt of health, pension, and stock benefits. Our office recently represented a woman who was disabled due to a traumatic brain injury. She worked as a top-level executive for a large consumer products company in the Mid-west. She was offered almost one million dollars to “buy out” all her future long-term disability benefits.
Unfortunately, the long-term disability carrier did not advise her that if she took the “buy out” she would be officially terminated from her company, and lose her most important benefit – her excellent non-contributory health insurance. When she inquired to the long-term disability carrier about potential impacts of the buy-out on other benefits, she was simply told “we don’t know, but you may want to call your s human resources department”. Based upon her life expectancy, economic situation, and medical needs, it was clear a “buy out” of her long-term disability benefits in her case would be foolish, and we advised her to decline the offer.
When to Take a Settlement Offer
In many cases, a negotiated “lump sum buy out” can be quite beneficial to the disabled individual and should be strongly considered. Nevertheless, before you can consider this option, you need to know how much money your case is worth versus how much the insurance company is willing to pay. Different insurance companies will pay different amounts based upon their own economic position and other market factors. Factors to consider in determining the value of your potential buy-out include your age, health, life expectancy, mortality, morbidity and a “present value” calculation, using the appropriate “discount rate”, of your future payments.
In addition, you may want to consider the inherent stress involved in having a disability insurance carrier constantly harassing you and your doctor if you continue to “stay on claim”. Finally, you may have an employment opportunity you want to consider, but want to “cash out” first. Whatever you’re individual situation, negotiating disability settlements is an “art” as opposed to a simple economic equation. Your attorney’s “relationships” with the large disability insurance companies count. However, your individual needs are always the most important factor and your social security attorney will only pursue what you feel comfortable with.
Recover Your Rightful Benefits With the Help of Turley Redmond & Rosasco
Do you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits? Turley Redmond & Rosasco will conduct a free claims assessment and help you recover the benefits you are entitled to. Contact us today for assistance. We serve clients in Shirley, Ronkonkoma, Garden City, and New York City.