The Role of an SSD Attorney
For the uninitiated, applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can seem like a daunting ordeal. After all, you are likely suffering a great deal of pain from your disability and anxiety about your ability to provide for yourself and your family while you are unable to work. Although you don’t have to hire an attorney to handle your claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA), doing so can greatly increase your chances of successfully obtaining benefits. What follows is an overview of all the ways the attorneys at our New York and Long Island Social Security disability law firm can help you during the claims process.
A Social Security Disability Law Firm with a Winning Record
The large majority of initial claims for Social Security Disability (SSD) are turned down. Turley Redmond & Rosasco has a high success rate because of our experience and approach:
- We are not a national practice, but a local New York and Long Island firm. Our attorneys meet with clients one-on-one in the office to understand their disability, their former work and their current restrictions to prepare clients for their hearings.
- Our cases are handled by real lawyers, not “advocates.” We have the medical knowledge and courtroom skills to cross-examine experts and persuade judges our clients truly deserve disability benefits.
- is recognized as a top SSD attorney who trains other disability lawyers. He has been named to the list of Super Lawyers in Social Security Disability law and is frequently quoted in newspapers and on television as an authority on disability issues. He has argued and won important disability cases in the highest federal court in New York. He currently teaches Social Security Disability law at St. John’s University Law School on Long Island in addition to his full-time work at the firm.
Developing Your Medical File
The SSA requires extensive supporting evidence of your disability, and each claimant is responsible for providing these documents to the SSA. You can increase your chances of success by providing timely, accurate, and complete documentation of your medical condition. Some of the documentation the SSA requires includes:
- Your birth certificate
- Proof of US citizenship or lawful alien status
- W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns for the previous year
- The Adult Disability Report containing documentation of:
- Your medical condition
- Your work history
- Your education and training
- The medicines you take
- Your previous medical treatment
- Medical evidence already in your possession (i.e. medical records, doctors’ reports, and recent test results)
- Evidence of any workers’ compensation benefits you may have received
Assembling such an extensive file can be difficult, particularly when the relevant documents are in multiple locations. An SSD attorney can locate and obtain all of the relevant information you need, often much easier and faster than you would be able to do yourself. Once the file is assembled, an attorney at our New York/Long Island Social Security disability law firm would extensively review it to determine the best path forward.
Arranging Additional Medical Examinations in New York
After reviewing your medical file, your attorney may determine that your record is incomplete. For example, you might have gaps in your treatment history or you are missing key test results that could help strengthen your claim. If that is the case, your attorney can arrange for you to undergo additional medical examinations to correct the deficiencies in your medical file. He or she can also obtain written medical opinions regarding your ability to work from your doctors to submit to the SSA.
Unlike Other Lawyers, Our Social Security Disability Law Firm Helps You Prepare Your Application
The process of applying for SSD benefits is fairly simple, but your attorney can still help you observe all the formalities and submit all necessary documents. However, the majority of initial SSDI applications are rejected. When that is the case, your attorney can help you prepare for the next level of appeal — a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Representing You at Your New York Hearing
If your initial application is denied, your attorney will prepare you for a hearing before an ALJ. This hearing gives you an opportunity to plead your case and convince the ALJ that you qualify for SSDI benefits. Before the hearing, the attorney from our Long Island and New York Social Security disability law firm will fully prepare you for what is likely to be in store, including preparing your answers to questions the ALJ might ask. Some of the most common questions ALJs ask in these hearings are:
- What symptoms are you experiencing?
- How do these symptoms affect your ability to work?
- Are you currently working?
- Are you seeing a doctor for your disability?
- When did you become unable to work?
- What treatments have you had?
- What medications are you on?
- Are you depressed, anxious, or suicidal?
- Do you have health insurance?
- How do you spend your days?
- Can you walk at least a block?
- Can you lift a gallon of milk?
- Can you climb a flight of stairs?
- Are there any things you enjoy doing that you can no longer do?
In preparation for your hearing, your attorney likely will create a “pre-hearing memo” to explain your case to the ALJ so that you will not be surprised at the hearing. Most experienced SSDI attorneys will have worked with the ALJs in your area and will be able to tailor your claim to your specific judge to maximize your chances of winning. For more information about preparing for an SSDI hearing, please contact our New York Social Security disability law firm.
Questioning the Vocational Expert at Your Hearing
During your hearing, the ALJ likely will call a vocational expert to testify as to his or her opinion about your ability to work. ALJs typically ask these experts hypothetical questions, such as “consider a person with a physical condition similar to this claimant who is able to carry 15 pounds and sit at a desk for at least four hours a day. What kinds of jobs could that person do?” The vocational expert would then give his or her opinion as to the types of jobs such a hypothetical person could do. The ALJ can either agree or disagree with the vocational expert on his or her assessment of your ability to work. However, your attorney will then have the opportunity to cross examine the vocational expert to try and reestablish the legitimacy of your claim. While you could do this yourself, SSDI attorneys have much more experience cross-examining vocational experts and know the right questions to ask to bolster your claim.
Appealing Your Case to the Social Security Appeals Council and Federal Court
If you disagree with the ALJ’s decision, you may appeal your case one step further to the Social Security Appeals Council. The Council may either decline to hear your appeal (in which case the ALJ’s decision becomes final) or affirm, modify, or reverse the ALJ’s decision. If the Council declines review or makes a decision that is adverse to you, your attorney can then file a civil action in the United States District Court, which has the power to affirm, modify, or reverse the decision of the Council.
Contact Our New York and Long Island Social Security Disability Law Firm to Start Your Claim
If you are ready to get started on the road to recovery by filing a claim for SSD benefits, please contact an experienced SSD attorney at the New York/Long Island Social Security disability law firm of Turley, Redmond and Rosasco by using our online form or calling 516-745-5666 (Garden City), 631-582-3700 (Ronkonkoma), or 631-399-0400 (Shirley).