If your disability is expected to last at least one year or result in death, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Working closely with an attorney who will explain your rights and options can help you make decisions that are in your best interests. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation and case evaluation with an experienced attorney.
Helping Clients Get the Disability Benefits They Deserve
In order to get Social Security disability benefits, you will need to prove not only that you are disabled from working, but also that you fit into one of the categories of people who are eligible for either Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Attorney Dennis Berkowsky can guide you through this complex process. Below is some general information about the Social Security disability system. To discuss your case with an experienced Long Island disability benefits lawyer, call us at 516-432-4416 or e-mail us today.
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If you need help filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits, we can prepare your application. If you have filed a claim and your application has been rejected, we can appeal the decision. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced SSD lawyer, contact us today.
From our convenient office location in Long Beach — across the street from the Long Island Rail Road terminal — attorney Dennis Berkowsky serves clients throughout Long Island. As a local law firm, we are able to provide personal attention to our clients, one client at a time.
The Decision and Appeal
The Social Security Disability benefits application and appeals process can seem daunting. The more you know, however, the better your chance of presenting your application in the best light possible. If you receive a negative decision, you have several opportunities to appeal it. Speak with an attorney from Law Office of Dennis S. Berkowsky in Long Beach, NY, to learn your options and plan your strategy.
The Initial Application
The Social Security Administration's process for the initial determination of disability may take three to five months and occasionally longer. Following the receipt of your application for disability benefits, a Social Security representative will review the information you have provided. If the representative is satisfied that the application meets certain basic criteria (like a long enough work history), the representative will forward the application and evidentiary materials to the state Disability Determination Services, which is charged with deciding whether you have a disability that qualifies under Social Security Administration standards.
The state agency may seek more evidence to further develop your file. State agencies employ doctors and disability specialists to review medical records and collect additional information from treating doctors, clinics and hospitals. The agency may also send you to your doctor or a new doctor for an examination.
The Standards Used to Determine "Disability"
The Social Security Administration uses a five-step evaluation process to determine if you are disabled according to its standards and definitions. According to the Social Security Administration's Web site, it looks at these factors:
- If you are working. Generally, if you earn more than a specified amount of money, you will be found not disabled. This amount increases slightly each year. If you are not working or make less that the threshold amount, the state agency will analyze your medical condition at step two.
- If your medical condition is severe enough to render you disabled. Your ability to perform even basic work tasks must be significantly limited by your medical condition for at least one year. If the condition is not found to be severe, you will not be found to be disabled. If the impairment or combination of impairments is severe enough, the agency will proceed to step three.
- If your condition on the List of Impairments. Conditions that are on the List of Impairments are considered so severe that a person with one of them is automatically found to be disabled. If your condition is on the list, or if it is not on the list but equals the severity of the listed impairments, you will be found disabled. If not, the agency will continue to step four.
- If the disability leaves you unable to do the work you did before. If you can still do your previous work, you will be found not to be disabled. If you cannot return to that type of work, the agency will consider step five.
- If you can do another kind of work. For this analysis, the agency will examine your age, education, past work experience, job-related skills and medical condition to see whether you could adjust to different work. If you can do other work, you will not be considered disabled. If you cannot adjust to new work, you will be considered disabled.
These rules vary for blind applicants.
You will receive a letter that accepts or rejects your application. If you have been found eligible for benefits, the letter will include information on the payments you will receive. If you are found ineligible, you may appeal the adverse decision.
You have the right to appeal the decision on your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. If your appeal is denied at one step, you may move on to the next.
- First, ask for a reconsideration. A person who has never seen your file will look at all the evidence, including any new information. Under a pilot program in some states, including Missouri, the reconsideration step has been eliminated.
- Next, request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). You may be asked to provide more information. The ALJ will question you and your witnesses, if you have any.
- You may then request a review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council. The Social Security Appeals Council may grant or deny your request. If it grants your request, it will either review your case or send it to an ALJ for review.
- Finally, you may petition for review by the federal court. If you receive another adverse decision or the Appeals Council decides not to grant your request, you may file a lawsuit in federal court.
You have a limited time in which to file each appeal. An attorney who knows Social Security Disability law can be of great assistance during the appeals process.
Speak with an Attorney
Moving through the Social Security Disability application and appeals process can be time consuming and complicated. An experienced attorney from Law Office of Dennis S. Berkowsky in Long Beach, NY, can answer your Social Security Disability benefits questions and help you with the qualification process.
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