If you’ve been injured in an accident or become disabled in Queens and you need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, the last thing on your mind is finding the right lawyer. You need assistance, and you need it right away.
The Queens disability attorneys of Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. have been helping Queens residents get the support they need for their disability claims for over four decades. Call Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. today at 516-496-0400 to see how they can put their expertise to work for you.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Social Security Disability Claim?
If you are injured and unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. There are many restrictions and legal loopholes that need to be managed before you receive your benefits, and this is why having a knowledgeable attorney at your side is key. A lawyer with experience in disability matters can help you navigate the complex legal requirements associated with applying for Social Security benefits can help you get the compensation you deserve with less hassle and in less time.
Why Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C.?
Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. has been assisting Queens residents with Social Security Disability Insurance claims for over 40 years. We have the knowledge and experience to help you apply for benefits and to appeal any denial of your claim.
The leader of our team, Victor Fusco, is the former President of the New York Social Security Bar Association and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, and Milan Rada was a former Attorney-Advisor at the Social Security Hearing Office. Our team has spent years helping social security claimants get their benefits, and we can help you do the same.
Defining a Disability
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that awards insurance benefits to people who are injured or disabled and unable to work. The benefits are paid from the Social Security deductions that have been taken out of your paycheck over the years of your working life. To be eligible for these benefits, you must have a qualifying disability or injury, you must submit a complete application, and you must meet certain requirements.
The first hurdle to overcome is that your disability must be on the list of qualifying conditions from the Social Security Administration. This list is long and includes many different types of conditions, from musculoskeletal disorders to mental disorders. In order for your application for benefits to be approved, you must classify your disability correctly and provide medical records to support your claim.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) only pays insurance benefits for total disability. The SSA may determine that you are disabled if you meet these three conditions:
- Your medical condition prevents you from doing your regular job.
- Your medical condition keeps you from being able to perform another job.
- Your medical condition will disable you for at least a year or is expected to end in your death.
If you meet these conditions, you should be eligible to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.
The SSA states that in order to be eligible for SSDI, you must have received a certain number of work credits. Work credits are based on income and vary year by year, but for 2021, you earn one work credit for every $1,470 in income you receive.
The number of work credits you need to be approved for benefits varies depending on your age when you become disabled, but in general, you need 40 work credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the past ten years. Work credits also help determine the amount of benefits you are eligible to receive.
How the Social Security Disability Insurance Claims Process Works
The SSDI process begins when you submit an application to the SSA for benefits. You can apply either online or in writing. You can also submit a claim at your local Queens Social Security Office or by telephone.
When completing an application, it’s important to have all the necessary information at hand. The SSA provides a list of the information you’ll need here. This is where having an experienced attorney can help. If you submit an application with incomplete or incorrect information, your claim may be denied, and you will have to go through the Appeals process to obtain benefits.
A law firm that has dealt with this process, like Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C., can help you make sure your application is complete and without errors, ensuring that you receive your benefits in a timely manner. If you wait until after you’ve submitted your application and been denied benefits to engage a lawyer, you’ll have to wait that much longer to get the financial help you need.
Once you’ve submitted your application, the SSA will review it and may request additional information or documentation. They may request additional documents about you specifically, like copies of your birth certificate or driver’s license. They may enquire about your previous work history in detail, like asking about previous amounts earned or whether you served in the military. They may request additional information and documents pertaining to your medical condition, such as medical records and current doctor’s contact details. When reviewing your application, the SSA will ask the following questions:
- Are you currently working?
- Do you have a ‘severe’ condition or disability?
- Is your condition on the SSA-approved list of disabling conditions?
- Can you perform the work you were doing previously with this condition?
- Can you perform any other work?
After the SSA reviews your application and gathers any missing information or documents, they will forward the application to the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance in Albany. There, your application will be reviewed, and they will determine whether you’re eligible for benefits. They will either approve or deny your claim for disability insurance.
Appealing an SSDI Denial in Queens
If your claim for SSDI benefits is denied, you have a limited amount of time to appeal the claim. In Queens, that time limit is 60 days.
Appealing your denial can be a lengthy and complex process. Having an attorney review your claim and assist in the appeal process can help you receive your benefits more quickly and potentially increase the amount of benefits you receive as well.
The Appeals process for SSDI has four steps:
- Reconsideration. During the reconsideration phase, a person who wasn’t involved in the initial review and denial of your claim re-reviews your application and supporting documents. The intent here is to allow someone who has no bias to review the pertinent information and take a second look. You’re allowed to request a Reconsideration for either medical reasons, such as your disability not being on the SSA approved list, or non-medical reasons, such as errors in your application. The process usually takes 3-5 months.
- Request a hearing before an Administrative Judge. If, after reconsideration, your claim for benefits is still denied, the next step in the Appeals process is a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. This hearing can be conducted either remotely or in person and involves a judge that was not involved in your initial application process reviewing your case and determining whether the Reconsideration process was correct or not. This part of the process can take anywhere from a few months to two years.
- Request a review of the judge’s decision by the Appeals Council. If an Administrative Law Judge upholds the denial of your claim, the next step is to have the judge’s decision reviewed by the SSA’s Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is a three-member body whose sole job is reviewing decisions regarding Social Security benefits. They will decide whether to review your case, deny it, or send it back to the judge for review. If they decide to review your case, they will look at the determination made by the Administrative Law Judge to verify that it is in accordance with SSA laws and regulations.
- File suit in federal court. If the Appeals Council denies your claim or chooses not to hear your case, your final option is to file suit in federal district court against the SSA. This can be a drawn-out, complicated process that is best left to an experienced lawyer. Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. has helped dozens of Queens residents fight for their claims in court. Contact us at 516-496-0400 for more information about how we can help you, too.
Let Us Help You Get Your SSDI Benefits
When you let Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. handle your SSDI claim for benefits, you can rest assured that you’ve got the best team in Queens working for you. There is no firm in Queens with more experience, more knowledge, and more determination to get your life back on track after a debilitating accident or injury.
For more than four decades, Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. has been fighting for people just like you, and we know how to get the job done right and get your claim approved as quickly as possible. We can provide assistance with any step in the claims process, from submitting the application to filing suit in federal court and all steps in between. Call Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. at 516-496-0400 today for a free consultation.