Have you suffered a disability that prevents you from working in Middletown? You may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you have. However, because the regulations that define disability are so strict, obtaining these benefits is often more challenging than many expect. As a result, applications are frequently denied leaving individuals stressed and overwhelmed regarding their next steps.
Thankfully, with an experienced Middletown Social Security Disability Insurance attorney from Finkelstein & Partners, you will not have to take on this challenging affair by yourself.
Table of Contents
- What Should I Know About Social Security Disability Insurance?
- Medical Conditions That Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance
- The Step-by-Step Process, the Social Security Administration, Uses to Determine Disability
- What Happens When You Get Denied For Disability Benefits?
- Contact Finkelstein & Partners and Fight for the Money You Need
About Our Firm
Finkelstein & Partners has expanded significantly since its founding in 1959, when it opened its doors in Newburgh, New York. Today, not only does the law firm have multiple offices across New York and New Jersey, but it also has a staff of more than 170 para-professionals and 85 attorneys. However, even with this massive growth, our firm remains dedicated to providing clients with the reliable, personalized services and legal representation that people have come to expect from us.
That is why it should be no surprise that since our founding, we have been able to help countless individuals and secured millions of dollars on their behalf through settlements and jury trial verdicts.
For these reasons, if you are looking for a Middletown personal injury attorney or a social security disability insurance lawyer in New York, reach out to us today for a free consultation. We can discuss your case virtually or at one of our conveniently located offices, including our Middletown location, which can be found right across the Wallkill River, right off Phillipsburg Road.
What Should I Know About Social Security Disability Insurance?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a payroll-tax-funded federal insurance program managed by the Social Security Administration that is designed to provide monthly benefits to those who have been determined to have a medical disability that prevents or restricts them from being employed before they reach the age of retirement.
However, before an individual can obtain these benefits, they first need to meet specific qualifications, including:
- Working in a job that Social Security covers
- Have a condition that qualifies under the Social Security’s definition of disability, and
- Meet the other requirements as specified under the regulations
Due to these factors, it is recommended that individuals seeking these benefits reach out to an experienced Middletown Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer at Finkelstein & Partners, as soon as possible. These lawyers can not only determine if you qualify for these benefits, but they can also prepare the most robust case on your behalf, helping you go after the compensation you need.
Medical Conditions That Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance
To qualify for disability benefits, there are often numerous elements that have to be met when it comes to your disability.
For instance, you would need to show that:
- You cannot perform any substantial gainful work (SGW) due to the medical condition
- You cannot complete the work you previously did or adjust to perform any other work because of your condition, and
- The condition should last or has lasted for at least one year or is to result in death.
However, depending on the medical condition, you may not be required to establish all of these elements, especially if you suffer from a disability indicated in the Social Security Blue Book.
The Social Security Administration’s Blue Book specifically includes a list of impairments that they consider severe enough to prevent a person from working, including:
- Musculoskeletal issues: This impairment includes problems related to back trauma, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Respiratory disorders: These disorders often involve issues such as chronic pulmonary hypertension, asthma, and cystic fibrosis
- Genitourinary disorders: These disorders include chronic kidney disease and nephrotic syndrome
- Hematological disorders: These disorders tend to relate to bone marrow failure, thrombosis, hemostasis, and hemolytic anemia
- Skin disorders: These disorders can include everything from dermatitis to chronic infections and burns
- Endocrine disorders: This disorder is a medical condition that causes a hormonal imbalance, such as a thyroid gland disorder or a pituitary gland disorder
- Special senses and speech issues: These issues tend to deal with the loss of hearing and vision
- Cardiovascular system problems: These problems include heart failure, coronary artery disease, abnormal heart rhythm, hypertension, and angina
- Digestive system issues: This impairment includes things such as chronic liver disease, short bowel syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome
- Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
- Neurological disorders: These disorders include illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, and ALS
- Mental Disorders: Issues related to depression, anxiety, intellectual disabilities, autism, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder fall under this category
- Immune system disorders: These disorders cause dysfunction in one or more components of your immune system and typically includeissues such asHIV/AIDs, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis, and lupus
- Cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases): This listing covers impairments related to lung cancer, soft tissue cancers of the head and neck, mesothelioma, breast cancer, and most other types of cancer
However, if your medical condition is not listed in the Blue Book, you may still be eligible for benefits. You would just have to prove that your condition meets the disability definition indicated above and is of equal severity to the conditions listed in the Blue Book. That is why it may be best to speak with an experienced Middletown Social Security Disability Insurance attorney about your condition as soon as you can to determine if it qualifies under the regulations and you can pursue benefits.
The Step-by-Step Process, the Social Security Administration, Uses to Determine Disability
If you have worked long enough and recently enough before your impairment to qualify for these disability benefits, there is a step-by-step process the Social Security Administration will use to determine if you have a disability that qualifies you for benefits.
Step One: Is the Individual Working?
The administration uses earning guidelines to evaluate whether an individual’s work activity is considered SGA. For instance, if their earnings average more than $1,350 ($2,260 if blind) a month, they typically cannot be deemed to have a qualifying disability.
On the other hand, if the individual is not working or working but not performing SGA, the individual’s application will be sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office, which will decide their medical condition. The office will use the below steps to make their decision.
Step Two: Is the Condition Severe?
The disabling medical condition must significantly limit a person’s ability to do basic work-related activities, including walking, sitting, lifting, standing, and even remembering, for at least one year. If a person can still do those things, their condition will likely not qualify as a disability.
Yet, if the condition does meet these criteria, then DDS will go to the next step.
Step Three: Is the Condition Found on the Disability Condition List?
As mentioned, the administration maintains a list of medical conditions they consider severe enough to prevent a person from doing SGA. If the condition is not on the list, DDS will need to decide on their own if the medical condition is as severe as the ones on the list. If it is, DDS will find that the individual has a qualifying disability. If it is not, then they will proceed to the next step.
Step Four: Can You Do the Work You Did Previously?
DDS will be required to figure out if the medical impairment the individual has prevents them from performing any of the work they have done previously. If it does not, DDS may decide the individual does not have a qualifying disability. If it does, they will go to step five.
Step Five: Can You Perform Any Other Work?
If the individual cannot perform the work they had in the past, DDS will look to see if there is any other work they can perform despite their impairment and limitations.
DDS will consider factors such as past work experience, education, age, medical conditions, and transferable skills when making their decision. However, if they find that the individual cannot perform any work, they will generally qualify them for disability benefits. Yet, if they find that these individuals can do other work, the office may decide they do not have a qualifying disability and deny the claim.
What Happens When You Get Denied For Disability Benefits?
Unfortunately, when it comes to disability benefits, a significant percentage of these applications are denied. Yet, if this happened to you, it does not mean all hope is lost. Instead, you will need to exercise your right to file an appeal.
You may need to go through four levels of appeal:
The Reconsideration Stage
If the disability claim for medical claims was recently denied, you can request an appeal by the Social Security Administration. During this time, a reconsideration will be done, which is a complete review of the claim by a person who did not take part in the first determination. This individual will look at all the evidence from the first determination, plus any new evidence submitted or obtained.
Hearing in Front of a Judge
If you receive a determination at the reconsideration level that you disagree with, you can ask for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, who will review your claim. These hearings can be requested online, and after you submit a request, the local office will send your request to one of the hearing offices for action. At which point, you will receive information from the office about the process and a notice when the hearing has been scheduled for.
Request a Review by the Appeals Council
If you disagree with the hearing decision, you can request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. If the Council grants your request for review, it can dismiss or deny your request if it finds the decision is in accordance with Social Security regulations. However, it can also issue a new decision or return the matter to the administrative law judge for further action.
Federal Court Review
If you believe the Appeals Council got it wrong or were denied a request for review, you can try to file a civil action in a Federal district court. This is the last level of the appeals process.
As you can see, filing an appeal can get rather complicated. And in many cases, it can be challenging to get your case overturned. For these reasons, it is usually recommended you work with an experienced Middletown Social Security Disability Insurance attorney when going through the appeals process. These lawyers can not only review your application and figure out why it was denied, but they can also determine your appeal options and help you take the next steps.
Contact Finkelstein & Partners and Fight for the Money You Need
Obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance is not an easy task, and countless individuals are denied the opportunity to receive these benefits every day. Thankfully, when you work with a knowledgeable Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer from Finkelstein & Partners, you will not have to take on this complex ordeal alone. Instead, your lawyers can fight for your rights and secure the benefits you need.
Once you hire us, we can:
- Help you understand your rights to these benefits, figure out whether you are eligible, and help you prepare and file your disability application.
- Answer your questions whenever you need.
- Gather the information needed to go after these benefits, including documents from treating health care professionals.
- Obtain a vocational expert’s evaluation on why you are unable to work.
- Ensure that the Social Security Administration correctly calculates the benefits you deserve.
- Try to reopen a previously denied application.
If you suffered a disability and can no longer work because of this illness or injury and you have questions about the disability benefits you are entitled to, contact the New York injury attorneys at Finkelstein & Partners today for a free consultation or call us at (845) 344-4855 and find out exactly how we can help you.