Syracuse Social Security Disability Insurance Attorney

Syracuse Office
108 West Jefferson Street,
Suite 401
Syracuse, NY 13202


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Navigating an application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can overwhelm anyone in Syracuse. After suffering harm in a crash on I-690, falling and getting hurt at a Salina Street restaurant, contracting a life-altering disease, or sustaining any other debilitating injury or illness, the last thing you need is to spend all your time trying to figure out how to convince the Social Security Administration to pay you the benefits you deserve.

A skilled Social Security Disability insurance lawyer from Finkelstein & Partners can help. We represent SSDI applicants like you in applying for benefits, and in appealing wrongful denials of disability claims. Contact us today or call our Syracuse office for a free consultation about your Social Security Disability Insurance claim.

Overview of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

If you can’t work due to a severe injury and illness, and your condition will affect your ability to earn an income for at least one year, then the law may entitle you to receive benefits under the federal government’s Social Security Disability Insurance program.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance is a federally administered insurance program for adults who cannot work due to a long-term or permanent illness or impairment. It pays cash benefits to replace a portion of the income a disabled person would otherwise earn.

SSDI is not insurance against temporary disabilities. It is available only for people who face long-term or permanent disabilities as defined by federal law that will prevent them from engaging in meaningful work now and for the foreseeable future. A basic filing requirement for Social Security Disability Insurance is that an individual is faced with a disability that will last at least one year or ultimately result in death.

Who May Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits in Syracuse?

Applicants for SSDI must meet qualification criteria established by federal laws and regulations.

Broadly speaking, you can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in Syracuse if you:

  1. Earned Social Security work credits by working for a sufficient time, and sufficiently recently, in a job that was covered by Social Security and in which you paid Social Security taxes; and
  2. Have a disability as defined by federal law and regulation.

How Long Do You Have to Have Worked to Qualify for SSDI?

SSDI is only available to people who have a qualifying employment history. The Social Security Administration evaluates work history based on how many work credits a person earns. Work credits are based on a person’s income.

For example, in a recent year, workers received one work credit for every $1,410 of income they earned in a calendar year, up to a maximum of four credits. The Social Security Administration adjusts the amount of money you need to earn per-credit every year based on inflation and other economic factors.

The work credits a person needs to qualify for SSDI depends on their age.

In general, if you become disabled:

  • Before age 24, then you may qualify for SSDI with six credits earned in the three years before your disability.
  • Between ages 24 and 31, then you may qualify for SSDI if you earned the annual maximum four credits in at least half of the years since you turned 21.
  • After turning age 31, you may qualify for SSDI if you earned at least 20 credits in the 10 years immediately before your disability.

These are general rules, and may vary based on individual circumstances. The team at Finkelstein & Partners encourages anyone in Syracuse who has questions about SSDI-qualifying work credits to speak with a member of our team.

What Is a Qualifying SSDI Disability?

The law defines a disability as an individual’s inability to participate in substantial gainful activity due to a medical condition or impairment that will result in death or will last or has lasted for a minimum period of one year. Any medical condition or impairment that meets this definition can qualify as a disability.

The Social Security Administration also lists conditions that automatically meet the definition of disability to qualify for SSDI benefits:

  • Musculoskeletal system conditions
  • Special senses and speech
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Digestive system conditions
  • Genitourinary disorders
  • Hematological disorders
  • Skin conditions and disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Congenital conditions or disorders
  • Neurological conditions
  • Mental conditions or disorders
  • Cancers
  • Immune system disorders

Remember, however, you may still qualify for SSDI benefits even if you do not suffer from one of the medical conditions above. Any condition that meets the broad definition of disability can qualify.

How Can an Attorney at Finkelstein & Partners Help You Get SSDI Benefits?

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be burdensome, tedious, time-consuming, and complicated. The Social Security Administration routinely denies first-time applicants for benefits. In fact, on average, the Social Security Administration approves only about 35 percent of SSDI applications each year.

Many applicants give up on seeking SSDI benefits after receiving a claim denial, even though they may in fact qualify. While some denials may be justified, the reality is that many denials of SSDI applications occur due to errors, omissions, or other avoidable mistakes by applicants and the Social Security Administration alike during the application process. Consequently, Syracuse residents who need and deserve SSDI benefits end up going without.

At Finkelstein & Partners, we do not think that should ever happen. Our SSDI lawyers understand the ins and outs of the application process, from preparing a complete and convincing claim submission to appealing unjust denials.

Here are just some of the ways our team can help clients get the SSDI benefits they deserve:

Gather Necessary Information

We work closely with our clients to gather the documentation and evidence necessary to prepare a thorough, persuasive application for SSDI benefits. We collect the records showing our clients’ prior work histories, to establish that they possess the work credits necessary to qualify. We track down medical records, test results, history, and other documentation by healthcare providers that help prove our clients’ medical conditions.

When needed, we help our clients get examined by medical experts who can establish the existence of their disabilities. Through diligent investigation, we make sure that our clients possess the full range of documented information they need to prove why they have a right to receive SSDI benefits.

Prepare and Submit SSDI Applications

With the necessary evidence in hand, the lawyers and legal professionals at Finkelstein & Partners can prepare complete, accurate, detailed applications for SSDI benefits that prove our clients’ work histories and disabilities. We aim to maximize the probability of our clients receiving the benefits to which the law entitles them on the very first application.

Communicate With the Social Security Administration

Following your submission of an application, our team communicates with the Social Security Administration when necessary to resolve any requests for additional information or questions the Administration may ask. Finkelstein & Partners has years of experience interacting with the Social Security Administration. We understand the agency’s priorities and working styles, and how to communicate with its staff in a manner that keeps our clients’ applications moving forward.

Appeal SSDI Claim Denials

SSDI applicants have the right to appeal denials of their claims. Attorneys can, and should, play a significant role in the appeal process on behalf of applicants. The Finkelstein & Partners team strongly encourages anyone in Syracuse who has received a denial of an SSDI claim to contact us right away, and not to attempt to navigate the appeals process on their own. Filing and pursuing a successful appeal requires detailed knowledge of the law and procedure governing the process.

When Should You Contact an Attorney for Assistance With a Social Security Disability Insurance Application?

If you are diagnosed with an injury or disability that prevents you from working, or your worsening condition keeps you out of work for some time, then you may qualify for SSDI benefits. We encourage you to contact an experienced Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer the moment you start considering an application for benefits.

Seeking the help of a knowledgeable attorney early on in the process increases your chance of succeeding in securing benefits on the first try. It also helps to avoid common mistakes in claim submissions, speeds preparation of your claim submission, avoids delays in the processing of your claim, and reduces the likelihood of the Social Security Administration denying your claim outright.

If you have already applied for SSDI benefits, then the Finkelstein & Partners team encourages you to contact us immediately if you receive any communication from the Social Security Administration telling you that your claim has been or will be denied. The most reliable way to put your application back on course is to seek the assistance of a skilled Social Security Disability Insurance claims attorney.

When Can I Expect Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits to Begin, if Approved?

The application for SSDI has a five-month waiting period during which no benefit payments can be made. Benefits do not accrue during this period. On average most applicants wait over one year for an initial determination to be made on their SSDI claim.

If the Social Security Administration approves a claim, then it will make back payments from the established onset date of your disability, which typically is the date of your application submission.

After your SSDI application is approved, monthly benefit payments usually begin arriving within 60 days, although it could take additional time to receive any back payments owed to you.

Hope Is Not Lost if Your Application for SSDI Was Denied

If your initial application for Social Security disability insurance has been denied, you are not alone.

Over 60 percent of initial SSDI applications get denied. Denial is not a dead-end. You can appeal the decision and, oftentimes, convince the Social Security Administration to reverse or revise its decision.

The time to file an appeal in an SSDI denial of benefits is just 60 days. If you were not represented by an attorney in your initial application, then now is the best time to seek a lawyer’s help. A skilled disability claims lawyer can help you prepare your appeal and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome to your claim.

If you have missed your window for appeal of your benefits determination, then you can still apply for benefits by submitting a new application for SSDI. However, in that case, we strongly encourage you to consult our attorneys before resubmitting an application to avoid repeating any mistakes that led to your first claim denial.

What Does a Social Security Disability Claim Attorney Cost?

Most Social Security Disability claim lawyers work on a contingency basis. In most cases, this means they only get paid for their services if they succeed in getting their clients’ Social Security Disability Insurance benefits approved.

andrew finkelstein
Syracuse SSDI Attorney, Andrew Finkelstein

The attorney fees for a representation in a Social Security Disability Insurance case are typically taken out of the back pay owed to you. In most cases, the maximum fee allowable under the law is 25 percent of the back pay benefits payable to you, up to a maximum of $6,000.

Skilled Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyers in Syracuse

Finkelstein & Partners has spent over 60 years representing clients in Syracuse and throughout Upstate New York who have suffered injuries and need help securing the benefits and compensation they deserve.

If you suffer from a long-term or permanent disability that prevents you from working, and have worked in the past, then Social Security Disability Insurance benefits could assist you in paying for day-to-day expenses. The law permits you to receive those benefits. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you apply for them or appeal a denial of your claim.

To hear more about how Finkelstein & Partners helps disabled Syracuse residents obtain the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits they need and deserve, contact us today or call our Syracuse office at (315) 453-3053 for a free consultation with a member of our team.