Social Security Disability Resource Center

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Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in New York

Claimants who are represented on disability claims in New York tend to have a higher rate of approval, a need for fewer appeals, and more favorable "dates of onset" (the date the disability is proven to have begun) that lead to higher back pay benefits.

Representation may be through a disability lawyer or a specialized non-attorney disability representative. Many non-attorney reps are former Social Security Administration Claims Specialists and Disability Examiners with an extended history of working from within the federal system.

A qualified disability representative will have a knowledge of Social Security administrative law, particularly with regard to how claims are approved through the Social Security listings and the medical vocational grid rules. A qualified and competent disability representative or lawyer will also be skilled in the ability to obtain the most relevant case evidence, analyze it correctly, and incorporate it as part of a winning strategy for a claim.

To learn about fees for representation, see: "How do disability lawyers get paid?"

Additional information

In the state of New York, as in all other states across the nation, it is no easy task to win social security disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. The majority of all disability applications filed in New York, about 62 percent, were denied in recent years, and statistics were positively grim for those who appealed the decision to the state disability determination services (DDS) agency: only 16 percent of first appeals, or requests for reconsideration, filed in New York were approved.

Given these statistics, should individuals filing for disability retain a disability attorney, and if so, when? Well, there are cases in New York in which disability cases are approved within three to four months of the initial application, without any disability help from attorneys or non-attorney representatives (a non-attorney representative is someone, often a former employee of the social security administration, who, though not an attorney, is qualified to advocate for disability applicants). However, as stated previously, these cases are in the minority.

Getting a disability lawyer does not, of course, ensure that you will win your case. However, statistics have shown that those with legal representation are more likely to win SSD or SSI benefits, particularly if their case winds up before a federal administrative law judge. Many people filing for disability in New York never consider the possibility that they will reach this point, but the fact is that most cases are not approved by DDS, and must be taken to the second level of appeal, which is to request a hearing before a disability judge.

This hearing is the very best chance New York disability claimants have of winning benefits, and having some form of legal representation at this level of appeal could mean the difference between winning and losing, i.e. qualifying for disability.

Therefore, if you are filing for SSD or SSI in New York, you should start planning, at the outset, at what point you will retain a New York disability lawyer for your case, because it could make a difference in whether or not you qualify for disability. Some individuals will feel more secure if they have a consultation even before filing their claim, some will consider it only when their claim is denied and they must file an appeal with DDS—it’s really up to the level of comfort an individual has with the disability process, and how well they are able to present their case.

However, at the second appeal, anyone who decides to apply for social security disability or apply for disability from SSI is strongly advised to retain legal counsel.

Note: The request for reconsideration appeal step is currently suspended in the state of New York as New York is one of 10 prototype states testing a system in which denied claims move immediately to the hearing level upon appeal. Reconsideration may be reinstated at some point and many consider this likely. In the meantime, a claimant who is denied on a disability application should request, and prepare, for a hearing before a federal administrative law judge.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved

    FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions

    The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

    Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
    How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
    Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
    What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
    How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
    How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
    Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
    Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria