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How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

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.








Essential Questions

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Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state



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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

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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?









For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.