New York residents may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration if they have contributed to the program through Social Security payroll deductions and have a medical condition that prevents them from working. Individuals who do not qualify for these benefits may still be eligible to receive financial assistance through the Supplemental Security Income program. The Social Security Administration provides guidance for those who are unsure about which application to submit.

When the SSA receives an application for Social Security Disability benefits, one of the first things a representative will do is check the date that the applicant was last insured. In order to qualify for benefits, the applicant must be able to establish that they became disabled before this date. Applicants generally do this by providing the SSA with medical records and submitting Residual Functional Capacity forms completed by their treating physicians.

Disabled individuals who are struggling financially and do not qualify for SSD benefits may apply for SSI, which is based on the applicant’s need rather than their insured status or the contributions they have made. To qualify for monthly SSI benefits, applicants must have less than $2,000 in assets and a monthly income that is no higher than the federal benefit rate. However, not all assets are counted and not all income is taken into consideration.

Dealing with government bureaucracy, filling in complex forms and gathering medical evidence can be bewildering, and many SSD and SSI claims are initially denied because of incomplete or missing documentation. Attorneys with experience in this area may seek to avoid this kind of setback by helping applicants to complete the paperwork and gather the medical records they will need. Attorneys may also advocate on behalf of SSD or SSI applicants if their claims are denied.