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How to Apply for SSDI in Long Beach, New York 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal insurance program that provides benefits to people who are unable to work due to a disability. Administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), it's funded by payroll taxes. This program isn't need-based like Supplemental Security Income (SSI); instead, it's based on your past work history and contributions to Social Security taxes. 

At my law practice, Crysti D. Farra Attorney at Law, based in Long Beach, New York, I've had the privilege of assisting many clients throughout Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Kings, Westchester, and Bronx counties with their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications.  

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for SSDI, you must meet both the SSA's definition of disability and the earnings requirement. The SSA defines disability as a condition that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. The earnings requirement is based on the number of work credits you've earned throughout your career.  

Preparation Before Applying

Before applying for SSDI, it's crucial to gather all necessary documentation and ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Start by compiling a detailed work history, including dates of employment, names of employers, and job duties. Also collect any and all medical records pertinent to your disability, such as doctor's reports, treatment records, and hospital stays. Furthermore, you'll need to have your Social Security number and proof of age ready. If available, include W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns from the previous year. Being well-prepared with this information can significantly streamline the application process.

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The Application Process

The application process for SSDI can be complex and requires attention to detail. Below is a detailed explanation of the key steps involved: 

  1. Initial Application: You can begin your application for SSDI either online at the SSA's website, over the phone, or in person at a local Social Security office. It's essential to fill out the application comprehensively, providing all requested information about your medical condition, work history, and employment. 

  1. Documentation Submittal: Along with your application, submit all necessary documentation. This includes medical records, doctor's statements, lab results, proof of your work history, and your Social Security number. Ensure that medical documents specifically address how your disability affects your ability to work. 

  1. Claim Review: Once submitted, your application goes to a state agency, usually called Disability Determination Services (DDS). There, your claim is assigned to a claims examiner who works in conjunction with a medical consultant to evaluate your case. 

  1. Decision: After reviewing all information, the DDS makes a decision. If your claim is denied, you'll receive a written notice of the decision with an explanation and instructions on how to appeal. 

  1. Reconsideration Request: If your application is denied, you have the right to file a request for reconsideration. This must be done within 60 days of receiving your denial notice. Your claim will be reviewed by someone who was not involved in the initial decision. 

  1. Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge: If your reconsideration is denied, you can request a hearing. This hearing will be before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who did not participate in the original decision or the reconsideration. Before the hearing, you can submit new evidence or information to support your case. 

  1. Appeals Council Review: In the event that the ALJ also denies your claim, you can ask for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. However, the Appeals Council may deny your request if it believes the hearing decision was correct. 

  1. Federal Court Review: As a last resort, if your claim is still denied after the Appeals Council review, you can file a lawsuit in a federal district court. 

It's important to adhere to all deadlines and stay on top of correspondence from the SSA to avoid delays or forfeiture of your claim. Remember that throughout this process, maintaining thorough records and open communication with your legal representative can provide clarity and guidance, simplifying these intricate steps to achieving your SSDI benefits. 

What Happens After Submission

Once you've submitted your application, it will be reviewed for completeness before being forwarded to the Disability Determination Services office in your state. They will review your medical evidence and may request additional information or examinations if necessary. The decision process can take several months, so be prepared for a waiting period. 

Dealing With Denials

If your application is denied, don't despair. Many initial applications are denied, but you have the right to appeal the decision. This process involves several stages, including reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, and possibly a review by the SSA's Appeals Council. Throughout this process, having a knowledgeable Social Security Disability Appeals attorney by your side can be invaluable.

SSDI Attorney in Long Beach, New York 

Applying for SSDI can seem daunting, but with careful preparation and guidance, it can be navigated successfully. As an attorney experienced in SSDI cases, I am here to assist you every step of the way. Together, we can work towards securing the benefits you deserve.