Although Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal benefits programs, there are some considerations that need to be made at the state level.
When you file your application for SSDI or SSI as a resident of New York, a New York State Division of Disability Determinations disability analyst will review your case and decide whether you are disabled according to the federal guidelines.
Before completing and submitting your application, you should be prepared with information regarding your birth and citizenship, marriage(s) and divorce(s), United States military service, your bank for direct deposit, job history, names and birth dates of your children, the name and contact information for someone who can assist you with your claim, and the names and contact information of doctors, hospitals, and clinics that have treated you.
Social Security will also require many documents evidencing the above. Do not worry if you cannot find them all; Social Security will help you locate the necessary paperwork, so it is better to start the process as soon as possible.
In theory, you can apply for SSDI and SSI benefits online, by telephone, or in person. In reality, however, you have to meet very strict criteria to apply for benefits online. If you have hired an attorney to represent you at the application stage, talk to him or her before applying. The last thing you want is to be denied benefits on a technicality.
You can apply for SSDI benefits online if you meet the following: 1) you are age eighteen or older; 2) you are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record; 3) you are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least twelve months or result in your death; and 4) you have not been denied disability benefits in the last sixty days.
You can apply for SSI benefits online if you meet the following: 1) you are between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five; 2) you have never been married; 3) you are not blind; 4) you are a United States citizen residing in one of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands; 5) you haven’t applied for or received SSI benefits in the past; and 6) you are applying for SSDI at the same time.
In order to qualify for SSDI benefits in New York, you must meet the federal government’s definition of “disabled,” you must have earned sufficient work credits for Social Security, and you must currently live in New York.
New York State is also one of the states that will provide a supplemental payment to those receiving SSI benefits who have not maxed out the amount provided by the federal government. The amount NYS pays varies depending on how much income and other resources the beneficiary has.
Another characteristic that separates the New York disability process from other states is Reconsideration. Traditionally, if you were initially denied benefits, you had to submit a Request for Reconsideration. If you were again denied at the Reconsideration stage, then you could appeal to have a disability hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. In 1999, New York became one of ten states that eliminated Reconsideration to see how the process worked when the step was eliminated. Under this system, you could appeal for a hearing as soon as you received your initial denial letter.
Social Security wanted to see if eliminating one step streamlined the process. But, as of January 1, 2019, Reconsideration in New York is back. Anyone who receives a denial determination letter as of January 1, 2019 must submit a Request for Reconsideration. The Request can be submitted online or by completing Form SSA-561.