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Friday, September 4, 2015

State Earmarks $7 million to Help New Yorkers Denied Federal Disability Benefits

I was recently denied disability benefits by the Social Security Administration. What are my options in New York?

As more and more Americans face career-ending physical and mental disabilities, the available resources for new applicants have steadily diminished over the past several years. Accordingly, applicants report an increasingly difficult time obtaining an approval for full disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), yet are unable to return to work either part-time, or at all, due to the excruciating effects of their conditions.

Fortunately, in July, 2015, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) announced an increase in funding available to those who have been denied benefits on a federal level, creating a small fund to help assist these individuals as they explore other options.

According to the press release, a total of $6.8 million has been allocated across 12 agencies statewide to provide legal assistance to applicants looking to appeal their denial or discontinuation.

In a statement by the OTDA, “providing this vital support enables individuals in need of assistance to have continued access to services without interruption…Helping eligible individuals receive Social Security benefits improves their financial situation while reducing associated costs to the state and local governments.”

The program is designed to help low-income New Yorkers receive fair and equitable access to representation through the federal appeals process. In so doing, the various legal aid societies across the state have teamed up to offer high-quality pro bono services to those who are in need of federal disability benefits but are unsure where to turn.

In addition to assisting the various legal aid groups, additional funding has also been earmarked for use by the Disability Advocacy Program, which works on behalf of disabled New Yorkers to secure vital services.

If you are struggling with your application for benefits, or have recently received notice that your benefits are being discontinued, please contact one of our knowledgeable attorneys at the Seelig Law Offices. We serve the entire New York City metropolitan area, including all five boroughs, and can be reached at 212-766-0600.



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