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New York Disability Lawyer Herbert Forsmith Explains Presumptive Disability

One complaint commonly heard by New York disability lawyers is that a claimant has submitted an application for Social Security disability benefits a long time ago, but has yet to hear anything back. Indeed, the Social Security Administration has a tremendous backlog of cases, and the average claim now takes more than a year to move through the system. This can present a hardship to some claimants who, without a source of income, cannot afford their expenses of daily living, let alone the medical treatment they sorely need.

Fortunately, for cases in which a claimant is so obviously disabled that winning benefits is nearly certain, the Social Security Administration will start making payments in advance of their decision (for up to six months). The SSA calls this process “presumptive disability.” They may determine that you are eligible for presumptive benefits if you are disabled due to one of the following medical conditions:

  • Amputation of a leg at the hip.
  • Total deafness (no sound perception in either ear).
  • Total blindness (no light perception in either eye).
  • Bed confinement and immobility due to a longstanding condition (not a recent accident or surgery).
  • Stroke more than three months in the past and continued marked difficulty in walking or using a hand or arm.
  • Down syndrome.
  • Severe mental deficiency.
  • Symptomatic HIV or AIDS.
  • Spinal cord injury resulting in an inability to ambulate without the use of a walker or bilateral hand-held assistive devices.
  • End stage renal disease.
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
  • Terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less.

In the case of terminal illness, a physician must confirm the life expectancy by phone or in a signed statement. If the claimant is receiving hospice care because of a terminal illness, this confirmation can instead be made by a knowledgeable hospice official (such as a hospice coordinator, a staff nurse, a social worker, or a medical custodian).

If you have any of the above-listed medical conditions, you should immediately contact an experienced New York disability lawyer to see if you are eligible for presumptive disability benefits. Doing so can save you months of waiting, uncertainty, and financial instability.

A similar program, called “compassionate allowances” fast-tracks Social Security disability applicants who have certain cancers and rare diseases. For more information about compassionate allowances, including a link to the complete list of 88 medical conditions that are covered, please see my article, New York Disability Attorney Herbert Forsmith Explains “Compassionate Allowances.”

For a free evaluation of your claim, please contact Herbert Forsmith by filling out the claim evaluation form on this website or by calling the number at the top of this page.