In order to obtain disability pension benefits under the New York State Retirement System, a claimant needs to show the inability to continuing working at his or her job. I have succeeded in securing benefits each time I submitted applications by providing evidence that the claimant is incapable of performing ANY work, let alone the claimant’s prior position.
A claim was approved yesterday that illustrates the above strategy. The starting point, which is frequently overlooked, is establishing the vocational demands of the claimant’s job. Obviously, the most physically and mentally strenuous, the easier it is to argue the job’s demands can no longer be met. The claimant worked in law enforcement, which clearly was not a sedentary position. The next step is showing how the medical evidence shows that claimant cannot perform the past work. However, rather than simply obtaining medical records and opinions demonstrating that the claimant could no longer perform her job in law enforcement, I showed how the medical evidence demonstrated the claimant could not perform the demands of any type of work on a full time basis, even sedentary desk work.
While many of my colleagues believe my tactics are excessive, I succeed at the initial application stage. Unlike some other sources of disability benefits, the chances of securing disability pension benefits do not increase at subsequent appeal stages. Additionally, from the client’s perspective, avoiding the time it takes to appeal an initial denial reduces attorney fees, which are typically at least partially contingent.