How To Apply For Disability In New York

If you have ever needed to apply for Disability in New York but are unsure of the necessary steps, or you’re just intimidated by the process, we may have some answers to your questions! Here we can provide legal advice and walk you through the steps of applying for disability. It can seem intimidating and complicated to go through, but we are here to help you navigate!

What qualifies for disability in New York?

SSDI (Social Security Disability) and SSI (Social Security Income) are available for qualified applicants in the United States and those who can no longer work due to disability and are open for these individuals to apply for. These resources are designed to be available for those who are unable to work and are struggling with little to no income, and are having a hard time acquiring their basic needs due to injury, illness, or any other disability.

To qualify in New York, you must not be able to work due to a medical condition, you are unable to do the work you were doing before, you decide that you cannot adjust to working because of your medical condition, your medical condition or disability is expected to last for a minimum of one year and or will result in death. If any of these apply to you, you may be eligible to apply for disability in New York.

Is it difficult to get approved for disability in New York State?

The short answer to this question is yes, getting approved in New York is a bit difficult. Roughly 60% of people who apply for disability or Social Security Income do not get approved due to not meeting the criteria. To get approved in New York, applicants must be able to prove their disability or medical condition will last at least 12 months.

The medical conditions do not have to be occupation related. However, the disability must prevent the applicant from working. This may be difficult for some applicants to prove, as disabilities may range regarding the time required to be taken off from work.

How long can I expect to wait for approval?

The initial disability claims can take anywhere from 30 days to 90 days before getting approved, and if you do get approved you will not be able to receive your benefits right away. You will not be able to receive your benefits until after you have completed a five-month mandatory waiting period. The first benefit will be received on the sixth full month after your disability is found to begin.

How much does disability pay in New York?

Disability benefits are cash benefits paid to the individual who is now rendered unable to work due to a lasting medical condition or disability. The benefits are equivalent to about 50% of the former employee’s weekly work wage for the last eight weeks worked. The maximum benefit payment is capped at $150 a week, whether that’s long- or short-term disability benefits.

What should I know before applying for benefits?

You should know a few things before beginning the application process. You can not get benefits solely based on your doctor saying you are disabled; the SSA has a strict definition of disability, so to be considered disabled you must meet the criteria set by the SSA. You will receive an interview with a Social Security Representative, this will either take place over the phone or in your local Social Security Office. This interview will take at least 1 hour, but you can cut your interview time in half by having all the necessary documents on hand. You should also apply for these benefits as soon as you become disabled, as there are mandatory waiting periods involved in the process—the sooner you apply the better.

Can I submit an online application?

Fortunately, we have a couple of ways to apply for Social Security Benefits. You can apply with a physical copy on paper, or you can apply online. The best way to go about applying is to first see if you are eligible to apply. Then, gather all the necessary information needed to apply.

The necessary items to have on hand and ready for applying are:

  • Birth and citizenship records
  • Marriage or divorce information
  • Names and birthdates of all children
  • U.S. Military Service Information
  • Employment records (for the current year and previous 2 years)
  • Bank information (including direct deposit information)
  • Name and contact info so someone can help you with the disability claim
  • Contact information for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics you have been seen or treated at
  • Job history regarding when the disability began and you became unable to work
  • Your education and training information

These will help the application process go by much quicker and more efficiently. Then you can go to the application page for Social Security Benefits, and complete the application process. After that, submit the completed application, and an NYS Division of Disability Determinations will review your application and decide whether or not you are eligible for benefits.

Can you work while on disability in New York?

Once you have received Social Security Benefits, you are allowed what is called a trial period of up to nine months total over a five-year period to work. This means eligible employees are allowed job protection for this amount of time and still receive disability benefits. This testing period also allows individuals to test their strength and endurance in the work field to see if they are able to return to work without risking the loss of benefits.

How can Trajector help me?

Here at Trajector, we are here to help those who are struggling with disability get the medical and financial help they legally deserve. We know it can be hard or intimidating to get benefits, and we aim to help alleviate any of the additional stress that can come with applying for your benefits. We understand that it can be a very draining and emotional process and seek to help every individual client on a real and personal level.

We empathize with those who have had a difficult time trying to receive benefits and aim to help alleviate these struggles by helping navigate what may seem to be a very complicated and drawn-out process. That’s why we offer legal advice and additional resources to any qualified applicants looking for Social Security Disability benefits in New York State or anywhere in the United States.

A Guide to SSI Benefits for Children with Disabilities


Caregivers of children with disabilities can be financially and emotionally strained, not to mention overworked. These young people often require extra care, not just from their parents and schools but also from physicians and therapists. Special equipment, like wheelchairs and hearing aids, can be expensive, so parents of disabled children might wonder what family benefits are available and how to qualify for them. To receive protection under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, you need to know eligibility requirements and income guidelines. This article will explain how to qualify and apply for SSI disability benefits for children and how Trajector can help you get started.

Can children qualify for SSI?

In most cases, low-income children and young adults with disabilities qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and cash assistance. As a program administered by the Social Security Administration, SSI is not only available to young ones who qualify for the disability program but also to certain foster children placed under foster care with an approved adoption agency or adoptive parents. The rules and regulations for eligibility are slightly different in each situation.

What might qualify a child for social security disability insurance?

Consideration for children’s SSI benefits differs slightly from the general disability criteria. When applying for a child who is disabled, the standards for meeting SSI requirements are strict. As a parent with limited income, your little one must have a medically determinable severe impairment that will last at least 12 months or result in death. Some of the most common types of disabilities related to children that the social security benefit covers include:

  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • mental retardation
  • blindness or visual impairment
  • deafness or hearing impairments
  • speech disabilities
  • neurological disorders
  • cancer, heart condition, or respiratory disorders

Read this article for more information about what qualifies as a disability for a child.

How much money can you receive to take care of a disabled dependent?

Social Security offers cash benefits to families caring for severely disabled dependents. One parent can usually receive up to $914 per month, and a married couple can receive up to $1,371 per month. Benefits for dependents with disabilities vary by state, so the amount received will depend on where you live. Also, the SSI disability benefit the family is entitled to is subject to any countable income your disabled child receives from other sources. Take that into consideration when applying.

How do you apply for disability on behalf of a child?

Once you’re confident that your child meets the childhood disability SSI eligibility criteria for a severe medical condition, begin putting together the necessary documentation to establish their disability. A medical opinion by a doctor, a diagnosis of the child’s disease, and evidence of how it affects your child’s educational and developmental progress are needed. Then you can inform the Social Security Administration that you want to apply for SSI for your qualifying child. Alternatively, call them at 1-800-772-1213 and ask to file for disability for your child.


Here’s our extensive guide on how to file for disability.

Is it hard to get approved for child benefits?

Yes, this is an all-around tough process. A denied disability claim is usually not always the fault of the applicant. Not all children with disabilities are eligible for benefits, and not all eligible children are approved or have a correct account. Strict interpretation of disability, income limit criteria, and lengthy paperwork mean you must jump many hurdles to get the support you need. You will likely be rejected at least once, so don’t get discouraged! Take another look at your application and ensure you’ve followed the instructions carefully.

Does the SSA qualify ADHD as a childhood disability?

Yes. SSA recognizes ADHD as a Neurodevelopmental Disorder under the umbrella of mental health disorders for which Social Security disability benefits are available. More specifically, if severe functional limitations cause marked restrictions in primary aspects of life, the SSI benefits for children with ADHD can be approved. Remember, though, that it is up to the SSA’s discretion whether or not a minor deserves coverage. So the SSI payment is not guaranteed no matter how qualified you are as an applicant.

Do mental illnesses qualify as childhood disabilities?

Yes. The SSA has to come up with a decision on how to classify your child’s disability. The Blue Book of Mental Disorders includes schizophrenia, bipolar depression, autism, and other mental health conditions that psychiatrists commonly treat. Since mental illness is a psychological or behavioral disorder that seriously affects a person’s thinking, feeling, and mood, the SSA will likely accept it as a childhood disability. While the SSA considers what qualifies as an extreme dysfunction on a case-by-case basis, mental illness would probably be eligible.

How will I know if my child is approved for SSI?

SSA will write you a letter that includes their decision. Typically, it takes 3 to 5 months to receive this notice. Sometimes they will contact you to clarify or get more information. If you disagree with their determination, you can request a hearing to dispute the matter. Within 60 days of receiving the letter of disapproval, you must complain about the denial by filling out a complaint form or reaching out to a local Social Security office near you.

For how long will my child be able to collect SSI?

An SSI recipient will receive benefits until age 18 when the teenager becomes ineligible. Monthly payment amounts change each year. So it’s important to check the Social Security website for updates. Besides receiving SSI, the physically impaired or special needs child can qualify for other benefits. For example, Medicaid coverage, a health care program for low-income earners, can cover these children’s medical costs. Also, your child may qualify for special education programs available in your state.

How soon can survivor benefits be set up for a child?

As soon as the child’s parent passes, the surviving spouse or guardian can make a formal request on behalf of the child to access the financial aid cover. Immediate survivor benefits may not be available for the month of the parent’s death because records need to be processed and approved. Automatic payment cannot happen right away. How quickly the Social Security Administration grants or disburses the benefits depends on various factors, such as the time it takes to receive the required documentation and review the suitability of the case.

What should I know before applying for disability for my child?

  1. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) funds the child support, medical, and living expenses of disabled children from low-income families.
  2. Children with disabilities are eligible for other government assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) under the Social Security Act, depending on their needs and circumstances.
  3. Apart from Medicaid services, a child who has a disability and needs additional assistance may also qualify for health insurance under a State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or an equivalent program like the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) or the US Family Health Plan (USFHP) and the National Guard or Reserve Members and Families health plan.

How can Trajector help me?

Trajector will work with you to explore all possible paths to obtaining government or private health insurance for your children. By working with a physician and allied health specialist, Trajector can assist in gathering the medical evidence needed to qualify for medical and physical therapy benefits.

A special needs child’s parent with low income and limited resources stands a better chance of gaining from a support system if they have a professional advocate to guide them through the perplexities of the medical assistance system.

Trajector represents families at all levels of appeal, helping them to gain approval with the Department of Human Services while working with the family to pursue maximum medical or financial compensation from insurance companies.

Government Benefits for Seniors Over 65

Whether it’s government benefits or financial assistance, finding the right benefits for senior citizens is challenging, especially with the influx of confusing information out there.

In this short guide, we’ll discuss all you need to know about government benefits and list the available benefits for seniors in the United States.

What are all the available benefits for senior citizens?

There are many benefits for senior citizens over 65.

These programs offer reduced or free cost options, including:

  • Health care
  • Housing assistance
  • Transportation services
  • Food and dining
  • Recreational activities

Some of these programs include:

Social security Administration

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a government agency that offers financial support to American seniors who are over 65.

The funding source is payroll taxes withheld from the paycheck of working Americans.

The Social Security Administration tracks everyone that pays into the system.

This ensures seniors have sufficient retirement savings by investing the money into special securities systems accessible through specific programs like the Medicare savings program and social security retirement insurance benefits.

Reverse Mortgage Program 

Seniors who meet the requirements of the Reverse Mortgage program may qualify for a guaranteed monthly income payment. The requirements include the following:

  • Minimum age 62
  • Have their home
  • Have reasonable Value in home equity

The most appealing feature of the HUD Reverse Mortgage program is that as long as they reside in their home, older homeowners don’t have to:

  • Repay the money received from the program; or
  • Pay for interest on it


Retirees don’t have to worry about their health coverage or the expensive cost of insurance plans. Thanks to Medicare – one of the most popular federal government programs for seniors.

Here’s how Medicare works:

Medicare Part A offers hospital insurance that is free of charge for most retirees.

Medicare Part B offers medical care and doctor’s visit at $148.50 monthly- some retirees may pay more.

Medicare Part B premiums can be removed from the beneficiary’s security payment, meaning there’s no bill.

Some Retirees may qualify for supplemental Medicare Part D, meaning that the Government covers the prescription cost.

These senior benefits can help people above 65 live a healthy and financially secure life.

Other additional benefits for seniors above 65 are:

  • Social security disability insurance (SSDI)
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

What are medical flex cards, and how do I get one? 

A Medicare flex card is a debit card preloaded with a specific amount of money designed to cover certain health expenses.

Despite being called the Medicare flex card, this card is not issued by Medicare. But, a promotional process from private health insurance companies encourages people to apply for their Medicare plans.

Getting a medicare flex card starts with knowing the right private health insurance provider that gives away this card to encourage people to sign up for their Medicare Advantage Plans.

The flex card is scarce despite the recent uptick in internet advert.

For instance, the card may be offered by a specific private insurance company in a state and only available for customers who meet specific criteria and are on a select plan.

To apply for this card, contact a Medicare Advantage provider. Ask for information about the amount available, services covered, etc.

What are the criteria for senior benefits? 

Individuals classified as seniors have different eligibility requirements for receiving disability benefits. However, the employment requirements do not determine them.

To become eligible for senior benefits, you must be over 60 (assuming you pass other eligibility areas like the citizenship requirements).

The resource and income limits are higher to enable seniors to live comfortably.

In some cases, individuals above 60 must be unemployed to receive these benefits (although they may still be working). That’s why it’s important to know when to apply for social security.

Other programs are designed for seniors, depending on their location and eligibility.

These programs are funded through state and federal programs but run through local agencies like food banks and social service agencies.

To become eligible as a disabled senior, there are some options.

These programs have strict eligibility requirements and lots of documentation.

However, once a disability application is approved under SSI or a related state program, you can become approved for other disability services and programs.

When your application is approved, the SSA will assign a caseworker. A caseworker can help apply for other programs. In addition, you can assign someone to represent you for meetings or interviews regarding your benefits.

How much do you receive in monthly retirement payments?

It’s difficult to predict how much a senior can receive in monthly retirement payments.

The average social security benefits are expected to reach $1,827 per month in 2023. The highest possible social security benefit for a senior who retires at the full retirement age is expected to be $3,627 in 2023.

Can you work while receiving social security benefits? 

One of the most common questions among people is whether social security counts as income and whether an individual may work while receiving benefits.

It is still possible to get social security retirement and work simultaneously. However, remember that there’s a limit to how much they can receive.

SSI may reduce their benefit if a senior is younger than the full retirement age and earns above the yearly earning limit.

If they’re under full retirement age for the whole year, $1 will be deducted from the benefit payment for every $2 they earn above the yearly limit. The limit for 2022 is $19,560.

If their earnings are above the limit for the year and they’ll receive retirement benefits for some parts of the year, some special rules apply to earning for a year. For example, the special security disability rules after 50 allow social security to pay a full advantage for any month they consider you retired, irrespective of the individual’s yearly earnings.

How long does it take to get approved for senior benefits?

The social security approval process can be speedy, but because it is a government program with many applicants, waiting for up to six weeks to get approval is normal.

Remember that this timeframe only applies if everything works as expected.

Suppose your application contains incorrect information, such as an error in your social security number or birth date. In that case, you can expect a denial and start the whole process again.

Remember that non retirement social security benefits like disability may take up to 5 months for approval.

How Trajector can help me 

Trajector is committed to helping older Americans receive their entitled benefits on time.

With over 45 million American seniors above the age of 65 and more retiring and aging out every year, using the help of a benefits expert is a good step.

Trajectory works with industry professionals to support the legal protection and care that older adults desire.

How Much Money Can You Make on Social Security?

Millions of people rely on Social Security earnings during retirement or at least to supplement their retirement benefits, sometimes even before retirement age. But how much money can you make on Social Security, and how long does it last?

Keep reading to learn about Social Security income and eligibility requirements, including the retirement age and how it works.

How Much Can You Earn While Receiving Social Security?

How much Social Security you earn depends on your lifetime income. Of course, the more money you make while working, the more you’ll receive from the Social Security monthly benefit, but the retirement age you take benefits plays a role too.

Each year, the maximum Federal Supplemental Security Income payment adjusts with the cost of living. This is the maximum amount of earnings anyone can receive each year, but the amount you receive depends on certain factors.

How Much Does the Average Person Receive from Social Security?

For 2023, the Social Security amounts for eligible individuals are $914 and $1,371 for an individual with a spouse. These amounts are inflation-protected and adjust annually to ensure Americans have adequate retirement benefits.

What do the Social Security Amounts Depend on, and How Will I Know What I’ll Receive?

The first and most important factor the Social Security Administration considers for eligibility is if you are of full retirement age. Full Retirement Age (FRA) is the age you’ll receive 100% of your benefits and is 66 if you were born between 1943 – 1954. After that, the full retirement age increases by two months for each year you were born after 1954; for anyone born after 1960, the full retirement age is 67.

If you retire before your Full Retirement Age, you’ll receive a percentage of your full benefit, depending on the age you take it.

Since each situation differs, the only way to tell how much you’ll get is to use the My Social Security Account tool to determine your current and future earnings.

Can you Work While Living on Social Security Retirement Funds?

You can work while on Social Security and earn an income, but to be considered ‘fully retired,’ your wages must not exceed the annual earnings limit. The Social Security Administration adjusts the earnings caps each year based on the national wage trends. 

Does Income Affect your Social Security Benefits?

If your income exceeds the annual earnings cap for Social Security benefits, you’ll lose $1 of retirement benefits for every $2 your income exceeds the cap.

For example, if your wages are $5,000 more than the earnings cap, you’ll lose $2,500 in annual Social Security benefits or $416.67 per month. Remember that the monthly cap pertains to your gross income, not income after taxes.

How Much Money can you Make on Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability is insurance you pay into during your working years that the Social Security Administration handles. If you become disabled and can no longer work, you might earn Social Security Disability Insurance pay for yourself and your dependents. You don’t have to be of full retirement age. Still, the disability must last for over a year and prevent you from doing your current work or adjusting work to accommodate your disability.

The average person in 2022 on disability received $1,358 per month in disability earnings, and the maximum amount anyone could receive is a $3,345 monthly benefit. How much you receive greatly depends on how much you’ve earned up until you were disabled.

Is Social Security Enough to Keep me Living Comfortably or Cover my Medical Bills?

The average monthly Social Security benefit is $1,547.87 per month, including those receiving Social Security Disability insurance benefits. Social Security might be enough to keep you comfortable without a housing payment and below-average living expenses, but then there are medical bills.

You aren’t eligible for Medicare until age 65, and the free portion of Medicare only covers basic hospitalization. It doesn’t cover doctor’s visits, medicine, or other treatments. Medicare Part B has a premium, as does Part D, if you want prescription coverage.  

Social Security income is meant to supplement your retirement savings rather than be your sole source of income.

Do you Pay Taxes on Social Security?

You don’t automatically pay taxes on Social Security income earnings. It depends on a few factors:

  • If you file taxes individually and have a combined income of over $25,000, you’ll pay income tax on SSI benefits
  • If you file taxes jointly and have a combined income of over $32,000, you’ll pay income tax on SSI benefits

Your combined income includes your adjusted gross income from work, investments, or any businesses plus one-half of your Social Security income.

Does Social Security Count as Income?

You must report your Social Security income on your tax returns, on line 6b of the 1040, whether or not you’ve reached full retirement age. This doesn’t mean your income is immediately taxable, though. It’s only taxable if your income, including Social Security, exceeds the limits above.

When do you Stop Receiving Social Security?

Social Security benefits last for as long as you live. You can outlive your retirement funds and savings, but you’ll never have to worry about losing Social Security income, even if you take your earnings before your full retirement age.

How can Trajector Help Me?

Getting your Social Security benefits can feel overwhelming and confusing. Many people give up on the process because they don’t understand what they’re entitled to and what the Social Security Administration needs, especially if they need Social Security Disability benefits and not benefits because they’ve reached retirement age.

Trajector can help you through the process, ensuring you have all the evidence needed to obtain the SSI you deserve. No one should fight the battle alone or feel like they don’t deserve the benefits. You worked for them, and we will help you get them.

Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Considered a Disability?

Rheumatoid arthritis disability (RA) is often misleadingly linked to simply aging. On the contrary, RA is an autoimmune disease. While it’s more common in the elderly due to the natural deterioration of our bones and joints, RA affects up to two percent of the world’s population. Moreover, it doesn’t discriminate on age-it can also affect younger people’s lives.

RA is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can lead to functional disability. As with all autoimmune diseases, the condition appears when your body’s defense works against you rather than for you. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help prevent your chances of developing RA. Still, genetics play a massive part in this condition, so there’s no surefire way to prevent or stop the onset should you be unfortunate enough to be struck with the disease.

RA symptoms to look out for if you suspect you might have arthritis would be pain and swelling in your fingers and toes, but you may also experience joint pain in the knees, elbows, shoulders, ankles, wrists, thighs, and spine. This is because RA impacts the synovial fluid around the joints, which causes them to become inflamed, and may lead to deterioration of the bone, joint damage, and eventually, in severe cases, can result in permanent disfigurement.

Once diagnosed with this medical condition, it’s possible to stem the tide of RA by building muscle around the affected areas, maintaining healthy body weight, and engaging in regular low-impact exercise.

Is rheumatoid arthritis a disability?

It entirely depends on the extent that you suffer from arthritis as to whether it will be considered a work disability or not in the eyes of the SSA. For the SSA to consider RA a valid disability, then you would have to prove that the severity of your arthritis precludes you from being able to work. This includes not being able to perform sedentary occupations like working at a desk job.

In short, if you can demonstrate that you have difficulties in performing everyday tasks, which prevent you from holding down a full-time job, then the SSA will consider your medical condition a work disability.

Can you work with rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a long term disability, and although there are no cures for it, it’s not a death sentence. You cannot die from RA, but it can certainly impact your quality of life and perhaps your ability to work. Another myth is that a patient will get gradually worse with time. While this can often be true, it’s never a foregone conclusion, and actually, there may be no degeneration at all. In some cases, a patient can see their RA improve significantly over time with the right diet, exercise, and treatment.

Nobody dreams of staying home watching daytime television all day, so if you’re asking yourself if you can work with rheumatoid arthritis, no one will blame you. The answer is, of course, determined by how your condition disrupts your ability to perform routine tasks.

Therefore, should your condition be mild enough, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to work. On the contrary, you will be expected to work if the disease isn’t severe enough. This is known as substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Substantial gainful activity is defined as work that (1) involves doing significant and productive mental or physical activity and (2) is done for pay or profit.

If you suffer from severe fatigue, struggle with common tasks, or experience pain while performing routine work duties and daily activities, whether working in a physically active role or even in a sedentary position. It may not be a choice whether you can work or not. In this case, it would be inevitable that you would have to apply for Social Security Disability (SSD).

 Your eligibility for social security disability insurance

So what conditions automatically qualify you for disability[1]? Among the types of conditions automatically entitled to SSD are musculoskeletal problems and autoimmune disease, meaning conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis qualify. 

You may be eligible for SSD Rheumatoid Arthritis benefit if you fulfill the criteria laid down in the Social Security Administration blue book listing 14.0 and can provide the medical evidence required, such as medical records history, physical examination report, or laboratory reports as necessary.

Beyond proving that your condition precludes you from working in a full-time job, there are still a number of hurdles you have to face, such as your annual income, the disease duration, the length of time you’ve been employed, and the requisite amount of work credits next to your name.

How much in benefits can I receive if I qualify?

If entitled to SSDI benefits, then you may be awarded up to $40k per annum. The final sum will depend on your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) and how much social security you have paid on your income to date.

You may still be entitled to receive benefits if you are able to work a little bit. This is, of course, dependent on how much you earn. If your SGA falls below the set threshold, then you may still be able to apply.

How do you apply for disability?

First of all, consult the bluebook to determine whether your condition meets the requirements for social security disability benefits. It’s then recommended to make an appointment with your family physician to establish the medical evidence needed to submit your disability claim. You will then need to contact the SSA to apply, which can be done online, over the phone at 1-800-772-1213, or by going to your local SSA office if you prefer to speak to someone face-to-face. You may also find it beneficial to consult a disability lawyer such as Trajector to oversee your claim and take the pain out of the process.

How can Trajector help me?

Social security benefits can be a minefield to navigate, and a staggering 70% of applications submitted for social security disability benefits are initially rejected every year. Trajector boasts over 20 years of experience facilitating the disability application process, with our experts providing specialist guidance and support to our clients, so they receive what they are legally and ethically entitled to.

SSI Restoration Act

In June 2021, Sherrod Brown reintroduced the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act to bring the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program up to date. The federal SSI program provides nearly 8 million Americans who are elderly, disabled, or with limited resources with income assistance to provide basic needs. However, the program is long overdue for an update, since the SSI benefits received are only a fraction of what is needed to live on. 

Senator Brown said: “The promise of Social Security is to ensure that no one in America should live in poverty—least of all our nation’s seniors and people with disabilities…Congress must prioritize these long-overdue reforms as part of upcoming recovery legislation.” 

Brown called on the Biden Administration to make some much-needed changes to the SSI program, many elements supported by many other politicians, including President Biden. The bill is sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Robert Casey (D-PA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tina Smith (D-MN).

The bill has also been endorsed by Justice in Aging, AARP, AFL-CIO, AFSCME Retirees, Easter Seals, United Auto Workers (UAW), Leading Age, Homeless Action Center, Medicare Rights Center, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Center for Law & Economic Justice, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), National Council on Aging, National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Women’s Law Center, New York Legal Assistance Group, Social Security Works, Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE), Strengthen Social Security Coalition, the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, and more.

The Restoration Act comprises many elements, all designed to improve the living situation of those receiving SSI benefits. Some of these changes include:

  • Raising SSI benefits to $794, a 31% increase from $585, to keep up with inflation.
  • Eliminate benefit reductions from those receiving in-kind assistance from friends or family for living expenses.
  • Eliminate the marriage penalty, which will allow couples to have double the benefits of an individual instead of just 1.5 the amount an individual would receive.
  • Update the assets individuals/couples may have while receiving benefits, which haven’t been updated since 1989.
  • Update the SSI income rules, which haven’t been updated since the law was passed in 1972. 

Changes for 2022

While the Restoration Act was designed to help SSI beneficiaries in many ways, 2022 has also brought a cost of living adjustment (COLA) change on basic needs. As of January 2022, there is a 5.9% cost of living adjustment (COLA). COLA is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year, and is designed to prevent inflation from draining any benefits you would receive and keeping SSI recipients above the Federal poverty line. COLA hasn’t previously been this high since 1982, only coming close in 2009. The income cap has also been raised for both workers under the retirement age, and those of the retirement age. 

The President has also signed an executive order, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The Executive Order requires all Federal agencies “to pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and other people who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.” This order will increase the collection of minority data, expand options for service delivery, decrease burdens of those who identify as gender diverse or transgender, ensure equitable access for unrepresented claimants in the disability application process, and more.

Lastly, Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced 12 new Compassionate Allowances conditions. This program is designed to accelerate claims for those with a condition or disease which meets Social Security’s statutory standard for disability. These claims are often allowed based on medical diagnosis alone because of the severe nature of these conditions. More than 800,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this accelerated, policy-compliant disability process, which has grown to 266 conditions.

How Can Trajector Help Me?

Securing disability benefits can be a long and complicated journey, and Trajector is here to help. They help the disabled and at-risk population receive the benefits they are medically, legally, and ethically owed. Trajector can help you with cases about personal injury, disability, mental or physical health, insurance, homelessness, and more. For more information, visit Trajector to see if they’re a good fit for you.

How Many Hours Can You Work On SSI?

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income, which are monthly benefits to people with limited income, people who are disabled, or people over the age of 65. It’s important to note that SSI and Social Security Benefits are two different things. Social Security Benefits are based on your prior work and are received after retirement, and SSI is for those who are disabled or with low income.

How Much are SSI Benefits?

Benefit amounts can change yearly, or according to your situation (disabilities, child support, long-term care, etc.). As of 2022, the Federal Benefit Rate is $841 for an individual and $1,261 for a couple. However, some states offer state supplemental payments in addition to SSI. 

Can You Work While on SSI?

Yes, you can work. However, the amount you work each month will be deducted from your SSI monthly benefits. If you choose to work, it’s important to report your total monthly income to the Social Security Administration. If you don’t, you could be overpaid, then have to repay your SSI money. In worst-case scenarios, you could be accused of fraud and may face criminal prosecution. 

How Do I Report My Earnings to the Social Security Administration?

If you are working, make sure that you copy every pay stub you receive and either mail it or drop it off at the Social Security Administration office. Make sure they stamp each pay stub so you have proof that you have reported them.

How Many Hours Can I Work on SSI?

The Social Security Administration will limit your benefits if you work, and here’s how. First, they will disregard the first $65 you make every month. If you make less than that, your benefits will not change. However, any money you make above the $65 line will be reduced from your SSI benefits by half. For example, if you make $165 a month, only $50 will be deducted from your SSI benefits. 

What if You Work While Disabled?

If you are disabled, some out-of-pocket expenses for certain items may be deducted from your income, which means they won’t be subtracted from your benefits. These items can be for your work, or for your day-to-day activities, such as medications, counseling, wheelchairs, car modifications, software applications, computer support systems, and more. 

What is SGA?

SGA stands for Substantial Gainful Activity, which describes a level of work activity and earnings. The SGA limit does not mean you work full-time; it means you can perform significant physical and/or mental activities to help you obtain income. If you are earning more than $1,350 per month, you are not considered disabled. If you are blind, there is a higher SGA limit of $2,260. 

What if You Receive an Overpayment Notice?

An overpayment is when you receive more money for a month than you should have received. This typically happens when you fail to report your income, or report it late. However, this can also come with a change in living situations, marital status, you have more resources than the allowable limit, etc. You will typically be notified by mail and must repay the excess balance within the month. If you feel like the overpayment was a mistake, you can request a reconsideration and appeal it. If you cannot pay the amount back, there are some scenarios where you can request a waiver. 

How Does SSI Affect My Other Programs?

In most states, if you receive SSI, you are eligible for Medicaid, and the application is the same. If you are in a state that does not offer them together, you can apply for Medicaid separately. If you receive SSI, then you are usually eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which allows you to purchase food. It is worth applying online or at your local Social Security office. In the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, each state determines their own eligibility rules. Typically if you are in the TANF program, you will only receive SSI if you are disabled, blind, or over 65.

How Can Trajector Help Me?

Securing disability benefits can be a long and complicated journey, and Trajector is here to help. They help the disabled and at-risk population receive the benefits they are medically, legally, and ethically owed. Trajector can help you with cases about personal injury, disability, mental or physical health, insurance, homelessness, and more. For more information, visit Trajector to see if they’re a good fit for you. We provide additional resources to help SSI recipients find the care and answers they need.

What Benefits Can Families Of Veterans Have?

Special honor is given to those who have rendered active duty and military service during the war. In several cases, a veteran is left with a disability or impairment that affects how the veteran’s daily activities. Many of them need the support of their family members or a caregiver to deal with day-to-day activities. 

The US Department of Veterans Affairs is dedicated to serving and catering to the needs of veterans and their dependents and carers. Veterans may avail of veteran or VA benefits, but they may also qualify for disability benefits if they face any disability related to the veteran’s service. VA benefits, specifically, extend to their spouse and children as well. 

Who Can Access VA Benefits?

While veterans are eligible for benefits, such benefits extend to their families (the veteran’s spouse and dependent child). Those who care for veterans can also be granted support to help them do the job better. 

Do veterans’ children receive benefits?

A veteran’s dependents (spouse and children) can qualify for veteran/VA benefits. These veterans’ children’s benefits and spouse benefits can include health care aid, tuition assistance, or other forms of financial aid. 

How About Those Who Take Care Of Veterans?


Those who take care of veterans may also avail benefits that help them care for them more effectively. On top of that, caretakers also get benefits directly for themselves. 

How do I know if I am eligible?

If you are a veteran or the spouse, child, or carer of veterans, how do you know if you are eligible for these benefits? 

The eligibility requirements may differ depending on the veteran’s benefits and on the case for each veteran. 

The US Department of Veterans Affairs official site lists eligibility requirements for the specific benefit. 

Eligibility for health care benefits

For health care benefits, for example, these are the conditions for eligibility. 

  1. If the veteran’s enlistment date is after September 7, 1980, or if the veteran started active duty after October 16, 1981 
  2. The minimum duty requirement does not apply if the following conditions are true: 
  • Discharged due to disability that was caused or aggravated by active duty
  • Discharged due to difficulty or “early out” 
  • Was an active service member before September 7, 1980
  1. If the person is currently or formerly a service member for the selected reserve or National Guard 

Eligibility for disability compensation

Disability compensation is also available if these conditions for eligibility are met.

  1. The veteran’s current injury or illness impacts the body or mind.
  2.  The veteran served inactive duty training, active duty for training, or active duty. 

Both of these two conditions must be met. If only one is satisfied, eligibility is not possible. 

While those two are non-negotiable conditions, at least one of the following conditions should also be met. 

  1. The former service member got an injury or sickness during military service. This condition can be connected to current injury or illness (also known as Inservice Disability Claim) 
  2. The veteran had an injury or sickness before joining the military, and service with the army aggravated the condition (also known as Preservice Disability Claim).
  3. The veteran got a disability that is directly related to active duty service. However, this condition did not appear until after the term of service (also known as Postservice Disability claim) 

What is available to the family of those who have served?

According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, the benefits for the dependents (spouse, children, and survivors) include the following.

  • Health care
  • Educational benefits (tuition and other forms of aid under the GI bill) 
  • Employment
  • Home loans
  • Financial Counseling
  • Options for life insurance
  • Burial in a VA national cemetery (for the eligible veteran)
  • Survivors pension
  • Compensation for survivors

How can I access dependent benefits?

Similar to the case for eligibility, the process of availing these benefits and accessing claims varies from case to case. While there is a VA form that the veteran has to fill up, claiming a health benefit, education benefit, or a different kind of benefit has a special process.

Hence, it is important for you first to know your eligibility and then proceed with the actual application process. 

Applying for VA health care

The application process for health benefits is online through the US Department of Veteran Affairs official site. However, before proceeding with the application, you should prepare the following. 

  • Social Security identification numbers of the veteran, spouse, and eligible dependents
  • DD214 (military discharge paper) or other valid separation documents 
  • Card information for all affiliated insurances of the veteran or the veteran’s spouse 
  • Gross household income during the previous calendar for the veteran, spouse, and dependents 
  • Deductible expenses during the previous year (i.e. health expenses, education costs) 

The veteran or the one proceeding with the application should have this information before starting the application process. 

Claiming disability compensation

If you are eligible for disability compensation, you can apply to claim this compensation online, by mail, in person, or by tapping a professional. 

Before proceeding, however, you must ensure that you have evidence to support your claims for eligibility to make things easier. These could be public or private hospital records that reveal your condition and statements from family members, relatives, friends, clergy members, law enforcement personnel, and fellow veterans. These statements and documents should give insight into the condition and how it worsened. 

While submitting evidence is not required, the US Department of Veterans Affairs may conduct a claim exam to know more about your condition. 

If you plan to process these claims through paper, it may help if you pass an “Intent to File” form first. Submitting this file will allow you time to collect evidence without delaying the start date or effective date. With an intent to file, it is also possible to obtain retroactive payments or compensations for the past months. 

The road to a successful claim 

Processing and applying are quite tedious processes. What makes things worse, however, is the possibility of rejection. Even if you file your claim and apply for benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs may reject your claims. 

How can Trajector help me?

We at Trajector can help you face this problem by guiding you through the application process and serving as your legal representative. Our team at Trajector Medical, Trajector Disability, and Trajector Legal can work with you to process your application and claims for veteran benefits. 

With us, you can rest assured that your claims have higher chances of success.

California Pregnancy Disability Leave

What is pregnancy leave?

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! (Or, maybe someone you know is, and you’re reading this to help them.)

Pregnancy is an exciting but also a difficult time in many ways, especially for the women who are expecting. Pregnancy and childbirth can sometimes exacerbate existing medical conditions, or even cause entirely new and unexpected ones to appear. I can make things that used to be simple and easy a difficult or even dangerous process. This is especially true for women who are involved in work that might cause some danger to them or their baby.

Fortunately, that’s where pregnancy leave comes into play. Like other forms of medical leave or disability leave, pregnancy disability leave is a program that provides pregnant people with some financial benefits while they are pregnant and can no longer fulfill their normal work duties safely.

Since pregnancy can qualify as a temporary form of disability, especially in the later months, systems are in place in California and other locations to help those who might experience a loss in income during part of their pregnancy.

How can I apply for pregnancy disability leave?

Parental leave isn’t quite the same as sick leave, but the application process is similar. It requires medical approval from a doctor stating that you shouldn’t be working during the pregnancy; this statement ensures fair employment and treatment throughout the pregnancy, childbirth, and bonding time with the child.

The disability application process should begin as soon as your medical provider asserts that you should no longer be working due to your pregnancy, that your normal job requirements would no longer be safe while you are pregnant, or when they certify that you need to limit your hours of work due to a pregnancy-related disability.

You will want to speak with your healthcare professional (who must be a licensed professional) about your normal work duties and make sure that they are aware of anything that could impact your health or your baby’s health during pregnancy; you can ask them specifically if you think you might qualify for pregnancy disability leave or that you will need it.

Your healthcare advisor should be able to provide you with the certifications you need and point you in the right direction to start your application so that you can begin receiving benefits.

What are the benefits of pregnancy leave for California employees?

California pregnancy disability leave benefits normally cover the 4 weeks before your expected delivery and the 6 to 8 weeks directly afterward, as you recover. However, some cases will be different, with longer periods of time possible for this coverage. It all depends on many factors, such as where you work, what you do there, your health and the baby’s condition, any pre-existing risk factors, and your medical professional’s advice.

For those who would not safely be able to work in their normal jobs before that 4-week period begins, benefits may start earlier; on the other hand, for those experiencing medical complications after the delivery, benefits may extend after the typical recovery period. 

Does California offer maternity leave?

Yes, California law offers eligible pregnant employees maternity leave, though not under that specific name. California’s Paid Family Leave is parental bonding leave for a new child (among other events, such as caring for a seriously ill family member). Paid Family Leave is different from pregnancy disability leave—it is there to give you some time to take care of and bond with your newborn(s).

Suppose you apply for it and your application is accepted. In that case, Paid Family Leave provides paid leave for up to 8 weeks, with the payments offering from 60 to 70 percent of your pre-leave income with the last 5 to 18 months; this leave won’t fully cover your wages, but it can be much better than nothing when you need to take some additional time off from work.

If you have been receiving pregnancy disability leave benefits, you should receive information about applying for Paid Family Leave once your last check for disability pay has arrived. Whether you automatically get that information or not, this second kind of leave can begin once your period of recovery ends, and your healthcare professional says that your pregnancy-related disability will no longer impede your work. 

Unfortunately, Paid Family Leave does not automatically provide job protection from pregnancy discrimination, meaning that some employers will not be obligated to offer you back your job once your leave is over.

To prevent wrongful termination, make sure that you know what the rules are with your employer beforehand. Also, you can see if your job might be protected under other California laws, such as the Family Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act as job-protected leave (or CFRA leave). Female employees might also consider seeing if they qualify for state disability insurance related to childbirth.

How can Trajector help me?

Like many legal and financial fields, navigating the complexity of disability benefits, including pregnancy disability leave and other temporary conditions, can be a daunting task, especially for those of us with little or no background in those areas of expertise. Misunderstandings, loopholes, and simple mistakes can mean that those who should qualify for benefits will not always receive them as easily as they should. What can be done if you end up in this kind of situation? Fortunately, there are professionals ready to offer their assistance.

Trajector is a company dedicated to helping people receive the disability benefits they qualify for, whether those benefits come from government or private entities.  Trajector helps their clients navigate this complexity to help them receive the necessary benefits. 

If you aren’t sure where to begin with your journey to receive your disability benefits, or if you are already in the midst of that journey and are looking for professional support, consider getting in touch with Trajector today to see how they can help you.