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Social Security Disability Benefits

Each year, summer associates at many of New York’s top law firms, including Kaye Scholer, represent low-income clients with physical and/or mental disabilities who are seeking Social Security disability benefits. These matters are referred by The Legal Aid Society and are supervised by our mid-level and senior associates, providing them the opportunity to not only oversee a case from start to finish but also to serve as mentors and role models.


Disability Payments Secured for Two Mentally Impaired Daughters

For nearly five years, pro bono client BSQ had unsuccessfully sought disability benefits for her two daughters who both suffer from extensive psychiatric impairments, including post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders, which makes it difficult for them to function on a daily basis.

After filing briefs asking the Social Security Administration to review the denial of the girls’ claims, we served as BSQ’s legal counsel during the administrative hearings, including providing testimony from an impartial medical expert, who agreed that both girls suffered from severe and debilitating psychiatric symptoms. When the girls’ treating physicians supported that testimony, the administrative law judge reversed the ruling and granted the girls’ request for disability support. This ensures that BSQ has the financial support necessary to care for her daughters and get them the treatment they need.

Physically Disabled Former Hebrew School Instructor Wins SSI Claim

Client EP, a former Hebrew school instructor, suffered from a combination of physical and mental impairments and had been unable to work since 2005. We developed an extensive medical record cataloging his conditions and were successful in convincing the administrative law judge who presided over the case to find in favor of EP’s claim for SSI benefits.

Approval of Need Based on Annual Earnings / Number of Months Worked

We successfully appealed a denial of Social Security disability benefits in the Southern District of New York, when we helped a 62-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic obtain much-needed disability benefits. The judge agreed with our novel argument that monthly earnings should be calculated by dividing annual earnings by 12 months, rather than by the number of months actually worked, resulting in the plaintiff falling below the monthly earnings threshold that would have precluded benefits. Following the denial of its motion to amend, the government declined to appeal, rendering the decision final and returning disability benefits to our client, whose case had been open since 2001.