People with Disabilities Could Have New Chance for Benefits with $8 Million In NYS Legal Help

Many New Yorkers are denied when they apply for federal disability assistance.
Audio, News Story (New York)

Chris Bolt, Elana Sukert
WAER (Syracuse, New York)
August 19, 2016

Tags: Disability Benefits, Funding: State & Local

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York


Dan Altwarg is senior managing attorney at Legal Aid Society of Mid- New York which helps a broad range of people navigate those waters.

“A lot of the clients that we serve have never been in a judicial or an administrative setting before, they have never been in front of a judge before, therefore it is very overwhelming for a client. The other concern with the Social Security process is the very very long time it takes to get a determination.”

Hearings can be scheduled 18 – 22 months after an appeal and it can take up to a year to develop the case. Altwarg says he sees clients as young as a year or two and up to 65. Some have mental or physical disabilities they’re born with, others get injured and can’t work, including conditions such as PTSD in returning military service men and women.