New York Disability: How to Qualify

New York Disability: 3 Ways to Get Monthly Benefits

If you become disabled in New York State, you have several options to get cash benefit payments while you heal or recover. Filing a claim with the state’s New York disability program is always your first course of action. Read on for information about how the state’s law works and what it can provide to you and your family. Then, we’ll review two federal programs that can pay long-term monthly benefits for permanent health issues.

How Does New York State’s Short-Term Disability Benefit Program Work?

New York is 1 of 5 states where employers must provide disability benefits coverage for off-the-job injuries or illnesses. NY state’s Disability and Paid Family Leave Benefits Law provides those weekly cash benefits. They should partially replace wages lost due to injuries or illnesses that occur while not performing your job duties.

  • ELIGIBILITY: If your disability starts while you qualify for or currently collect unemployment and it makes you ineligible to draw those payments, then you qualify for NY state disability.
  • REQUIREMENT: A physician, chiropractor, podiatrist, psychologist, dentist, or certified nurse midwife must treat you regularly to qualify for short-term New York disability.
  • AMOUNT: Disability benefits are cash-only and equal 50% of your average weekly wage for the last 8 work weeks. However, the maximum payment is $170/week.

Your employer or their insurer pays New York short-term disability benefits after a 7-day required waiting period. Under state law, those 7 days are unpaid time off.

In addition, New York disability payments through the state are:

  • Subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  • Paid for a maximum of 26 weeks during any 52-week period.
  • Not available to independent contractors because legally, they aren’t employees

You cannot collect disability benefits and Paid Family Leave at the same time. The total combined short-term disability and PFL in any 52-week period cannot exceed 26 weeks. Pregnant applicants can collect short-term disability benefits for 4 weeks before your due date and 6 weeks after giving birth. If you deliver by Caesarian section, you can collect for 8 weeks. You may qualify for up up the max 26 weeks of payments with documentation from your doctor.

What About Federal Programs Available to New York Disability Applicants?

Two federal benefit programs, SSI and SSDI, may pay you benefits if your disability has become long-term. Let’s review some frequently asked questions about these two programs:

How Federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits Work

The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages a federal benefits program that you can turn to when your disability becomes long-term. SSDI doesn’t cover temporary disabilities lasting less than a year.

Who’s Potentially Eligible for SSDI?

It’s important to understand that everyone who works isn’t automatically covered under the federal SSDI program. You are likely covered if:

  • You worked five in the last 10 years full-time at a job that withholds FICA taxes from every paycheck. Some people not eligible for SSDI include service-industry workers (bartenders, waitstaff); union members (teachers, firefighters) and federal or state employees. In addition, if you stopped working more than five years ago, you also won’t qualify for SSDI because once you stop paying your premiums for 60 continuous months, your coverage automatically lapses.
  • Your doctor says your condition will last for at least one year or result in your death. If your condition improves enough for you to start working again in less than 12 months, your claim will be denied.
  • You are at least 18 years old, but younger than 64. If you’re too young and haven’t earned 40 work credits, you might not qualify. Also, if you’re already at or past your full retirement age, then you’re no longer eligible for SSDI because SSDI converts into regular Social Security payments.

Time New York Disability Claimants Typically Wait for SSDI Approval

It takes the SSA approximately 3-5 months to review every SSDI claim and has a required five-month waiting period before you can get any SSDI benefits. Therefore, we recommend applying for state New York disability benefits first.

TIP #1: The SSA approves just 1 in 5 first-time claims from SSDI applicants. Further, just 35% of all SSDI applicants eventually get payments. This is why it’s smart to get a lawyer to help you file.

TIP #2: Make sure to have copies of your full medical records from your doctor to submit with your SSDI application. You need evidence that proves your condition stops you from working at least one year to qualify.

SSDI Pay Amounts & What to Expect After Approval

The maximum SSDI payment for 2022 is $3,345/month. That said, the average monthly SSDI benefit for disabled workers nationwide is $1,358/month. The SSA determines your benefit amount using your highest average wage earnings over a 35-year period.

SSDI payments aren’t permanent. The SSA re-checks your disability status every 3, 5 or 7 years until you reach full retirement age. When you turn 66 or 67 (depending on your birth year), SSDI automatically converts into regular Social Security.

How Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits Work

Haven’t worked 5 in the last 10 years full-time or aged 65+ with few assets? Then you may apply for SSI. Those payments max out at $841/month per person, or $1,261/month per couple.

NOTE: SSI has the strictest eligibility requirements of all three programs.

SSI medical eligibility requirements are the same as for SSDI, but you must have very low income — and almost no assets — to qualify. Your total household income cannot be more than $1,350/month. You must also own less than $2,000 in financial assets (or $3,000 for couples). There are some exceptions to the asset rule: The SSA won’t count your house, the land it sits on, one vehicle, wedding rings, and household goods like furniture and appliances.

Related: Your Complete New Jersey Disability Benefits Guide

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

Applying for New York disability benefits can feel like too much, particularly when you don’t feel well. If you need help, talk to an experienced Social Security attorney for free over the phone. 

Having a New York disability lawyer file your paperwork makes you almost three times more likely to secure benefits. All New York disability lawyers work on contingency, so you’ll pay $0 for claim help now.

Already denied benefits? A New York disability lawyer can review your claim and fix any mistakes.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Laura Schaefer

Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at and