NYLAG’s Disability Advocacy Project (DAP) continues its effort to secure disability benefits for low-income and disabled New Yorkers whose claims have been denied by the Social Security Administration. The DAP team works with clients throughout the appeal process, investigating disability claims, gathering crucial medical documentation, developing cases, and providing representation at administrative hearings. DAP provides invaluable advocacy to its mentally and/or physically disabled clients, helping them navigate the daunting appeals process which can take a year or more. “We are very fortunate to be a DAP grant recipient since January 2004,” DAP coordinator, Kevin Kenneally stated. “Over the past seven years, we have expanded our staff from one part-time attorney to include an additional two and a half full-time paralegals.”

In 2010, DAP assisted 139 clients, securing $851,560 in retroactive SSI and SSD benefits, as well as $305,997 in interim assistance reimbursement to New York State and New York City. While 60% of initial claims are denied at the application stage, NYLAG’s Disability Advocacy Project’s high success rate helps to ensure that low-income disabled New Yorkers have access to these crucial benefits. Kenneally commended the paralegals who have working on the DAP project since July 2010: “Jordan Dunn, Susan Ferrara, and Jennifer Vail have helped bring our success rate at SSA hearings to above 90%.”