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Erie County Department of Social Services: Legal Advocacy for the Disabled (LAD):

Who We Are

The Legal Advocacy for the Disabled (LAD) Unit of the Erie County Department of Social Services is dedicated solely to assisting low-income persons with the Social Security Administration's Disability application process. Services include: Assessment of potential disability claim; Filing of applications; Development of supporting evidence; Representation at hearings, and: Filing of appeals. Our LAD attorneys and paralegals with clerical support staff provide these services free of charge.

Who We Serve

  • Erie County
Circumstances and languages in which interpreters are provided

We now provide on-site translation services thanks to the recent installation of "Language Line. This phone service permits us to call a central number and connect, in a conference call format, with an individual who is able to provide real time translation in most languages.

Is this organization accessible by wheelchair?
Does this organization provide access for the hearing impaired?

Type of Help

This group provides the following types of services based on your legal needs and its resources:
  • Full Legal Representation
Description of Services

Most referrals come from caseworkers within the Erie County Social Services Department. However, we also take referrals from treatment providers, the Erie County Bar Association, other attorneys, the Social Security Administration and from non-profits in the community when they have identified individuals who may have fallen through the cracks. So, there are very likely potential claimants who have not been identified. In this case, referrals are welcome.

Emergency Instructions

What is an Emergency? When an individual is denied benefits by SSA after having applied on his/her own or having had a former representative drop the case. The clock is running on filing the appeal.

We will advise the claimant to file the appeal on his/her own immediately and schedule an appointment as soon as possible to establish representation.

How to Get Help

You can contact this organization by:

Phone +

Phone Number
(716) 858-2270
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

After submitting the Request for Representative form, a paralegal will schedule a time for the client's intake interview and send out a letter advising what to bring to the appointment. These include: Birth Certificate, medications, list of doctors, counselors, hospitals, clinics, and proof of immigration status if not US-born.


Walk-ins or phone callers must complete a Request for a Representative Form, that we provide. It is processed as though it were a referral. Upon receipt of a referral, the Unit's Director will review it and check our internal database to see if the individual is a current/past client. He will then assign the case to one of the paralegals engaged in intake and case development.

General Contact Information

Erie County Department of Social Services: Legal Advocacy for the Disabled (LAD):
95 Franklin (map)
Rath Building, 11th floor
Buffalo, NY 14202
(716) 858-2270
Last Review and Update: Feb 24, 2018

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