Mt. Holly, NJ Disability (SSDI) Lawyer
In America today, nearly 60 million people — 18% of the United States population — are living with some form of physical or mental disability. According to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Disability Services, roughly 1.75 million people in New Jersey are disabled. That means approximately 1 in 5 New Jersey residents are living with a disability.
When a disability is severe, it can limit or even destroy a person’s ability to maintain steady employment. Without a regular income, living expenses like utility and grocery bills, medical expenses, and payments toward housing can rapidly accumulate beyond a manageable level. This can cause stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of personal and financial insecurity.
Fortunately, there is help in the form of social security disability benefits. These are monthly payments from the SSA (Social Security Administration) to help disabled Americans maintain an improved quality of life. However, being approved for benefits is a very challenging task with a statistically high rate of denial. Young, Marr & Associates can help. To set up a free and private legal consultation with our Mt. Holly, New Jersey social security disability attorneys, call (609) 796-4344 in New Jersey or (215) 607-2715 in Pennsylvania today.
New Jersey Disability Claim Statistics
Disability benefits are granted to qualified residents of New Jersey in the form of either SSDI or SSI. SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance and is only awarded when the applicant has acquired enough social security work credits over years of employment.
Work credits are accumulated when a person pays Social Security taxes from their earnings. If you were self-employed, you needed to pay quarterly taxes to the SSA to ensure that your disability and retirement benefits were secured.
The national average approval rate for social security disability benefits at the initial application stage is only 31.7%, meaning around 70% of applicants will be denied. In New Jersey, the approval rate is slightly better at around 43%, but that still means about 60% of New Jersey residents will be denied. While just over half of all disability claimants in New Jersey are denied after submitting their first application, approximately 86% are denied during the Reconsideration stage. But what is Reconsideration, and how does the application process for residents of Mt. Holly play out?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another disability program that awards cash payments based on financial need. When applying for SSDI, it may be worth it to check whether you are also able to receive SSI payments.
How to Apply for Benefits in New Jersey
For people who live in New Jersey, here is how the social security disability application process generally unfolds. First, you must submit a claim for disability benefits, also called the initial application. You may file a claim one of three ways: speaking with a representative from the SSA, making an electronic filing, or filing your claim in person at an SSA office.
Before you proceed to file your claim with the SSA, you should ensure that you have all the necessary information required to prove your disability claim. The most important evidence you need to prove your disability is information about the severity and treatment of your condition. The SSA suggests having the names and contact information for physicians, hospitals, and other medical professionals that were involved in treating your condition. Other vital information includes:
- Your Social Security number and a valid form of identification
- Dates of your hospital visits and appointments
- The types of medications you need to treat your condition and the required dosage
- Medical records and test results detailing your history of treatment
- Your most recent places of employment and the position you held in that company
- A recent copy of your W-2 form or a copy of your last federal tax return if you are self-employed
If you wish to apply for benefits for your family members, you will also need to provide information about them as well.
Your claim will be processed by SSA claims representatives, who will evaluate whether or not you qualify based on the information and evidence you supply. Review of your application can take anywhere from a month to several years for a claim to be processed, but most take about three to four months.
If your claim is approved, excellent: you can begin collecting benefits. However, if your claim is denied, the next step is requesting a Reconsideration Review from a DDS (Disability Determination Services) claims examiner. Do not panic if your disability claim is denied, many claims are initially denied for one reason or another, and you still have an opportunity to appeal this decision.
If you are denied again during Reconsideration — which is highly likely, considering approximately 14% of New Jersey residents are approved at this stage — the next step is to request a hearing. You must request this hearing within 60 days. The ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) who presides over the hearing will either deliver a decision upon the hearing’s conclusion or will send a written decision, usually several months later.
If the ALJ denies your claim, the next step is to request an Appeals Council Review. As with the Hearing, you have 60 days to make this request. As the name of this stage suggests, an Appeals Council will review your claim and will render a decision of approval or denial, considering information from the ALJ from your hearing.
If the Appeals Council Review denies your claim, the last stage of the disability approval process is to go to the Federal District Court. At Federal District Court, your application will be evaluated by a Federal District Judge, who can issue an approval, a denial, or grant you another hearing.
Applying for disability benefits and possibly having to file an appeal due to a denial is an intricate and time-consuming process. However, Young, Marr & Associates will work tirelessly to help you pursue the benefits you need to manage your disability. To learn more about qualifying for disability benefits, you should continue reading and speak with one of our experienced New Jersey disability lawyers.
What Does the SSA Consider a Disability?
Unfortunately, many applicants for social security disability benefits in New Jersey will find themselves in this situation: they feel they are disabled, and their doctor supplies a professional opinion supporting this classification, yet the SSA does not consider them to be disabled.
The SSA defines a disability as a diagnosable physical or mental condition that will cause an individual’s death, or that will last for at least 12 consecutive months.
There are several reasons that the SSA may deny an application for benefits despite a person meeting their initial requirements for having a disability. For example, the SSA may determine that your disability is not severe enough to prevent you from working steadily in some capacity, or that your disability is not among those included on the SSA’s acceptable conditions, otherwise known as the List of Impairments. Here are some common disabilities included in the SSA’s List of Impairments
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Down Syndrome
- Heart Failure
- Organ Transplants
- Severe Joint Problems
These are just a few of the many conditions and disorders on the SSA’s Adult List of Impairments. For children, growth impairments and ADHD are also considered. If you suffer from a condition that is not present on the list of impairments, you may still qualify for disability benefits if the condition is substantially similar to a listed condition. However, it may be more difficult to obtain benefits under these circumstances.
Once an applicant has satisfied the initial qualifications, the SSA will employ the use of a multi-step examination to determine whether the applicant should receive benefits. This examination largely looks at the severity of the applicant’s disability and the ability of the applicant to continue working a meaningful job.
Contact Our Experienced Mt. Holly Disability Attorneys to Work on Your Claim
To arrange a free and private case evaluation with one of the experienced Mt. Holly, New Jersey social security disability lawyers at Young, Marr & Associates, call our law offices at (609) 796-4344 in New Jersey or (215) 607-2715 in Pennsylvania, or contact us online.