How to File for Disability Benefits in New Jersey
If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents who have a disability, and your medical condition prevents you from working and earning income, you may be eligible to receive monthly disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Many applicants apply through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, but there are other programs you may also qualify for. However, being approved is often a challenge. In New Jersey, the average approval rate for initial Social Security benefits applications is only about 43%, which means that more than half of all disability claims are initially rejected. For claimants who go on to challenge their rejection, the approval rate drops even lower, down to about 14% during the second stage of appeals.
The New Jersey disability lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane work to help our clients file their disability applications properly the first time and avoid denials. To set up a totally free, confidential case evaluation, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (609) 557-3081.
Before You File: Eligibility Requirements for Disability Claims
In order to successfully apply for SSDI payments in New Jersey, you must meet the necessary criteria. That includes having a sufficient work history and a medical diagnosis that makes you incapable of earning an income. If you fail to meet the Social Security Administration’s eligibility guidelines, your disability claim may be denied.
Before you start the application process, it is important to understand the SSA’s basic eligibility criteria. To qualify for disability benefits, you must meet the following criteria for disabilities:
- You must have a disability, according to the SSA’s definition.
- Your condition must be severe enough that it prevents you from working at your present job or an alternate job.
- Your disability must be expected to last a year, or to end in death.
The SSA’s definition of “disability” has a few important considerations. First, the disability must be severe enough that you cannot work to earn a living wage. The condition must typically be on the SSA’s list of disabilities – but you can still get approval for unlisted conditions if they are as severe as a listed condition.
You can apply for disability with an injury or condition, no matter how you received it. This means disability benefits can be helpful after a work injury or to step in and cover diseases you developed outside of work, like cancer or heart failure. SSDI benefits are also available to New Jersey residents with certain mental illnesses. To learn whether or not your medical condition qualifies you for SSDI benefits, speak to a Mount Laurel, NJ disability lawyer.
In order to receive SSDI benefits, applicants must pay into the system, so to speak. As you work over the years, your employer must take taxes out of your paychecks for Social Security. Again, it is an employer’s responsibility to remove taxes for Social Security from paychecks, not an employee’s. If you do not have a sufficient work history to qualify for SSDI benefits, your parent might. If you sustain a disability before 22 and are deemed a disabled adult child (DAC), you can apply for SSDI benefits through a parent’s earning record.
The more years you work, the greater your monthly SSDI benefit may be. Monthly SSDI payments are determined by work history, not by the severity of an applicant’s condition. Because all qualifying conditions for SSDI are deemed severe, they are not used to determine how much New Jersey residents will receive each month. Again, work history is the only factor that decides your monthly benefit amount.
How to File a Disability Benefits Claim in New Jersey
Filing a disability benefits claim in New Jersey can be a long, complicated process. Applicants must provide detailed information regarding their personal lives and finances, which can be overwhelming. If you plan on filing for SSDI benefits yourself, hire a New Jersey disability lawyer to help you.
To begin the process of applying for disability in New Jersey, you have the following three options:
- Apply online by visiting the SSA’s secure website;
- Apply over the phone by dialing (215) 701-6519, Monday-Friday, 7 A.M.-7 P.M. (deaf or hard of hearing applicants may call (800) 325-0778); or
- Apply in person by making an appointment to visit your nearest Social Security office. You can find the office closest to you by using the locator service on the SSA’s website.
When you apply, you should be prepared with the following information:
- Your Social Security Number (SSN),
- Your birth certificate, and
- All relevant medical records.
The application consists primarily of biographical information and information about your condition, how you received it, and how it affects your life. You may be asked to have your doctor or caregiver complete paperwork to help the SSA evaluate your condition and its severity. Applicants must also sign a medical release in order to complete an application for SSDI benefits. You will receive confirmation once the SSA receives your application materials. This confirmation is not an approval.
Accurately completing an application for SSDI benefits is crucial. Any minor errors or issues with your application can delay the approval process and jeopardize your claim. To prevent any problems with your SSDI benefits application, enlist help from an experienced Marlton, NJ disability lawyer.
Can You File a Disability Claim for Family Benefits in New Jersey?
If you receive SSDI benefits yourself, your family members may also be eligible for payments. Learning how they can apply for benefits is crucial so that your family members receive the financial support they need and deserve.
In some cases, close relations of SSDI benefit recipients can receive family benefits through their loved one. That means, if you receive monthly payments, your spouse and children may also be eligible for benefits. While payment amounts can vary, each of your eligible family members may be able to receive a monthly benefit equal to 50% of your monthly benefit. There are additional criteria family members must meet to become and remain eligible for family benefits, so speak to your New Jersey disability lawyer for clarification.
The application process for family benefits is somewhat similar to the application process for SSDI benefits. Family members must demonstrate their relationship with the primary benefit recipient. It’s important to note that there is a difference between receiving payments through family benefits and receiving payments through a parent’s earning record as a disabled adult child. DACs can use a parent’s earning record to recover their own disability benefits if they qualify. This can be a complicated topic, so it’s important to consult with an attorney if you plan on applying for family benefits or disability benefits as a DAC.
How Long Does it Take to Get Approval for Disability Benefits in NJ?
Because the SSA must evaluate millions of applications pouring in from around the country, it leans on smaller organizations at the state level to help speed up claims processing. In New Jersey, the SSA collaborates with the Division of Disability Determination Services (DDS). However, even with assistance from the DDS, there are still hundreds of thousands of claims which must be processed. This means evaluations can take some time.
The typical turnaround is approximately 3-5 months. Processing may be slower if you need to submit to a medical exam or if your application is randomly chosen for quality assurance.
Processing may be expedited for Compassionate Allowance (CAL) applicants, as this program is intended for very advanced and terminal illnesses. If you have questions about your claim, you can call the DDS at (866) 920-6997, or at (973) 648-2983 if you are hearing impaired.
Once your application has been evaluated, the SSA will send your notification of approval or rejection. A notice of award letter will detail when and how much you can expect to be paid, while a denial letter will explain why you were turned down. Most rejections are due to medical issues, such as a determination that your disability is not severe enough to prevent you from working, though some denials are due to technical issues, such as earning too much income.
When applying, it is important to consider consulting with an attorney. Applying for disability benefits with the help of an experienced attorney statistically increases your chance of approval. The process can be long, confusing, and difficult. Especially if you are too disabled to work, the difficulty of filling out and filing the applications may be too much to handle. Call our Mercer County, NJ disability lawyers today for a free consultation on your case.
What Should I Do if the SSA Denies My Disability Application?
Learning that your SSDI benefits application has been denied can be frustrating and confusing. After a rejection, New Jersey applicants may be highly concerned about how they will support themselves and their families. While those fears are understandable, filing an appeal after your SSDI application is denied is possible.
If the SSA denies your claim, you may appeal by requesting “reconsideration.” You can either use the SSA’s website to file the appeal or you can download, complete, and mail paper copies of the following forms:
- Form SSA-561 – Request for Reconsideration
- Form SSA-827 – Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration
- Form SSA-3441 – Disability Report – Appeal
In New Jersey, reconsideration has a success rate of approximately 14%. However, the following stage, known as an Administrative Law Judge Hearing (ALJ Hearing), has a far greater average approval rate of about 60%. To request an ALJ Hearing, you should complete and submit Forms SSA-827 and SSA-3441 noted above, as well as Form HA-501 (Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge).
If your case goes before an administrative law judge, it is important to have an attorney represent you. This process if a full-fledged court process where you have the right to present evidence of your disability and qualifications. An attorney can help build the case for your hearing and ensure that you put forth the strongest case to fight for your disability benefits.
If your SSDI application is denied, it is important to act fast. Applicants only have a short period of time to file an appeal. An experienced Trenton disability lawyer can quickly assess your initial application and the SSA’s reason for denial and begin the appeals process within 60 days of rejection.
How to Successfully File Disability Benefits in New Jersey
Filing for disability benefits can be stressful for New Jersey residents. If an initial claim is denied, it may be months or even years before an appeal is settled. Many New Jersey residents cannot wait that long to receive their monthly payments. That is why it is important to hire a skilled lawyer if you plan on filing for disability benefits in New Jersey.
In order to file a successful disability benefits claim, you should enlist help from an experienced New Jersey disability lawyer. Your attorney can help you properly document your disability and gather the necessary medical, financial, and personal records the Social Security Administration requires for SSDI applications. A skilled lawyer can help New Jersey applicants navigate interviews with SSA representatives and provide any supplemental materials and information the SSA may need.
Filing a successful disability claim is crucial. The reviewing process alone can take several months, leaving New Jersey families without a reliable income. To prevent this from happening and to ensure you don’t lose your access to SSDI benefits in the future, you should consult with an experienced New Jersey disability lawyer. Your attorney can help you properly file for SSDI benefits so that you can begin receiving the payments you deserve as soon as possible.
Our New Jersey Disability Application Lawyers Offer Free Consultations
If you are applying for federal disability benefits in New Jersey, or if you want to appeal an SSA denial, call the East Brunswick, NJ disability lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping disabled applicants get the benefits they need to continue to support themselves and their families through trying times. If you have a disability that makes it impossible to work to support yourself, call our law offices today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your disability application at (609) 557-3081.