Qualifying for Disability Benefits (SSDI) with Multiple Sclerosis in New Jersey
Multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause disabling symptoms which may be severe enough to prevent you from working. If you are a New Jersey resident who has been diagnosed with MS, you may be eligible for monthly disability benefits paid by the Social Security Administration (SSA). For example, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is available for certain individuals who were employed before becoming disabled. Unfortunately, the application process can be difficult, and many claims are initially denied.
At Young, Marr & Associates, we are New Jersey SSDI attorneys who possess more than 30 years of experience representing claimants in disability hearings before the SSA. Whether you need assistance understanding the eligibility requirements, obtaining medical documentation, or appealing a claim that has been denied by the SSA, our compassionate and dedicated Social Security lawyers are here to make the process easier while improving your odds of success. We are committed to making quality legal representation affordable, which means you’ll never pay us any fees unless we obtain benefits for you. For a free legal consultation about SSDI for MS in New Jersey, contact us online today, or call Young, Marr & Associates at (215) 515-2954.
Can You Qualify for SSDI with Multiple Sclerosis in New Jersey?
The SSA has strict eligibility criteria for SSDI benefits. Some of these criteria involve the duration and severity of your condition, while others relate to your employment history. For example, you must have earned a sufficient amount of “work credits” through your employment over the years. For most people, the number of credits needed is 40, with potential to earn up to four credits per year. Certain disability applicants may need fewer work credits, depending on the situation. Though ineligible for SSDI due to the work credits requirement, disabled individuals who have not previously worked, such as disabled children, may qualify for other types of benefits.
Other than having a sufficient number of work credits, you must also be able to show that your disability meets the following standards:
- First, you must be able to prove that your disability has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least 12 months.
- In addition, you must show that your disability is severe enough to significantly limit the amount of work you can perform. The SSA refers to this as “substantial gainful activity,” or SGA.
When is Multiple Sclerosis Considered a Disability?
Referring to medical standards that are compiled its Listing of Impairments, or “Blue Book,” the SSA evaluates SSDI applicants to determine how severely they are disabled. If your condition does not match or equal these standards, you will not qualify for SSDI, though you may contest the decision later by filing an appeal. Note that there are two versions of the Blue Book – one for adult applicants, and one for disabled children – and that the information below pertains to adult disability applicants.
Multiple sclerosis is listed under Section 11.00 of the Blue Book, which deals with neurological disorders. MS is located at Section 11.09, which establishes the following medical standards:
- You must show that the “[d]isorganization of motor function in two extremities” – for instance, difficulty manipulating your hands or feet – causes you to experience “an extreme limitation… in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use… [your] upper extremities.”
- Alternately, you must exhibit severe limitations in both (1) “physical functioning,” and (2) at least one of the following:
- “Adapting [to situations] or managing” yourself
- “Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining [your] pace”
- “Interacting with others”
- “Understanding, remembering, or applying information”
To reiterate, it is not necessary to match these standards exactly in order to qualify for SSDI. You are, however, required show that your disability is equivalent in its severity.
What is the Maximum SSDI Benefit in 2019?
The maximum SSDI amount is adjusted each year for inflation. The maximum monthly SSDI payment for 2019 is $2,861, up from $2,788 per month in 2018. The average SSDI payment in 2019 is $1,234, with most beneficiaries receiving a payment between $800 and $1,800.
The amount you can receive, if you are eligible, depends mainly on the amount of income you earned prior to becoming disabled. An experienced disability attorney can help you explore all potential sources for benefits in New Jersey.
New Jersey SSDI Benefits Lawyers Can File Your Disability Claim
At Young, Marr & Associates, we have a strong track record of obtaining benefits for disability applicants throughout the state of New Jersey. If you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and think you might be eligible for SSDI benefits, we encourage you to contact our law offices 24 hours, seven days a week, for a free consultation. We can also provide assistance if your claim has been denied, filing an appeal on your behalf. To set up a free consultation, call Young, Marr & Associates at (215) 515-2954 today, or contact us online to get started.