You may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if you cannot work due to a disability. Below, we've outlined the steps you'll need to follow to file a claim for benefits, and we'll help you get there.
Deciding Between SSDI, SSI, Or Both
In addition to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the Social Security Administration also offers Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The federal government's disability definition is "the inability to work or perform any work."
SSDI does not require you to work for a certain period and pay Social Security taxes to qualify for SSDI. To qualify, you must have earned work credits. SSI does not require that you have any work credits to apply for it, but you will need to prove that your income and resources are limited to qualify. Depending on the circumstances, people may be eligible for both SSDI and SSI benefits, or just one type of benefit such as SSDI.
SSDI and SSI are only available to people who can prove a disability. In general, if a person is unable to work because they suffer from a long-term illness or disability, they may be considered disabled.
If a person is deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration, a five-step sequential process is followed:
- To qualify as substantially gainful employment, you must earn no more than $1,310 per month in average income (also known as substantially gainful employment if you work). A person whose condition cannot be determined by the SSA's Disability Determination Services (DDS) if they are not working;
- As a result of your impairment or combination of impairments, you must be significantly restricted in your ability to perform basic work. The impairment or combination of impairments is expected to last for a year, or longer or even be fatal.
- There must be a medical impairment on the SSA's Listing of Impairments that meets or exceeds all of the requirements for that impairment, or there must be other factors that lead to your impairment being considered a medical impairment;
- The impairment must be severe enough to prevent you from performing any of your past work due to it, if it is not severe enough, or if it does not meet these criteria.
- A person must not be able to do any other type of work because of their impairments, age, education, past work experience, and any transferrable skills they may possess.
Benefits may be available if the Social Security Administration determines a person is disabled.
Information Needed To Support An SSDI Claim In NJ
To apply for disability benefits, you must determine whether you fulfill the SSA's eligibility requirements. It will be necessary for you to provide supporting documentation to do so. Among the items that may be included in this list are the following:
- You need to submit copies of your birth certificate, Social Security Number, and proof of citizenship or legal status;
- History of work, including pay stubs and other documents
- If you have recently completed any work, please provide information about it
- Information regarding any doctors, therapists, hospitals, or other medical professionals who are treating the patient;
- The medications that you currently take as well as a list of their dosages;
- If you have any medical records in your possession, please provide them;
- An adult disability report.
Where Do I File My SSDI Claim?
Once you have gathered the required documentation, the next step is to complete the forms required for filing a disability claim. If you are interested in filing a claim with the Social Security Administration, you can complete the online form or call 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 toll-free for a TTY phone number or visit a local field office.
It is important to note that a local Social Security office will process your application in conjunction with a state of New Jersey agency (DDS), which will determine if you are disabled under the SSA's guidelines.
Getting A Response From The SSA On Your SSDI Application
The SSA will usually respond within three to five months after filing your application for disability benefits with them. The time it takes to receive a decision will depend on how quickly the SSA can obtain medical evidence for your application process and how complex your case is. After the Social Security Administration has approved your claim, you will begin receiving monthly payments from the agency.
Has a decision been made on your claim? Visit our article to learn more.
What do I do if my SSDI claim is denied?
The Social Security Administration denies most initial disability benefits applications. If the application you submitted were denied, you would have the option of appealing the decision. It is important to note that there are four levels of the appeals process:
- Request for Reconsideration;
- It is possible to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ);
- It is possible to request a review by the SSA Appeals Council; and
- File a lawsuit in federal court.
An appeal can usually be filed within 60 days of denials of disability applications and receiving notice of the SSA's decision.
What Conditions Are Considered for Disability?
The Social Security Administration evaluates SSDI and SSI applications based on your mental health conditions and medical conditions. The following fourteen categories of disabilities are listed on the Listing of Impairments:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Special senses and speech
- Respiratory disorders
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Digestive disorders
- Genitourinary disorders
- Hematological disorders
- Skin disorders
- Endocrine disorders
- Congenital disorders affecting multiple body systems
- Neurological disorders
- Mental disorders
- Cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases)
- Immune system disorders
Several impairments fall under each category. A Social Security disability lawyer can give you a free consultation if you have any questions regarding whether your condition qualifies for benefits under the Listing of Impairments or if it exceeds those conditions.
There is an estimated 3 - 5-month duration for the SSA to issue a decision regarding a disability application. There is a possibility that it could take a lot longer to receive a final decision if your initial application is denied and you appeal the denial. Considering that most denials of Social Security disability applications are due to technical reasons rather than medical issues, it might make sense to work with a New Jersey Social Security disability lawyer to assist you in gathering the information and filling out an online application to ensure that your claim is approved.
It is important to note that the amount of benefits you receive for SSDI is determined by your lifetime average earnings before you become disabled. There is a maximum monthly SSDI payment of $2,224 that you can receive for the year 2021. An individual is entitled to receive up to $794 per month from SSI in 2021, a couple will receive up to $1,191 per month from SSI, and an essential person is entitled to a maximum of $397 per month from SSI.
Reach Out to a New Jersey Disability Lawyer
Obtaining Social Security disability benefits can be challenging, especially if you have never applied before. Even though there are only six steps in this process, each of them takes considerable time and effort to understand complicated legal standards. Whether you are uncertain about whether you are eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits or are simply trying to put together a claim for disability benefits, a good Disability lawyer can be of assistance to you.
Firms specializing in this branch of the law represent people with disabilities throughout the state of New Jersey in the application and appeal process for disability benefits. With decades of combined experience, these teams are well positioned to assist you in getting approved for SSDI and SSI benefits as soon as possible.
Applying for social security disability benefits can be an overwhelming process. If you are interested in seeking SSDI benefits, check out our article about how to apply for disability benefits with scoliosis. To learn more, visit DisabilityHelp.org today!