Since its establishment over 80 years ago, Social Security is a program that has provided financial protections for millions of people. Americans spend their working years paying into the system with the expectation that they will benefit from those contributions in the future. But Social Security, like any government program, includes successfully navigating the bureaucracy before you can start receiving the funds vital to your retirement or to help pay your bills due to disability. Here is a brief guide to what Social Security Disability is and how it works, both on the federal level and the state level.
Who is Eligible for Social Security?
There are three basic groups of people that are eligible for social security disability. They are:
- Retired workers (and their dependents)
- Disabled workers (and their dependents)
- The surviving family of deceased workers.
These eligible persons receive their benefits from one of two programs, either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Related blog: What is SSDI?
What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?
SSDI is for workers suffering from a long-term disability. To receive SSDI, the worker must have a certain number of years contributing to the program through taxes, earning what are known as work credits. SSI is for those 65 and older, or any blind or disabled person who will not qualify for SSDI benefits. How much the person can receive per month depends on many variables including years of employment, the person’s total amount in assets, level of disability, and many other factors. New Jersey also allows an applicant to apply for state supplement payments if they do qualify for federal benefits.
Related blog: What is SSI?
What Disabilities Qualify for Social Security?
This is where applying for Social Security gets tricky. The federal definition of disability requires that the applicant prove:
- They are unable to carry out the required responsibilities of their previous job.
- Their medical condition deters them from being able to perform other work duties
- Their illness or disability is so debilitating that it is expected to persist for a minimum of 12 years
This requires evidence and corroboration from doctors and other specialists. The Social Security administration will also look at all sorts of factors to see if you qualify from age, education, type of disability, past work experience, and other things to determine if you are truly unable to work.
Do I Need an Attorney to Apply for Benefits?
While it might seem like filling out a form online or mailing in an application is enough to receive Social Security, the truth is that it is often much more complicated than that. Knowing how much to apply for, what evidence the government might need, and making sure all the right forms are filed can be confusing. Many people are denied benefits at first, and continuing the process without the proper legal help just makes a trying process that much harder, especially if you are suffering and unable to pay your bills. A lawyer well-versed in the application process will know where, how much, and what’s needed for you to get your claim approved, or help you appeal a denial.
Contact A New Jersey Attorney to Discuss Your Social Security Application Today
Social Security is the foundation of economic security for millions of Americans. If you are a retiree, disabled person, or the family of a retired, disabled, deceased worker, you have the right to apply for Social Security benefits. The skilled attorneys at Silverman and Roedel, LLC represent clients with Social Security Disability applications in Paterson, Wayne, Newark, East Orange, Hackensack, Garfield, and everywhere else in New Jersey. Call (973) 772-6411 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 1187 Main Avenue, Suite 2C, Clifton, NJ 07011.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.