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Hackensack Disability Law Blog

Individuals with frozen shoulders may be entitled to benefits

A frozen shoulder, which involves joint stiffness and pain, can make it difficult or impossible to work. Those in New Jersey who have this condition may be entitled to disability benefits if it will keep them from working for at least 12 months. The same may be true for those who have already been out of work for 12 months or longer. There are many factors that an examiner will consider when evaluating a request for benefits.

For instance, an examiner will look to see if an individual could return to a job that he or she held in the past. Depending on a person's age or level of education, it may be possible for an individual with a frozen shoulder to find other types of employment. As a general rule, an examiner wants to see how an ailment limits a person's ability to function.

Applying for Social Security benefits with medical records

People in New Jersey may apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits because they have a disabling condition that restricts them from returning to their old job or starting a new one. Whether they suffered a severe accident or developed a disabling illness or condition, they are unable to bring in an income, and SSDI benefits may be a lifeline. Still, applicants often face a very difficult time obtaining approval for disability benefits, even if they suffer from severe medical conditions. Many people face an initial denial of their application only to be approved later on at a disability hearing.

Part of the problem that applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits face may be the nature of the application process. Applicants provide their physicians' information in order for the Social Security disability examiner to review their medical records. Medical records are an important part of the process for people seeking disability benefits, but they often do not match precisely what examiners want to see. They contain detailed information about symptoms, diagnoses and treatments. They can confirm that an applicant has a disabling diagnosis. However, they may not provide information about how that diagnosis affects an applicant's ability to work.

Understanding how ERISA and HIPAA protect employees

The federal statutes are laced with many acronyms, including IRS, SSA, HIPAA, ERISA, SSDI, and many others. Each acronym refers to a federal statute or portions of a single statute. Two of the most important acronyms for employees are HIPAA and ERISA. Both statutes are very long and enormously complex and cannot be properly summarized in a single blog post. Nevertheless, an understanding of the general purposes of each can aid employees in protecting important rights relating to their rights under employee pension plans and obtaining medical care under employer sponsored health insurance plans.

ERISA is probably familiar to most employees. The acronym refers to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. It was passed in 1986 to ensure that employees would be treated fairly under retirement plans sponsored by their employers. The Act also covers employer-sponsored health care plans. The act's basic provisions require employers to treat all employees fairly in providing coverage and benefits.

Obtaining SSDI benefits for a spouse or family members

Most people in New Jersey who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits consider their struggle ended when they receive a favorable decision from the Social Security Administration approving their application. However, the awarding of SSD benefits means that a spouse or child of the recipient may be eligible for benefits based upon the original recipient's work and medical record. Obtaining SSD benefits for family members can significantly increase the total amount of monthly payments received by the disabled person and his or her family.

A spouse may receive SSDI benefits if he or she is over 62 years of age or if the spouse is caring for a child who is younger than 16. A spouse may also be eligible for SSDI benefits if he or she is caring for a child with disabilities, regardless of the child's age. Children of an SSDI benefits recipient, including children adopted by the recipient, are eligible for benefits until they reach age 18 and are not married.

Understanding the differences between SSDI and SSI benefits

Many people in New Jersey and elsewhere receive financial assistance under either the Social Security Disability Insurance ("SSDI") program or the Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") program. The differences between the two plans are fairly obvious to beneficiaries, but persons who are not receiving benefits often misunderstand the purpose and eligibility requirements of the two plans.

SSI benefits are provided for persons who are elderly, blind or disabled and who have difficulty in paying for food and shelter. SSI is often referred to as a "means tested" program because persons who earn more than the limits prescribed by federal regulations are not eligible for benefits. SSI beneficiaries can receive healthcare through Medicaid

Disability appeals take more than a year in New Jersey

Filing an application for Social Security Disability Insurance is a process that requires you to hurry up and wait. Once you send in the application, you have to wait on a decision. In order to make your case, you have to fill out the paperwork and present supporting evidence that shows you have a disability.

Social Security will review the information that you present to determine whether you have a disability. If your condition qualifies, you will receive an approval. If your condition doesn't qualify or if it isn't preventing you from being able to earn a living, you will be denied. Anyone who is denied has the right to file an appeal of the denial.

Supreme Court hears case regarding ERISA claims deadline

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) affects employees in New Jersey and all across the country by setting regulations on the management of employer-sponsored retirement plans. If a member of a retirement plan subject to ERISA believes that the plan's sponsors have violated their fiduciary duties to members of the plan, the member can bring a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the actions. Like most federal statutes, ERISA provides a deadline within which such lawsuits must be filed. For violations of the fiduciary provisions of the law, such claims must be filed within three years after the employee acquires "actual knowledge" of the violation. The meaning of this phrase was argued before the Supreme Court in a case heard last week.

The plaintiff was an engineer employed by Intel Corp. He sued the company in 2015, alleging that the company's executives violated ERISA by investing large portions of the company's 401(k) plan assets in highly speculative and risky investments that ultimately resulted in significant losses for plan participants. The case was filed in 2015, and Intel argued that the employee had actual knowledge of the crucial electronic documents regarding the alleged violations no later than 2012. It therefore argued that the case should be dismissed.

Lawsuit alleges fiduciary breaches under ERISA

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act may be one of the most complex federal statutes that affects the rights of everyday workers. The Act was passed in 1985 to protect the contributions and benefits that workers make to retirement plans offered by employers and to ensure that the workers' benefits are not wasted by improper management.

A lawsuit recently filed in the Western District of New York demonstrates the complexities of the statute and the duties imposed upon managers of employee retirement plans.

How work credits affect Social Security Disability eligibility

The United States Social Security Administration administers a number of programs that are intended to provide financial assistance to persons who are at least 65, who are disabled or who require additional financial assistance. Eligibility for these programs depends upon different criteria, but one criteria that applies to each program is having earned a sufficient number of work credits before applying for the benefit.

Work credits are awarded based upon the applicant's work history and earnings prior to the year in which the application is made. The number of work credits shows how long a person has been paying into the Social Security System. The amount of a credit is set by the SSA every year, and the amount of a single credit usually increases on a year-by-year basis. In 2019, the value of a single work credit is $1,360. A person can earn a maximum of four work credits in a single year.

Obtaining SSDI benefits for peripheral neuropathy

Many people suffer from diseases of the nervous system, and many of these conditions are painful and difficult to treat. One of the most bothersome of these diseases is peripheral neuropathy, a condition that involves elements of the neurological system outside of the brain, People who are afflicted by this condition often wonder if they are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The answer depends upon the extent of the disease and its impact on the patient's ability to work.

SSDI benefits are only available for any disease if two conditions are met: the disease must be deemed to last for at least 12 months or to result in death and the disability must be total. The question is under what circumstances is peripheral neuropathy deemed to meet these requirements.

  • New York City Bar
  • Bergen County Bar Association
  • New Jersy State Bar Association
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