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Hackensack Disability Law Blog

Why you need experienced legal help when seeking SSI benefits

New Jersey residents who are blind, disabled, 65 or older and meet the basic requirements to get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) do not always get approved for the benefits. Frequently, this is because they have made some type of mistake when applying, did not have legal help to deal with the process or hired the wrong attorney. Believing that one attorney and law firm is just as competent as another is a costly mistake that can deprive an otherwise deserving applicant of the SSI-related benefits they so badly need. Knowing why to get legal assistance with their SSI case is crucial to the entire process.

For many, applying for SSI benefits is confusing terrain. Attentive legal advice can make the difference not just with the application process, but also with an appeal, if one is necessary and the simple matter of giving the applicant peace of mind as the case moves forward. Some might get poor advice from those who present themselves as experts or claim to have experience in SSI cases. They might apply for the wrong benefits, not have the proper evidence or make other mistakes that are costly.

What if I get an overpayment of my SSI benefits?

Since Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a need-based program for people who are 65 or older, blind and/or disabled, New Jersey recipients should be keenly aware of the rules for the program. A violation of these rules could lead to the SSI-related benefits being stopped. One common problem that can negatively affect SSI benefits is if there is an overpayment. Understanding what constitutes an overpayment and how to address it is key.

If a person gets more money in a month than they should have, it is considered an overpayment. The amount of the overpayment is what the person received, minus what they were supposed to get.

Multiple jobs may affect SSD benefits

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Unemployment has many causes, many of which are described as a lacking of some necessary factor: A lacking job market, a person lacking initiative, a person lacking education. Social security disability insurance (SSDI) was carved into law in 1956 to recognize a very different category of unemployment, one where the individual has a disability severe enough to keep them from working, or stop their ability to work, if they had been employed.

Can receiving help after a disaster effect SSI benefits?

New Jersey residents who are disabled, blind, over the age of 65 and meet the other requirements to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will certainly understand that life presents its challenges on a regular basis. When the issues that resulted in the need for SSI-related benefits are compounded by a disaster -- be it natural or personal -- it is important to understand how receiving assistance from others might affect the SSI and how the person's income and resources are gauged. After a disaster, there are certain facts that the person should know so it will not hinder their SSI benefits.

For people who are getting SSI and receive help after a major disaster, there are exclusions. If the person gets support and maintenance within 30 days of the disaster and the disaster made it necessary for the person to leave the home and stay in a residential facility or another person's private household, any assistance is excluded. If assistance if given to the person based on the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act or other federal law due to the disaster, it is excluded. And, if there is interest paid on the federal assistance, it is excluded.

Based on COLA, SSI benefits will rise in 2019

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a useful and essential program for New Jersey residents and people across the nation who are 65 and older, are disabled or blind. There are certain other criteria that must be met for the person to be approved for SSI-related benefits. Once the application has been approved and SSI benefits are being provided, the economy and its current state should be watched to ensure that the benefits are sufficient for the recipient to make ends meet. As with any issue related to SSI, blind or disabled individuals should have assistance from a qualified Social Security Disability attorney.

With fluctuations, the Social Security Administration (SSA) addresses these financial issues by providing periodic increases in how much SSI provides. This is known as a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). For 2019, the SSA will raise the payments by 2.8 percent. There is an automatic mechanism that increases what recipients of benefits will get. It is the law. For the approximately 8 million people in the U.S. who are getting SSI, this will be a useful raise in their benefits amount.

When SSI resources are counted, will burial funds be considered?

When seeking Supplemental Security Income (SSI), New Jersey residents will undoubtedly be aware of the limitations on resources they can have if they are going to be approved. This, combined with the basic requirements of being blind, disabled and 65 or older is key to a case. However, there are some resources that might fall into a gray area as to whether the person can keep them. For many resources, they must be sold. With a burial fund, that is not the case if the circumstances warrant its retention.

An SSI applicant can put as much as $1,500 aside for him or herself and a spouse, and it will be excluded from resources in the following situations: it has been designated as a burial fund. And, the fund has not been combined with assets that are non-burial.

Key points about a Federal lawsuit when denied Social Security

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are understandably viewed as a lifeline for New Jersey residents suffering from a disability due to an illness, injury or condition. When applying for benefits, they will inevitably believe they will be approved. It is important to understand that many cases are initially denied, and it is necessary for the applicant to appeal. Denied Social Security does not mean that the benefits will never be approved.

There are four levels of appeal. When the case is repeatedly denied and the applicant still suffers from the issues that sparked the need to file, the last level of appeal is in Federal district court. Understanding how the process works in a civil filing of this kind is key to a case. A Federal lawsuit can be used after the Appeals Council has declined a request to review the case.

If one has excess resources, can they still get SSI benefits?

Not every case in which a person is seeking Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in New Jersey is easy to navigate. Everyone has a different situation and the circumstances can make it difficult and confusing as to whether they can get benefits under this program or not. The basic requirements are that SSI is for individuals over the age of 65, who are blind, disabled and meet the income and resource limits. For some, however, they might meet all the criteria except for having excess resources. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) understands this and can give a person conditional payments if they have excess resources.

When the SSA calculates the applicant's resources as part of the decision-making process for SSI-related benefits, they must be below a certain level. If they go beyond the limit, the person might have the chance to get conditional payments. These payments will be made when there are non-liquid resources. Since it can take time to turn non-liquid resources into cash, the SSA is flexible on this issue. When a person is getting conditional payments, they should remember that they are not eligible to get customary SSI. The payments must be refunded when the conditional payment period concludes.

Did your company deny your ERISA benefits? Your rights to a claim

You require ERISA benefits after you retire. Perhaps you face the need for a surgical operation or believe you should receive to a specific amount of biweekly payments, but your former company denies your request for compensation for your surgery or miscalculated your required payments.

According to ERISA laws, you have the authority to bring a claim forward against your employer titled the “Denial of Benefits” claim. When developing a claim against your employer, you may wish to seek the expertise of an attorney versed in ERISA benefits. He or she can help you ensure that your claim will prove valid in court, and that you do legally require your sought benefits.

Woman faces problems when her SSI benefits stop

When a person in New Jersey is suffering from a disability, blindness or is 65 or older and has limited income and limited resources, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is an option to help them. While the rules are clear as to how people can get SSI benefits, there are important requirements when applying for SSI benefits and when receiving SSI benefits so the person can retain them without interruption. For those whose application is denied or who were getting the benefits and find them stopped, it is important to know what steps to take to try and deal with the situation for a better outcome.

These problems can arise regardless of the state the person is living in and stories that have impacted people outside New Jersey can provide a guideline of what can happen with SSI and help the person prepare for every eventuality. A woman in East Tennessee who survived cancer and a kidney transplant and was receiving SSI benefits saw her benefits stopped. The woman had been waiting for a significant period to be approved and finally was. However, they were stopped one year ago.