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Hackensack Disability Law Blog

How does getting a loan affect SSI benefits?

Getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in New Jersey can be a relief to those who are disabled, blind and 65 and older with resource and income limitations. Still, getting the benefits will not automatically clear a person's financial worries so they no longer need to think about making ends meet. Part of life is unexpected expenses. If there are costs that must be paid and SSI-related benefits do not provide enough to cover them, it might be necessary to secure a loan. However, people are frequently frightened by how a loan will affect their SSI benefits. Understanding the law for this issue is imperative.

When receiving something from another person and agreeing to repay them at another time, it is considered a loan. This can be done with a financial institution, of course. But, it can also be done with a friend, relative or someone who the person does not know more than as an acquaintance. The agreement can be written or oral. To be considered a loan though, it must be enforceable based on state law.

Can SSI benefits be suspended?

Being approved for Supplemental Security Income can be the equivalent of a sigh of relief for New Jersey residents. If they meet the income and resource limitation requirements, are blind, disabled and 65 or older, they are likely eligible for SSI. Even with that, there are often factors that prevent them from getting benefits. Being approved can take all the worries and fears out of the equation. That, however, does not mean the SSI benefits will continue indefinitely.

There are reasons for the benefits to be stopped. For some, the discontinuation of benefits is problematic, but it is only a suspension. Understanding the general rules for a suspension and how it differs from a termination is important if there is a mistake or other issue. A person can have benefits suspended when the requirements to be eligible are no longer in place.

Can you get SSD benefits for an eating disorder?

There are many debilitating illnesses for which a New Jersey resident can qualify to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Some are diseases like cancer or liver disease. Others are physical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis. Still others are mental disorders. For those who have an eating disorder, it is categorized as a mental disorder and, if the issues are of sufficient severity to warrant benefits, can result in an approved claim for disability. Understanding how the Social Security Administration categorizes eating disorders and what the criteria is for disability is key.

With eating disorders, a person might be preoccupied with such factors as their shape and how much they weigh, and evaluate it excessively. When a person is suffering from an eating disorder, there are certain telltale symptoms. They include: limiting the number of calories they ingest when it is compared with the basic requirements; having episodes in which they binge eat or take other steps to stop themselves from gaining weight like forcing themselves to throw up, exercising beyond what is safe and acceptable or taking medications like laxatives; they could have disturbances in their mood, socially withdraw or be irritable; they might have dental issues; females will not menstruate as normal; lab findings could be abnormal; or they could have cardiac concerns.

What to do if my Social Security Disability application is denied

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a difficult process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) rejects the vast majority of SSDI applications the first time they are submitted.

It can be frustrating to not get your initial application approved. However, a rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for SSDI.

Can you still get SSI benefits if you work at an "SGA" level?

Not all New Jersey residents who are getting Supplemental Security Income are completely unable to work. Many will either work or want to work despite being blind, disabled, over 65 and meeting the other requirements to get SSI. There are, however, concerns as to how the Social Security Administration will view people who are earning income when the amount is at the substantial gainful activity, or "SGA," level. Under Section 1619(a) of the SSA's "Red Book," people who work can still get SSI benefits.

With this rule, they do not need to take part in the trial work period or seek extended eligibility. For a person to meet the requirements, the person must: have been eligible to get SSI for a minimum of one month prior to having worked and earned at an SGA level; remain disabled; and meet all rules of eligibility.

How does property I need to self-support impact SSI benefits?

Supplemental Security Income is for those who are limited in their income and resources and have a disability. While this might seem simple, there is also nuance and various rules that allow New Jersey applicants and recipients of SSI benefits to have resources they would otherwise not be able to have if it falls into a certain category. Being disabled, 65 or older or blind and having limited income and resources are the basic requirements for SSI. If, however, the counting of the resources is problematic, the person can have some of the resources excluded if they are needed for self-support.

Just because a person is receiving SSI does not mean they cannot earn income and have resources. The resources must be within a certain limit to get the benefits. The value allowable for the resources if it is for self-support is different from regular resources. This is true whether it is for business or not. The following can be excluded: liquid property or non-liquid property that a person can use as part of a business or trade, and any non-liquid property that a person can use as an employee. These can be excluded and there is no limit.

SSI benefits and how limitations are classified

When seeking any kind of Social Security disability benefits, New Jersey residents will undoubtedly be aware that their functional limitations are key to getting an approval. For those who meet the requirements to get Supplemental Security Income of being 65 or older, having limited income or resources, being blind or disabled, it is also important to know how exertional and non-exertional limitations will impact their claim. For assistance with these complex matters, it is always a good idea to have legal assistance.

The applicant's impairment and symptoms can result in their having limited functioning and restrictions on what they can do. This will hinder them as they try to meet the requirements to do certain jobs. When assessing the limitations, they can be exertional, non-exertional, or both. With exertional limitations, the impairment can keep them from performing the basics of work. If, for example, the person is suffering from pain, he or she might not be able to stand, sit, walk, lift, carry, push or pull. If these are the only limitations the person has, the Social Security Administration will consider them exertional limitations. This can be applied to the determination of whether the person is disabled or not and can warrant SSI benefits.

Will I be informed if the SSA says I no longer have a disability?

When a person is receiving Social Security disability benefits in New Jersey, it does not necessarily mean the SSD benefits will continue indefinitely. The Social Security Administration regularly assesses claims and might decide that a person is no longer eligible. Often, this is linked to a disability review, but there are other situations where the SSA will determine that the person is no longer disabled. If that determination is made, it is important to know about the notification process and how to go about trying to get the benefits restarted if the person is still disabled.

The SSA will inform the person that he or she is no longer disabled because the agency has gotten information that conflicts with what the applicant has said about the disability. The advance notice will have a summary of the SSA's information. The claimant will be told why the determination that the person is no longer disabled was made. The person can reply.

What should I know about valuing for SSI benefits?

For New Jersey residents who are applying for or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they must know that the resources they own are critical in the determination as to whether they are eligible for these benefits or not. Just because a person has been approved for SSI benefits or they are already getting them does not mean the benefits are indefinite. On the contrary, the Social Security Administration will check the person's resources each month to ensure that they have not gone beyond what they can have and still receive benefits. If there is a disagreement regarding valuing resources or some other concern, it is wise to have legal assistance.

With the determination of resources, it is done the first minute of each month. It is based on the person's assets, the value of those assets and if they are excluded. If the resources a person has increased in value or there are additional resources that the person acquired or replaced with a resource that was not subject to exclusion, the increase will be counted. This could affect SSI benefits, how much is received and if the benefits can continue. If there is a decrease in the value of the resources or the person spent a resource or replaced a resource with a non-excluded one, this too will be calculated on the first of the month.

Does age affect determination of disability?

For those in New Jersey who are injured or ill and are seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, understanding the five-step sequential evaluation process is critical. The individual aspects of this process will be used when Disability Determination Services and the Social Security Administration (SSA) decides whether the person should be approved for SSD benefits or not. A key aspect of the decision-making process is the vocational factor. While other areas of the case will often come to the forefront, the applicant's age is imperative too. Knowing how this will factor into the decision and what can be done if there is a denial requires legal help.

The applicant's chronological age will be considered when his or her ability to work is assessed. This, along with the residual functional capacity, work history and education will be important. The age will not be the sole determinative factor when it is decided if the person can adjust to other kinds of work. If, however, the person is advancing in years and it limits their ability to adjust to other kinds of work, it will be a crucial part of the process. With those who are not working but can do other kinds of work, the SSA will not give a finding of disabled.

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