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Hackensack Disability Law Blog

Understanding SSI benefits

When a person meets the requirements for Supplemental Security Income benefits in New Jersey, there are many different circumstances for each case. Some people are not capable of working, and their age, blindness or other disability combined with resource limitations were sufficient to be approved for SSI benefits. Others qualify because of their individual situation at the time, but their situation is not permanent. Knowing how SSI and Medicaid are intertwined is essential for all workers.

A major worry for many is what will happen to their Medicaid payments if they go back to work. Understanding Medicaid in the context of SSI is important before heading back to the workforce. For those who are receiving SSI for disability or blindness and receive Medicaid prior to going to work, the Medicaid benefits will continue during their time on the job, provided they are still disabled.

What everyone seeking long-term disability benefits needs to know

It is difficult to face the emotions involved when reaching this point in your life where the word “disability” now relates to your identity. Many families and loved ones feel the ripple effect of change that occurs when you are diagnosed with an irreversible condition or have survived a traumatizing injury with long-lasting effects.

When you are facing a life-changing medical situation, there are many things you need to understand. Going through the practical process of paperwork and lifestyle adjustments are just a few of the many types of changes you will be facing.

SSD benefits and extreme limitation for neurological issues

When people across New Jersey are suffering from a neurological issue, it can negatively impact their ability to do most jobs. These conditions include epilepsy, ALS (or Lou Gehrig's disease), and more. Since people suffering from these conditions will struggle to work and will also need medical care, it can be difficult if not impossible for them to hold a job. This is where Social Security disability benefits come in.

When seeking benefits, it is imperative to understand various factors in the approval process, including extreme limitation. By extreme limitation, the Social Security Administration means that the person cannot stand from a seated position, is unable to balance while standing or walking, and cannot use their upper extremities to do work-related functions. When this is assessed, the level of interference the person must deal with when performing any of these actions will be critical.

How does past work affect seeking Supplemental Security Income?

New Jersey residents who meet the requirements for resource limits, age and are blind or disabled can get Supplemental Security Income. These are the basic factors that must be in place for the case to move forward to the stage where the Social Security Administration will assess the case to determine if it should be approved or not. One factor that is essential is the applicant's vocational background. Knowing what is considered in this context is impactful for the claim.

For those 18 or older who are applying for SSI and a decision cannot be made as to whether the applicant meets the requirements after the initial three steps of sequential evaluation, the residual functional capacity and the person's work background will come to the forefront. The current RFC and the demands - mental and physical - of the past work will be compared. Past relevant work is defined as that which the person did within the previous 15 years. It must have been categorized as substantial gainful activity and been done for a duration where the person could perform the duties of the job.

How does divorce or separation effect my SSI benefits?

For New Jersey residents who are seeking or are already receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for being disabled, blind, 65 or older and with limited resources, getting and keeping their benefits goes beyond meeting the initial requirements. Since many people who are getting SSI benefits are married and a significant proportion of marriages end in divorce, it is important to know what information the Social Security Administration (SSA) must receive regarding separation or a divorce in the context of SSI.

When the SSI recipient and his or her spouse are no longer living together, the SSA must be informed immediately so it can be determined if there should be a change to the benefits. In addition, there are certain questions that must be answered. The SSA must know: when the couple ceased living in the same residence; if they are planning on living together once again; when that will be; where the other person is now living; and if either of the parties are living with someone else in a marital relationship.

When might representative payments be needed for SSD benefits?

Some New Jersey residents who are getting Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are suffering from issues that render them unable to handle their finances by themselves. They need others to assist them. This is when a representative payee can be of use. This has been discussed previously, but there are underlying aspects to the process of having a representative payee that should be understood by the applicant and his or her family members.

A basic concern is what information the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider when deciding if a disability recipient needs representative payments. The SSA will factor in court determinations, medical evidence and other evidence when it is relevant to the case. With court determinations, the SSA will use the revelation that a person getting SSD benefits is legally incompetent to make the decision to allow representative payments. For this to be done, there must be a certified copy of the decision from the court.

Can failure to apply for other benefits affect SSI benefits?

There are many areas of applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that might be confusing. New Jersey residents who are already blind, disabled, over 65 and meet the income and living requirements for SSI benefits could be denied SSI claims for reasons that they never considered. Often, this is a technical mistake that can be rectified and the SSI benefits will be approved on appeal. However, to fully grasp the nuance of applying for SSI benefits, it is wise to have legal assistance from the start.

One issue that frequently comes up is if a person failed to file for other benefits they might be eligible for when seeking SSI benefits. These other benefits will encompass payments the person can get continuously or one time. Included are retirement benefits, pensions, annuities and disability benefits. If, for example, the person could get workers' compensation, they must apply for it to be able to get SSI - even if they are rejected for the workers' compensation.

Cancers which qualify for compassionate allowance

A cancer diagnoses is a harrowing experience nobody can prepare for. In addition to a person’s future being called into question, it also creates many questions about the present. Will you still be able to work? How will you pay your bills? How severe will medical bills be? Will you be able to get around your own home? Fortunately, the Social Security Administration provides resources to help with these costs.

Social Security Disability provides money for individuals suffering a wide variety of conditions, including many forms of cancer. Applying for benefits can be a time consuming and complicated process. The aid of an experienced attorney can help expedite the process.

Comprehensive legal help is key with Social Security disability

People in New Jersey are constantly vulnerable to injuries, conditions and illnesses that can leave them disabled. These can come about in a variety of ways. Some are born with medical conditions that make it impossible for them to hold a steady job and make it necessary to get extensive medical care. Others are hurt when they are working or while they are simply going about their business. Still others become ill. Often, these individuals will be unaware that they can seek Social Security disability benefits and this can provide them with payments and medical coverage. Since the process of getting SSD can be confusing and complex, legal help is imperative.

Financially, people can be severely impacted by injuries, illnesses and conditions. Being unable to earn wages through working can affect the individual and his or her family in myriad ways. Paying bills, maintaining a home, purchasing food - all are concerns for people in this situation. Social Security disability benefits can help those who were confronted with these challenges whether it is for a short or a long period of time. There are many benefits that people can get. To maximize their SSD payments, it is wise to contact a law firm that helps people with their disability claims from the start.

What must I report to the SSA regarding my SSI benefits?

Being approved for Supplemental Security Income can be a relief to New Jersey residents who are blind, disabled, 65 or older and meet the income and resource requirements. However, simply being approved does not mean that the recipient need not keep the Social Security Administration informed about various aspects of their life. Certain events must be reported to the SSA if they might have an impact on the SSI benefits. This is known as recipient reporting requirements.

These must be reported and it should be done within 10 calendar days after the conclusion of the month when the change happened. If the recipient fails to report an event, there are penalties that will be assessed. The first time, it will be $25. The second time, it is $50. The third and each subsequent time, it will be $100. If the person was not to blame or had good cause not to report the event, there will be no penalty.

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  • Bergen County Bar Association
  • New Jersy State Bar Association
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  • NYSBA
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