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Hackensack Disability Law Blog

SSI benefits, how much it pays and other possible services

Getting approved for Supplemental Security Income in New Jersey can be a relief to people who are blind, disabled, 65 or older and have limited income and resources. That relief can result in people failing to understand the full scope of the services they can receive. It is important to know what is available. Also, people should be cognizant that the amount the Social Security Administration pays in SSI benefits changes based on cost of living considerations. Therefore, it is wise to understand what the payment amount is currently and know how it might rise in the future.

For 2019, the amounts that people get in SSI depends on their living situation. For a person who lives alone or is in his or her own household with others, it will be $802.25 per month. If it is a person who lives with a spouse who does not get SSI, it is $924 per month. For a person who lives in someone else's household and gets support and maintenance, it is $558.31 per month. If the person resides in a residential health facility, it is $981.05 per month.

Can I object to the source for my SSD benefits consultative exam?

A New Jersey claim for Social Security disability benefits might not be approved immediately with the information the claimant provides. This is not uncommon. For those who are unaware of how the SSD benefits application process works, many people are denied in their initial application or there are sticking points that must be addressed before the Social Security Administration can make an informed and what it deems a fair determination. One concern for many applicants is if they are asked to have a consultative examination.

In general, this is not something to overtly worry about. It simply means that the SSA cannot make its decision based on the information it currently has and needs a consultative physician to assess the claimant and provide more. In some cases, however, the applicant could have an objection to the medical source that is asked to perform the consultative examination. Understanding the rules for this circumstance is important.

Increase income even when getting SSD benefits

Getting approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits will be a relief for New Jersey residents who are disabled and unable to work. Frequently, they will be grateful what they receive in disability payments and will not think about other strategies to increase their income. This is a mistake that can limit their ability to accrue savings. Understanding common misconceptions about SSD benefits and potential financial assistance is a key to maximizing the benefits and other sources of income while remaining eligible.

An estimated 25 percent of adults in the United States claim to have a disability. For those who are confronted with an inability to work because of that disability, SSD benefits are available. This is for those who have paid Social Security taxes. The amount the person can get is formula-based. If there are changes to the person's circumstances, it can affect their eligibility. Importantly, there are other avenues to get assistance.

Denied SSI claims have different aspects for reconsideration

When applying for Social Security disability benefits of any kind in New Jersey, there is a chance that the claim will be denied. There are levels of appeal for all claims including Supplemental Security Income. Since SSI benefits are for those who are blind, disabled, 65 and older and have financial limitations, there are many reasons why a claim might be denied. If the applicant believes the denial was a mistake, then he or she has the right to appeal. The first level of appeal is reconsideration. Understanding all the parts of reconsideration is a foundational aspect to having the decision changed to an approval. A law firm that understands how to appeal denied SSI claims can help.

At reconsideration, the entire case will be reviewed. This is done by someone who had no role in the initial claim. The evidence will be reviewed and new evidence can be provided. There are different areas of review depending on why the case was denied. If it was denied because of a medical condition, there will be a case review. With a case review, the SSA will examine the case and it does not need to meet the claimant. The claimant will be allowed to examine his or her file prior to the SSA examining it. More information can be given to add to the evidence.

What exactly is ERISA?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is complicated law passed in 1974. It’s essential function, as outlined by, is to protect those participating in retirement and health insurance plans offered by their employer.

If you work at a private company that offers heath or retirement plans, ERISA protects you by setting minimum standards for their voluntary pension and health plans. It protects private workers from mismanagement or abuse of their accounts.

Why is it hard to get Social Security Disability benefits?

If you have suffered from a disability, you may be interested in filing for Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits help people like yourself who may struggle to work as a result of a disability.

In the majority of cases, those seeking SSD will have a history of working, which helps them qualify for benefits. If you have not worked or do not have a history of working, then it's a good idea to speak with your attorney about the potential for receiving Social Security Disability benefits. If you cannot qualify, then you may have other benefits that you can seek such as Supplemental Security Income, state or local-level benefits.

What if I believe the judge was unfair in my disability case?

When a New Jersey resident is suffering from an injury, illness or condition that renders them unable to work, they have the right to seek Social Security disability benefits. While the Social Security Administration strives to treat every applicant fairly, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise when a case is denied. The Administrative Law Judge conducting the hearing is expected to make the determination based on the case evidence. While it is unusual, it is possible that the ALJ might have done something inappropriate or outright wrong to warrant a complaint. When this happens, it is critical to have legal representation.

A person applying for Social Security disability can file a complaint stating that the ALJ was unfair. An applicant who believes they were subjected to unfair treatment by the ALJ must inform the SSA what happened. The SSA will assess the case regardless of whether the applicant intends to appeal the case or not. An applicant has 180 days from the date of the action the ALJ allegedly took or the date the applicant became aware that the conduct took place to file a complaint.

Can you work without losing disability benefits?

There is a misplaced belief that people in New Jersey who are getting Social Security Disability benefits cannot work at all. The idea that a person who needs disability benefits to make ends meet and get the treatment required for their issue is unable to work is flat out wrong. People who get SSD benefits can try to work. However, it is important to understand the rules when doing so.

There are work incentives that the Social Security Administration makes available to disability recipients. Understanding how these function, what impact it has on the benefits and whether benefits will continue is a vital part of a case. A fundamental factor with working while getting disability is the trial work period. With the trial work period, the person will get a certain amount of time to see if he or she is capable of working. This will last for a minimum of nine months.

Understanding how income is subtracted from SSI benefits

Since New Jersey residents must meet certain requirements to be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, it is obviously imperative to know what those requirements are. The requirements include being blind or disabled, being 65 or older and being limited in income and resources. If the person's income or resources go beyond a certain level, then they cannot get SSI benefits. As people prepare to file their application, income is frequently forgotten even though it is one of the most important factors.

Income is defined as items that a person receives either as cash or in-kind and it can be used for food or shelter. If an item can be used or converted into something to get food or shelter, the Social Security Administration will consider it as income in the SSI application process. When the SSA assesses a person's income, the following will be considered: earned income, unearned income, in-kind income and deemed income. These have been discussed in previous posts here. What should be of concern is the income and its impact on the SSI benefits when the income is subtracted.

What should you know about the duration requirement?

When seeking Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income in New Jersey, it is important to understand the basic requirements. One critical factor is how long the applicant's impairment has lasted and is expected to last. This is a fundamental part of the decision-making process and those who are considering applying for SSD benefits should know what the rules are for the impairment and if it meets the 12-month requirement.

The applicant's impairment - physical or mental - must either last for a minimum of 12 months or be expected to result in the person's death. When the person applies for disability benefits, it is not necessary to wait until 12 months have passed. The critical issue is whether it will last for a minimum of 12 months. Provided the impairment is not expected to improve until at least 12 months have passed, the application can be approved. The impairment must also stop the person from taking part in substantial gainful activity for 12 consecutive months.

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