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Hackensack Disability Law Blog

Vital points about disability, its definition and what it pays

When a New Jersey resident seeks Social Security disability benefits because of an injury, illness or condition, there might be certain misconceptions about several issues. Basic factors are eligibility and how much disability pays a person who is found to be disabled. While these might see as if they are secondary concerns when the person has reached the point where their issues are preventing them from working and they need the help that disability provides, it remains imperative to think about these issues as the process moves forward.

When seeking disability benefits, it is important to remember that the Social Security Administration requires that an applicant meets the definition of disability. This means that the person cannot work because of a severe medical issue that has lasted for a minimum of 12 months or is expected to end in the person's death. It must also be of sufficient severity that the person is unable to do work he or she could do previously.

A lawyer can help with ERISA

When a New Jersey resident is disabled and is seeking to exercise their right to ERISA or when trying to get long-term disability benefits from a private insurer, one of the key factors is to show the necessary medical evidence and documentation to prove that the benefits are warranted. Many people are denied benefits simply because they did not have the medical evidence and documentation required or they did not present it in a way that the company deems satisfactory. This is where the importance of having strong legal assistance becomes more pronounced.

When seeking any level of disability benefits, the medical records are needed to prove that the medical issue, illness or condition is of sufficient severity to warrant approval. For many, however, they find that the evidence is not sufficient. There can be confusion with how the evidence is presented or with documentation of the person's medical issues and how it negatively impacts their ability to work.

What to tell the SSA when working and getting SSD benefits

When a New Jersey resident is receiving Social Security disability benefits and tries to get back into the workforce, there are certain incentives they will receive, including a trial work period, an extended period of eligibility, expedited reinstatement if they are not able to continue working, a continuation of Medicare, and work expenses related to the disability. However, there are also important pieces of information that the person must give the Social Security Administration.

When getting Social Security disability while still working, circumstances might arise that the SSA must know about immediately. They include the person starting or stopping work; reporting for work and having the duties, hours or compensation change; and paying for certain expenses for work due to the disability. These changes can be reported in several ways - in person, via the mail or over the phone. Once it is reported, the SSA will give the person a receipt that they should retain.

What back problems make you eligible for SSD benefits?

While back problems are the most common types of injuries that are applied towards Social Security Disability, they can also be the most difficult to win. Back pains are natural to the aging process, so the Social Security Administration needs proof that your condition is in a harsh state and not just the typical discomfort.

Having any of these disorders or diseases can make it impossible for you to work full time and requires the financial aid that SSD benefits can offer. Here are some spinal disabilities that could make you eligible for SSD benefits:

Can my Supplemental Security Income be expedited?

Certain New Jersey residents who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income and meet all the necessary requirements may need to receive their benefits in an expedited manner. Many are unaware of how to go about getting expedited payments. There are four circumstances in which this can happen: if there is presumptive disability or presumptive blindness; for emergency advance payment; for immediate payment; and in expedited reinstatement.

With PD or PB, the presumptive payments can be made for six months while awaiting the decision from the Disability Determination Services. The condition, its severity, the evidence available, and the likelihood of an approval will all be factored in. It has nothing to do with financial need. Some conditions can lead to the SSI being paid immediately. Examples include: being totally deaf; totally blind; having a leg amputated at the hip; having had a stroke more than three months before and still having issues walking or using extremities; cerebral palsy; muscular dystrophy; Down syndrome; and many more.

How is motor function assessed for disability?

Neurological disorders can cause immense problems for New Jersey residents as they try to function each day. If the issues reach a certain level and they are unable to work because of them, they can apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Certain factors must be in place to meet the requirements to receive SSD benefits. One issue that is of paramount importance is the disorganization of motor function. Understanding what this means and when it will be considered "extreme" is imperative to a case.

When there is a disorganization of motor function, the person will suffer from interference in the movement of two of their extremities. This can be limbs on the upper or lower part of the body and it can include wrists, fingers and hands. When the Social Security Administration states "two extremities," it can be a combination of both upper, both lower, or one of each. Except for certain conditions in which the ability to do certain things is impossible, such as a coma or ALS, the inability to do the following will be considered: standing from a seated position; balancing when walking or standing; or using the upper extremities.

Supplemental Security Income reviews

Getting Supplemental Security Income can be a moment of relief for New Jersey residents who are blind, disabled and 65 or older. These benefits serve an essential purpose for those who meet the criteria and need them to make ends meet, get the necessary treatment and more. It is critical to remember, however, that the Social Security Administration must ensure that everyone who is getting SSI benefits should be getting them and there are not new circumstances that would change their eligibility. With that will come periodic reviews. Understanding the review process, how often they take place, and what happens when they are done is key.

There is no avoiding a periodic review to determine if the claimant should continue getting SSI benefits. The benefits will continue unless the SSA sees strong evidence that there has been a medical improvement sufficient so the person can get back to work. When the person gets the SSI award, it will say when they should expect the first review. This hinges on the medical condition and its severity. If there is expected improvement and it will occur in a certain amount of time, the first review will be between six and 18 months of getting benefits. If improvement is possible, the review will take place approximately every three years. If there is no expected improvement, then the case will be subject to review every five to seven years.

What is the link between Medicaid and SSI benefits?

When it comes to Supplemental Security Income, New Jersey residents who meet the basic requirements of being approved will often still have questions about what benefits are available in addition to SSI. Medicaid is one such benefit. Understanding how a person qualifies to get Medicaid along with SSI is important if the person needs both.

Medicaid is health insurance program from the federal and state governments that serves people who are low-income. New Jersey is one state that allows those who are eligible for SSI-related benefits to also receive Medicaid. When seeking SSI, the eligibility for it and Medicaid will begin in the same month. In some instances, people who are getting SSI will also hold a job. In New Jersey, a person who is getting SSI will also be eligible for Medicaid. The person can keep getting Medicaid even in situations where the earnings are too high to get the SSI payments.

Can you get Social Security disability benefits for depression?

For many Americans, being depressed is much more than just feeling sad. It can make you feel worthless, unloved, and unable to perform daily functions. If you suffer from severe depression, know that you are not alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 16.1 million adults suffer from Major Depressive Disorder each year in the U.S.

If your depression is interfering with your ability to work, do not blame yourself. There are other options. You may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

What are the SSI requirements for addicts?

For people in New Jersey who are addicted to drugs or alcohol and have medical issues that render them unable to work because of them, it is possible to get Supplemental Security Income provided they meet the basic requirements of being disabled, blind or 65 or older. However, with these addictions, there are other rules for SSI that the person must follow when it comes to treatment. Failure to do so can lead to losing SSI eligibility. It is important to understand and adhere to these requirements to continue getting SSI-related benefits.

When the addiction is a contributing factor to the person being deemed disabled, it is required that the treatment for the addiction be taken and it be done at an approved facility with progress in that treatment. Those who have been found to have failed in complying with the requirements will be informed of this and the SSI benefits will stop the next month. Those who have had their benefits stopped due to a lack of compliance can get the benefits again after they have complied for a certain amount of time.