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Hackensack Disability Law Blog

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.

Can SSI benefits be reinstated fast after failed work attempts?

Not all New Jersey residents who are getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are completely unable to work and perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). Simply being blind, disabled, 65 or older and having limited income does not imply that work is impossible. With these criteria for SSI benefits being met, the person can still try and get back into the workforce or even start their own business. However, a frequent sticking point is a lack of understanding as to how the Social Security Administration (SSA) handles circumstances where a person who was getting SSI, tried to work and failed.

Expedited reinstatement is critical to people who were getting SSI and had their benefits stop when they tried to work. Failing after trying to work and losing the benefits can put disabled individuals in a precarious position. Fortunately, expedited reinstatement is available. The claimant can request that the benefits restart without the need to go through the process of filing a new application.

Are you at risk for multiple sclerosis?

Facing a life-altering diagnosis is intimidating but important. Early detection of all ailments is crucial to the management and treatment of a disease. This is also true if you’re concerned that you’re experiencing symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). While MS has no cure, it is treatable and about one-million Americans live with MS every day.

What makes MS difficult is that there is no one cause of the disease. However, there are certain people who are more at risk for MS than others. You have a higher risk for developing MS if you:

ERISA claims, non-ERISA claims and what a person should know

For New Jersey residents who have privately bought disability insurance on their own or are taking part in a group plan offered by employers, it can be confusing and worrisome when they are injured, ill or disabled and they realize that they need to use the benefits. With these cases, it is imperative to understand the federal law when it comes to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, also referred to by the acronym ERISA.

When there are disputes about these cases, it is vital to have legal assistance from a law firm that understands all aspects of disability and ERISA. In general, there are notable similarities between ERISA and non-ERISA disability claims. The differences can be crucial to a case and it often requires legal help to understand them - especially when the person needs the benefits.

Can I file for SSI-related benefits if I am incarcerated?

Not every case in which a New Jersey resident is seeking Supplemental Security Income is simple. Everyone's situation is different and there are myriad factors that must be considered when filing an application for SSI-related benefits. One circumstance that presents challenges is if a person who believes he or she is eligible for SSI based on a disability, blindness, being 65 or older and meeting the income limits is if he or she is incarcerated. There are cases where people can file for SSI while they are incarcerated. Understanding how to deal with such a complex case requires legal assistance.

For a person who is incarcerated, the release date is critical to filing for SSI. Once that date is known, someone at the facility should be informed that the person wants to start SSI. It is possible that there will be an agreement between the facility and the local Social Security office. If so, the SSA will be informed that the applicant will likely meet the criteria to be approved for SSI. The application will be sent months before the person's expected release. With that, the application can be processed and the benefits will begin when the person is released.

What is the SSDI Trial Work Period?

Not every disability lasts for a lifetime. With proper medical treatment and a little luck, people can recover from some conditions covered by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and return to their normal lives.

But what if you’re uncertain if you’re well enough to return to full-time work? The Social Security Administration has a program that allows people on SSDI to test the waters to see if re-entering the workforce is a good fit.

When will I not be eligible for SSI benefits?

New Jersey residents who are considering applying for Supplemental Security Income and meet the basic requirements should be aware that there are certain factors that will automatically disqualify them from being approved. Simply because blind or disabled individuals are 65 or older and meet the income limitations to get SSI benefits does not mean they can get them in every circumstance. For people preparing an application, it is important to settle certain matters that render them ineligible, if possible. When preparing an application, it is important to have legal advice.

If a person has a felony charge that has not been satisfied or is under arrest warrant, it is a disqualifying factor for SSI benefits. This is true in the month where these issues are in place or if the arrest warrant is for the person escaping from custody, fleeing to avoid confinement or prosecution or committing flight-escape. A person who has these issues cannot get retroactive payments during that time. The payments will be held by the Social Security Administration until the case is settled.

How working and entering a medical facility impacts SSI benefits

New Jersey residents who are getting Supplemental Security Income and are working will often need to enter a medical facility due to their disabling issues. Many are concerned as to how this will impact their SSI benefits. Those who get SSI and work should be cognizant of how the process is handled, if they can receive benefits while they are in the facility, how much they can earn, and other factors. Understanding the rules for this situation is key.

A person who is working under Section 1619 can receive SSI cash payments if they are earning equal to or more than what would be considered substantial gainful activity (SGA). If that person needs to enter a Medicaid facility or a public psychiatric or medical facility, there are special benefits that person can receive. In general, when the person not eligible under 1619 enters a Medicaid facility and Medicaid is covering more than half of the costs, the SSI will be maximized at $30 each month. A state supplement will be added. Countable income will be subtracted.

Financial institutions can be contacted regarding SSI benefits

When applying for Supplemental Security Income, New Jersey residents might think that the basic requirements are the only important aspects of a case. However, there are other factors that can impact an application and these go beyond being blind, disabled and 65 or older. One issue is that the Social Security Administration must be granted permission to contact the applicant's financial institutions. If there is an issue with this or confusion over it, having legal assistance is imperative to avoid the claim being denied.

To get SSI benefits, the SSA must be given permission to get financial records from any financial institution that the applicant has used. The SSA might ask for this permission during the application process or at a subsequent time. If there are resources or income that are available to the applicant, that individual's information must also be given at the SSA's request. This can be a deemor or other individual. The following are some of the financial entities who can be contacted under this rule: a bank, a loan company, a credit card company, a consumer finance institution, and more.

Denied Social Security benefits? You have the right to a hearing

When seeking Social Security Disability benefits in New Jersey, it does not always yield an immediate approval. There are often issues that arise that result in being denied Social Security. People are sometimes under the impression that the case is over when it is denied. However, there are four levels of appeal. The second level is a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Many will wonder what happens at an ALJ hearing. There are certain facts that the claimant should know beforehand. It is always wise to have legal help from the beginning of the process, especially when there is an appeal of a denied claim.

Prior to the hearing, the applicant and a legal representative can look at the evidence that has already been presented in the case. It is also possible to submit new evidence. When submitting new evidence, it is important to make sure to submit it as soon as possible. If the applicant does not have the evidence at the time the request for an ALJ hearing is made, it should be sent as soon as it is available. With an electronic case, the information can be faxed.

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  • Bergen County Bar Association
  • New Jersy State Bar Association
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